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Dr. Jalaal Hayes (center) made DSU history by becoming the youngest-ever doctoral graduate at age 22. Dr. Hayes of Philadelphia was conferred a Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry during the Dec. 20 Commencement. Standing with Dr. Hayes are his advisor Dr. Andrew Goudy, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Cherese Winstead, chair of the DSU Department of Chemistry.

  DSU Youngest-ever Doctoral Candidate Receives Ph.D.

Delaware State University made history during its Dec. 20 Commencement Ceremony when it conferred a Ph.D. degree to its youngest-ever doctoral candidate.

Jalaal A. Hayes, a 22-year-old resident of Philadelphia, Pa., proudly received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Chemistry. In June 2015 he successfully defended his dissertation, entitled "Thermodynami and Kinetic Studies of Alkali Metal Doped-Lithium Amide-Magnesium Hydride Hydrogen Storage System.”

Dr. Hayes graduated from high school seven years ago in 2008 at the age of 15. He then earned bachelor’s degrees in History and General Science, graduating cum laude at age 18 in 2011 (within three years) at his parents’ undergraduate alma mater, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

While completing his doctorate at DSU, he lectured in Tuscany, Italy and Easton, Massachusetts as a Carl Storm Fellow while authoring several peer-reviewed journal articles and served on a team that obtained a United States patent for hydrogen research.

He completed a 2008 summer research internship at Howard University/NASA undergraduate Research Center before being enrolled in DSU’s graduate program in Applied Chemistry, where he worked with his advisor Dr. Andrew Goudy, professor of chemistry, in the Center for Hydrogen Storage Research.

While at DSU, he tutored students and was a member of the National Chemistry Honor Society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon, and served as the chapters’ parliamentarian.

His parents are librarians who model academic achievement; his mother is the recent School Librarian of the Year in Philadelphia and serves as a high school librarian, and his father serves as the Interim Dean of Library Services at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland.

Dr. Hayes recently reflected on his unique educational accomplishments when he met the Rev. Bernice King (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King's youngest daughter) at Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia. She asked him about his achievement and opportunities to which he shared with her, “my family and community set high expectations for me and I simply strived to meet those expectations; for I strive to model “to whom much is given, much is expected.”