Prize Recipient


Judith Vasquez


My name is Judith Vasquez and I am from Caracas, Venezuela. As my place of birth, I mostly identify myself as Venezuelan, yet I am also a quarter Nicaraguan and a quarter Martiniquan. My childhood in Caracas was a single, joyous exploration driven by curiosity. I would stand outside in a thunderstorm, as the smell of damp earth permeated the air, wondering about the patterns cut by lightning across the sky. An entire afternoon was spent watching through binoculars the darting movements of raucous birds across the valley. At age 13, my parents and I relocated to Dallas, Texas, because of the political situation in Venezuela. Despite finding myself in a country devoid of the familiar, I remained driven by an urge to question and discover. Each new finding increases my sense of wonder at the unending complexity that surrounds us, begging to be deciphered. My desire to study physics seems almost inevitable, as I could not imagine being able to put my curiosity to rest without attempting to understand all that is around us. Physics is everywhere, and lends wonder to every star and spark, every iceberg and snowflake. I graduated this year from Greenhill School and will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall. I aim to pursue my interests in singing, music composition, hiking, and calligraphy. I hope to major in physics and utilize my cross-cultural experiences to enrich my understanding of, and ability to transmit ideas and encourage the interdisciplinary dialogue that I believe will be fundamental to bringing us closer to understanding the wonders of the world we live in.