Cortlan James Wickliff, at nineteen (19) years old, was the youngest African-American male to attain a bioengineering degree from Rice University in Houston, Texas. Cortlan is now attending Harvard Law School to complete a JD in Intellectual Property and Patent Law. He also plans to complete a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.
From an early age he has displayed a profound and unusual sense of the world in which he lives and the role that he has been called to play as a student, leader and community activist, regularly seeking to give back and encourage his peers to likewise pursue stretch goals. A few weeks after his 15th birthday, Cortlan left home to began his college experience at the University of North Texas.
His early departure from high school was featured on Fox news and captured in print media in the Austin, Texas area. Two years after entering the University of North Texas, Cortlan completed the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science and transferred to Rice University in Houston, Texas to complete a bachelor’s degree in Bio (medical) Engineering.
Often recognized during his collegiate career as a President’s List and Dean’s List student, he received his bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering on May 15, 2010. While attending Rice, Cortlan gained significant research experience in the biomedical and bio-fuels areas. His research exploration efforts have included an Apparatus for Testing Hearing in Severely Premature Infants, Bio-fuel Catalysts and Enhanced Electronics for Cardiology Prototype Devices for which his presentation won his team a Commercialization Award.
His goal is to make significant contributions to enhancing medical equipment, medical treatments and the FDA processes for approving medicines and their delivery methodologies. Cortlan also has a passion for serving others especially within his peer group. He often reflects on the benefits gained from early exposure to professionals, their careers, and his travels.
Cortlan is convinced that if his peers are likewise exposed to more, they will elect to achieve more and perform at a higher level. Recognized nationally as an outstanding young leader, Cortlan appeared on the Tavis Smiley television show in December 2009 which was recorded in Los Angeles, California. He was also featured on the Houston based show Cross Roads hosted by Melanie Lawson and on NBC News interviewed by lead reporter Courtney Zavala.
Additionally, he has started his foundation, hosted several educational outreach forums, and served as a mentor and tutor for many middle schools through college aged students. He stands firm in his belief that he can make a positive impact on our global community and encourages others to do the same. Cortlan was born in Austin, Texas though his family is from a small town east of Houston – Liberty, Texas.
His mother, Tanya Dugat-Wickliff, a young teen mother who worked hard to defy the odds and achieve a PhD in engineering, served as a great inspiration for his career choices. His entrepreneurial spirit was birth while growing up shadowing his father in his automotive business, Anthony “Tony” Wickliff (deceased). Cortlan enjoys his side passion as a movie critic and spending quality time with his family and friends, especially his two brothers, Jamar and Raymond.