Now that 8-year-old Adhara Pérez Sánchez of Mexico City has graduated from secondary school she has been invited to study astrophysics at the University of Arizona.
Boasting an IQ of 162 — two points higher than Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking — Adhara is now studying mathematics and systems engineering at online universities.
But in order to accomplish her dream of being an astronaut, she hopes to study in the astronomy department at the University of Arizona (UA), which has received recognition from NASA for its space exploration program.
The letter of invitation from UA president Robert C. Robbins gets her one step closer to that goal.
“I was thrilled to read about your incredible story online and to find out that your dream school is the University of Arizona,” said Robbins in his letter to Adhara.
“We have many outstanding space sciences programs, you would have many opportunities to work side by side with the world’s leading experts. If you would like, I am happy to connect you with our faculty in astronomy or the lunar and planetary sciences laboratory . . .”
Adhara’s mother said she hopes her daughter will be able to attend this year.
“They sent us the letter because they want her to attend (UA), but first she has to take an intensive English course,” said Nayeli Sánchez. “We still haven’t decided when . . . I hope by the summer . . .”
She and her husband have contacted the university and are looking for ways to fund her tuition.
“They’re just now giving me information, they have to tell me the costs and everything . . . We can’t say much about it because we are looking for the support of a foundation,” she said.
Adhara was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the age of 3, before her parents and teachers became aware of her talent. She was the victim of bullying in school where her teachers said she didn’t have much of a future.
“At a parent-teacher conference I saw that Adhara was playing in a little house and the others trapped her in there. They began calling her ‘Weirdo!’ and were hitting the house . . . she told me she didn’t want to go to school and went into a deep depression,” said Sánchez.
Adhara’s teachers said the girl fell asleep in class and didn’t work hard, but her mother observed that she was studying algebra and the periodic table. She took her daughter to therapy and a psychiatrist recommended she go to the Talent Assistance Center (CEDAT), a school for gifted children.
Despite difficulties paying the CEDAT tuition, Adhara finished her basic schooling and became interested in UA after a teacher took her to an event in which the university had participated.
Adhara was listed among the 100 Powerful Women in Mexico by Forbes magazine in 2019. She has also written a book, No te rindas (Don’t Give Up), in which she hopes her experiences will help other children with autism and encourage the sciences to include more girls.
Sources: Milenio (sp)