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June 8, 2020

One of the youngest graduates from Shawnee State University received her degree during the Spring 2020 Commencement May 16.

Abby Keith, 17, finished the academic year earning both her high school diploma and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

Abby Keith

“I am fortunate to have a family who have been nothing but supportive of my academic endeavors,” Keith said. “My mother drove me to class every day for four years until I was old enough to get my license.”

Beginning in Shawnee State’s College Credit Plus program just after finishing seventh grade, the 12-year-old embraced the opportunity for students to begin college studies early. At SSU, last year more than 650 students were enrolled in classes through the program while still taking their middle school or high school courses.

The tuition is paid through the student’s school district and state reimbursement in the program. Students are able to get a head start on required courses and, with certain qualifications, even continue to more specialized courses as they work with a College Credit Plus advisor toward their academic goals.

"Abby's achievement is amazing," said Amanda Means, SSU Assistant Director of Recruitment and Transfer. 

"The four-year degree she has earned early, the head start on joining the workforce, and the cost savings are what makes the CCP program an amazing opportunity for Ohio students who qualify and work hard.”

Keith continued to take classes at Shawnee State University while earning her degree from Western Brown High School in Mt. Orab.

“Abby was a very good student,” Dr. Kyle Vick, SSU psychology professor, said. “She would ask good questions in and after class, and always turned in excellent work. I wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

With a focus on science and a keen interest in neurology, Keith was able to pursue all the courses to build a foundation toward a career in neuroscience. She has been accepted into the neuroscience graduate program at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she plans to work on helping others facing daunting challenges.

“Currently, research is focused on neurological issues, such as addiction and traumatic brain injury,” Keith said. “Neuroscience combines my shared love of biology and psychology, and my hope is to do something great in the world.”

Keith is grateful for the support she received both at home and school during her academic journey so far.

“Being able to achieve this accomplishment at my age means so much to me,” she said.