Deputy Editor, The Australia Times

Sydney, NSW, Australia

“What’s behind Pluto?” I asked, staring at my sleepy mother just after two in the morning. I was six years old and she had just taught me all about the planets of our solar system earlier that day. While I always enjoyed her tutor time, this particular lesson immediately perked an insatiable interest in me. It caused the startling realization that there was so much more beyond what I already knew, what I could already see or feel. The realization was thrilling, yet unsettling; in one day, my world grew exponentially and along with it, so also grew countless questions. As I was trying to sleep that night, one issue could not be silenced. If there is more to our universe than the Earth, the Sun and the Moon, then shouldn't there be more beyond the other planets and Pluto? While at six years old, I didn’t quite grasp the idea of a truly infinite universe, I knew that it couldn’t just end after Pluto. So, at just after two in the morning, the mystery had become too overpowering and I had to wake up my mother to ask.

I never lost my inquisitive nature. Throughout my life, I have found an intense satisfaction through the search for knowledge. I have been the person who sought out to know more, know first, know why and know how. This need of mine to find all the pieces of a puzzle and leave no story uncovered still motivates me in virtually all aspects of my life today. Particularly, I am fascinated with people. After all, with our different backgrounds, beliefs, histories and futures interconnecting in one way or another, I would argue, we are the biggest puzzle of all.

Javier Rodriguez

Born in the desert of Mexico, Javier Rodriguez grew up far away from his parents and extended family, who had settled in the United States when he was a child. Choosing to stay and raise his own family in Mexico, Javier was fortunate to keep a very good job, which granted his family economic stability.

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