What would Albert Einstein look like in the year 2016? A first-generation Cuban-American millennial from Chicago, at least that’s what Harvard University indicated when they called Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski the next Einstein.
The 22-year-old graduated from MIT with a perfect score of 5.0 and is now a Harvard Ph.D candidate, where she studies space-time and black holes. The young Latina is exploring some of the most complex questions in physics, like explaining gravity through the context of quantum mechanics.
Gonzalez Pasterski’s interest in science started early. At 12, the cubana built a plane, which she later taught herself how to pilot and flew over Lake Michigan. At 14, she found herself at MIT, where she was initially rejected and later put on a wait list, seeking approval for her single-engine plane.
The Chicago native credits MIT’s hesitation to accept her as the reason she worked so hard to earn her degree while there. She felt that she had something to prove.
Gonzalez Pasterski has successfully demonstrated her abilities. In 2015, Forbes named her one of the “30 under 30 in Science,” and she has received thousands of dollars in grants from Hertz Foundation, the Smith Foundation and the National Science Foundation to support her work. At just 22, the Latina has been offered jobs from Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, aerospace developer and manufacturer Blue Origin and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
But don’t even bother searching for Gonzalez Pasterski’s résumé on LinkedIn, because this millennial is not a fan of social media. She’s not on Facebook or Instagram, and she doesn’t own a smartphone. Gonzalez Pasterski does have a website, PhysicsGirl, which she updates regularly with her long, and growing, list of accomplishments.