After passing middle school and high school exams earlier this year, a nine-year-old child genius from Chiapas is planning to commence university studies in medicine next month.
Michelle Arellano Guillén of Tuxtla Gutiérrez also aspires to become a marine biologist and actor, but will first focus on graduating as a doctor so she can follow in the footsteps of her mother. According to the Milenio newspaper, Michelle is currently awaiting acceptance into a university program, but other reports said she was starting a degree online on August 29.
“I’d like to be like my mom,” she said, referring to her dream of becoming a cardiovascular surgeon. “… I like medicine, … I know that because I’ve been to surgery with my mom to see what the organisms inside the body are like,” she said in an interview with Uno TV.
Michelle, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, stood out from a very young age, learning to speak English at the age of one and a half and to read and write at four, according to her mother.
“She speaks four languages [in addition to Spanish]; she speaks English, German, French and Italian. She speaks English at an advanced level and German, French and Italian at a basic level,” Karina Guillén said. “She’s been a state swimming champion [and] she’s a black belt in taekwondo. She has eight trophies and 890 medals in total because she’s a great athlete as well.”
Karina initially believed that her daughter’s intellectual gifts were simply the result of the way she and her husband interacted with her when she was very young. “As I’m a doctor we gave her a lot of early stimulation,” she said.
However, medical and psychological testing later determined that Michelle was a gifted child. Michelle’s time in primary school — from which she graduated last year — was abbreviated because she skipped grades due to her impressive intellect.
Her parents subsequently found out that she could demonstrate that her skills and knowledge were up to middle school and high school standard by preparing for and sitting single exams offered by Ceneval, a national education assessment center. Michelle, who will turn 10 at the end of August, passed the middle school exam in March and the high school one earlier this month, paving the way for her entry to university.
Testing has also deemed she has an IQ of 158, just two points below Albert Einstein’s estimated intelligence quotient. Although her educational achievements are well beyond her years, Michelle retains some hobbies common among girls of her age, such as playing with dolls, music and sports.
“I really like doing sports, like swimming, basketball and taekwondo. I also know how to play the piano. When I grow up I want to be a doctor and a marine biologist because I really like animals,” she said.