8-year-old Adhara Pérez is currently studying two simultaneous degrees, soaring despite steep financial difficulties.
Geniuses and child prodigies are rare, and often they require others to recognize their talents in order to develop and flourish. Many prodigies, or people with extraordinary cognitive and intellectual capabilities, can go unnoticed and never reach their true potential because of lack of opportunities and support.
Adhara Pérez is one of those cases where lack of understanding from others and tough financial difficulties could have hindered her altogether. But she's one of the lucky ones.
From tough beginnings
Born in the slums of Tlahuac, Mexico City, Adhara didn't have it easy at first. She had considerable trouble at school: her teachers reported she constantly fell asleep during class and her classmates called her "weird." Everyone thought she'd have no future in school, as her supervisors considered her lazy and constantly complained she was putting no effort into her studies. Adhara's mother, Nallely Sanchez, was worried.
“I saw that Adhara was playing in a little house and they locked her up," Nallely recalled. "And they started to chant: ‘oddball, weirdo!’ And then they started hitting the little house. So I said, 'I don’t want her to suffer.' And she told me that she didn’t want to go to school anymore, and fell into a very deep depression.”
But Nallely soon realized her daughter was no ordinary outcast. She was gifted, having mastered the periodic table and showing advanced understanding of algebra as her classmates were still learning the alphabet. She took her to a psychiatrist, who recommended that they take her to the Talent Care Center. There, experts confirmed Adhara had an exceptionally high IQ, and was offered special classes better suited for her extraordinary skills. They also diagnosed her with Asperger's Syndrome.
A rising star
Despite her family's difficult financial situation, this opportunity allowed Adhara to progress quickly up the academic ladder. She finished elementary school when she was five years old, middle school when she was six, and high school when she was eight. After graduating high school, she jumped directly into college, studying two online degrees simultaneously: Industrial Engineering in Mathematics at UNITEC, and Systems Engineering by CNCI.
But that's not all. Adhara also found the time between studies to write a book titled Don't Give Up, where she relates her experiences as a prodigy and a victim of bullying. The book, as well as her accomplishments and sheer potential, led Forbes magazine to select her as one of the 100 most powerful women in Mexico.
At this point, Adhara dreams of studying a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Arizona—a goal which her mom fully supports. They both plan to visit the United States soon to take the admission exam, hoping she will be granted a scholarship.
Adhara's story is far from finished, but it's safe to say she's on the right track. Hopefully, she'll be able to fulfill her dream, for her own sake as well as for the benefit of science itself. After all, she stands to make considerable contributions to her field if allowed to do so.
(Cover photo: @sicnoticias)
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