The fast track to success: How a young drag racer is accelerating her way to medical school

Student Summer Gibson, drag racer in her free time, is on track to graduate from Jackson College at 17.Summer Gibson has a need for speed. Inspired by her father, who was also a racer, she found her passion in drag racing at a young age.

“There’s seven seconds to think about 100 million different things and try to kind of figure out if your car was going fast or slow and making sure your car is going straight,” she said.

Summer’s motivation to become a doctor

She’s not your average teenager. At the age of 15, she graduated from high school. Now at 17, already two years ahead of her peers, she is set to graduate from Jackson College.

Her goal? To become a doctor and an orthopedic spine and trauma surgeon.

“That’s like 15 years of schooling and I figured if I can do it, my next box to check off is to be in med school by the age of 19. It’s going to be hard and will require a lot of effort, but I think I’m ready.”

Summer’s journey to graduating early began when she switched from private school to homeschooling. Her mom provided her with the necessary materials to succeed. Before long, she was determined to graduate early and pursue her dreams.

At a young age, her sister was diagnosed with cancer.

“That was like a big push of, you know, I knew I wanted to be a doctor and the doctors at University of Michigan showing me all these things really set in stone that this is what is, and God has helped me the rest of the way,” she said.

Challenges and opportunities of being a young college graduate

Despite her young age, Summer has already faced and overcome challenges on her path to success. She acknowledges being so young in college can be hard.

“It’s hard because this would be my senior year in high school and I would be going to prom and my would-be classmates, they’re doing those normal things and playing sports I used to play,” she said. “It’s not for everybody but it’s also fun because you get to meet all these people and move through life a little bit quicker.”

She credits her parents for helping her along the journey. Her father’s encouragement to pursue her dreams while she is young has been a driving force.

“They have always taken my dreams and pushed them even more,” she said. “My dad has worked two jobs my entire life so kind of seeing that and him saying, ‘do this, this is a good idea of pushing out when you’re young like that so when you’re old like me you don’t have to work as much,’” she said.

The role of Jackson College in Summer’s success

 Jackson College made her experience as a young graduate as smooth as possible.

“The classes transferred very easily and once I got here the people are amazing including all the staff at the Center for Student Success, TRIO, the professors, I’ve not had a bad one. There are a lot of things Jackson College has done helping me and caring about me. I’ve not met a single person here that has judged me for being too young. Especially with racing a lot of professors have really conformed their stuff to my racing and have been like, ‘can we push this, or can we take this earlier?’ and I feel like that has definitely contributed to my success. I’m very thankful for my decision.”

As for her racing career, she doesn’t know when she will pick it back up but knows it’s not over.