What did you do when you were 13 years old?
If you’re like me, you raced bikes with the neighborhood kids, tore your way through the entire Baby-Sitters Club canon (even the Super Specials) and choreographed elaborate dance routines with your BFFs to the pulsing, booty-wiggling beats of C+ C Music Factory.
“It’s not actually that hard, to be honest,” said Almazán, who last week returned from a trip to Denmark where she presented a project about simulated satellites. “It’s not like getting up really early every day and staying up really late. I just try to organize my time as best I can so I can do all the things I like.”
Almazán was only 3 years old when she taught herself to read and write. By 7, she had finished primary school and at just 10 years old, Almazán enrolled as a psychology major at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), a renowned institution of higher learning in Mexico. In addition to her studies, Almazán counts among her many interests playing piano, tutoring her peers in Mandarin, watching documentaries and just being a kid.
“The real Dafne would be here with ripped socks,” her mother, Dunia Anaya, told a Mexican newspaper. “She’s a playful kid who’s always getting into trouble because she’s moving and running all over the place and breaking stuff.”
For Dafne’s parents, raising child prodigies is old hat. At 14, Almazán’s older sister, Delanie, who served as Almazán’s academic inspiration when she was learning to read and write, studied side-by-side with her younger sibling at ITESM. Andrew, Almazán’s older brother, had been the reigning youngest college graduate record holder, finishing his degree at 16. Until his baby sister unseated him, that is.
So what’s next for the 13-year-old college graduate recently named one of Forbes Mexico‘s 50 most powerful women? Today, Alamazán is mulling the pursuit of a law degree, a master’s in education and later, a Ph.D.—all in the service of helping exceptional children like herself navigate the isolating and misunderstood world of child geniuses, beginning in her native country.
“I know it’s hard to reach and guide all gifted children in Mexico, but I’m optimistic,” said Almazán. “I always wanted to go to college, and I managed to achieve it, too.”
Dafne, will you be my friend?