Meet Delaware State’s Youngest Ever Ph.D Holder, 22 Year Old Jalaal Hayes


By Victor Ochieng

Jalaal A. Hayes made history after becoming the youngest ever to earn a Ph.D degree at Delaware State University. The university conferred him with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Chemistry during the university’s Commencement Ceremony held on December 20, 2015.

In June last year, Hayes received a nod from a panel of examiners after he defended his dissertation with great success in a paper entitled “Thermodynami and Kinetic Studies of Alkali Metal Doped-Lithium Amide-Magnesium Hydride Hydrogen Storage System.”

Dr. Hayes graduated from high school in 2008 when he was only 15 years old. Three years later, he graduated with bachelor’s degrees in General Science and History from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania campus, his parents’ former school, where they earned their undergraduate degrees.


Dr. Hayes was very busy when completing his doctorate. He served as a lecturer in different institutions in Easton, Massachusetts, and Tuscany, Italy; doing so as a Carl Storm Fellow. Besides offering lectures, he was also writing journal articles and was part of a hydrogen research team that secured a patent from the United States government.

He knew exactly what he wanted and luckily got to work with brains that helped him climb the academic ladder. While pursuing his graduate program, he worked closely with Dr. Andrew Goudy, his adviser, who is a professor of chemistry in the school’s Center for Hydrogen Storage Research. Hayes offered tutelage to students and served as a member of Gamma Sigma Epsilon, where he was the chapter’s parliamentarian. Besides that, he was also a member of National Chemistry Honor Society.

Dr. Hayes’ excellence is as a result of hard work, a virtue seen in his parents, who are both Librarians. His parents are true representation of academic achievement, with his mother having earned the most recent Philadelphia’s School Librarian of the Year award for her role as a high school librarian. On the other hand, Hayes’ father is the Interim Dean of Library Services at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore located at Princess Anne, Maryland.

Dr. Hayes revealed that he couldn’t let down his family and his community. During a chat with Rev. Bernice King, Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter, he said: “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.’”

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