Danya Hamad has enrolled at Capital University with an academic standing of a junior at only 16 years old.
For most of us, being 16 meant our minds were fixated on high school academics, worrying about prom dates, or spending all of our time at athletic practices or events. But for Danya Hamad, that fixation is allocated to something different all together: becoming the youngest lawyer in America.
Hamad is on an incredibly rapid-moving track to reaching this goal. At the age of 15, Hamad not only graduated from Reynoldsburg High School early, but she also graduated from Columbus State with an Associates of Arts degree. In fact, she was awarded her Associates degree a week before she was awarded her high school diploma.
“My Columbus State graduation was so surreal,” Hamad said while reflecting on the road that’s led her to Capital. “[Columbus State] President Dr. Harrison, he actually mentioned me during his speech for the commencement ceremony. And then I was also given a special cord, which was blue and silver, showing that I had graduated from both high school and Columbus State at the same time. I was the first person to ever get this.”
The blue and silver graduation cord isn’t the only award Hamad has received on her journey, and it doesn’t seem like it will be the last one either. While the list is long, a few awards that stick out above the others are: Cum Laude honors cord and Phi Theta Kappa members stole from Columbus State, certificate of recognition from the State of Ohio signed by Governor Kasich, a certificate of recognition from the Reynoldsburg school board of education, and a valedictorian medal and cord at her Reynoldsburg graduation.
Hamad’s path to success started back when she was in the eighth grade.
“When I was 13, [Ohio] introduced the college credit plus program, and my mom said she thought it would be something I would excel in, so I signed up,” Hamad said.
Before even beginning classes as a freshman, Hamad took her first college class: a summer semester class of government and law.
“I really, really enjoyed that class,” Hamad said, “so I was like okay, I’m gonna keep going.”
And that she did, to the point where she began to max out the number of credits the college credit plus program would allow her to take.
Now that Hamad is at Capital, she is one step closer to reaching her dreams of becoming an international human rights attorney by the age of 19. And while Capital wasn’t necessarily her dream school, it does offer a perfect situation with the 3 + 3 program for Hamad to dive into for a law degree.
With her associates degree already completed, all that’s left for Hamad is two semesters here at the main campus before she will be admitted into Capital’s law school downtown.
“I ventured into law when I was younger,” Hamad said. “Out of all my siblings, I was always the one causing trouble but never in trouble because I could talk my way out of it.”
Now all of this may seem like a burden too heavy for any college student to carry, let alone one so young, but her transition has been seamless, and she enjoys the atmosphere that the #CapFam creates.
“I like how [Capital’s] a smaller campus,” Hamad said. “It’s a lot like how my high school was; I’m used to, and I enjoy it.”
Hamad isn’t simply just a child prodigy, as neither her grades nor her accomplishments define her.
“I’m just a normal college student to everyone who doesn’t know my story,” Hamad said. “It’s my first year here too, so I just say hello and ask how their day is going. Everything has been pretty normal”.
Part of being that normal college student for her involves her passion for singing, whether she’s alone or not; her attempts to play soccer with her siblings, though she admits that it doesn’t always end too well for her; her daily performances as the Hamad household comedian; and being a professional procrastinator.
“Everyone asks how I can be a procrastinator and being taken on all this work and honestly, I don’t know how,” Hamad said. “I’m lucky enough that God has blessed me to just be able to remember things and not study as hard for some subjects.”
The Capital University community is excited to have Hamad aboard, and looks forward to the continued successes she will have throughout not only her time here, but in her future as well.