A neutron star contains the densest form of observable matter in the universe. It is about the size of Manhattan, but possesses a mass about 1.4 times that of the sun. To put it in perspective: a single teaspoon of neutron star material would weigh about a billion tons and, if it were any denser, would collapse into a black hole and disappear.

    Sometimes I, too, feel like a neutron star.

    Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Woah there, my diminutive Latina friend! Please explain this borderline-brazen humblebrag.”

    You see, it is common knowledge that we are all made of star stuff. As for me, I occupy a space that, at its peak, is barely above five feet. Similar to a neutron star, I am relatively tiny. However, I am also jam-packed: not with elemental neutrons, but with a formidable abundance of creativity and passion.

    A neutron star is created by the cosmic explosion of a massive star combined with incredible gravitational forces. The supernova that produced me was a cosmic combination of a love of reading, storytelling, and spoken word. You could always find me curled up in the corner of my room, book in hand, into the wee small hours of the morning. I’ve traveled to Narnia by means of an antiquated wardrobe, had cynical conversations with Holden Caulfield, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, and bore witness to an unspeakable injustice alongside Jem and Scout. My love of literature would eventually grow into a raging love of film and a boundless fascination with the stories that speak to our souls. But first, dear reader, I had to discover my inner starlight.

    The core of a neutron star is such an extreme environment that physicists can't agree on what happens inside. During my formative years, it felt like everything - both literally and metaphorically - was just out of reach. My interests were unorthodox compared to those of my peers, and I dreaded the age-old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Although my parents tried their best to expose me to all things STEM – open houses at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a trip to the Kennedy Space Center, and science museums in every major city – it didn’t take. While a love of space will always be ingrained in my DNA, my love of stars began to gravitate toward a different kind: those of film and screen.

    The average neutron star boasts one of the most powerful gravitational and magnetic fields known to science. One night, in a stroke of serendipity, I changed the channel to the 86th Academy Awards. I watched intently as Alfonso Cuarón won Best Director for Gravity - a word which, from that point forward, took on an entirely new meaning for me. For the first time ever, I saw myself reflected on screen and felt the tug of possibility. Seeing a successful Latino whose stories drew people in made me realize that I, too, had been gravitating toward filmmaking my entire life.

    Unable to resist the pull, I began to create: frantically filming anyone who wandered into my orbit - my unwitting little brother, my dutiful parents - channeling my inner Agnès Varda as I went. This feeling of creative liberty sustains me through every phase of my trajectory. Ultimately, I plan to direct, produce, and tell compelling stories that communicate the wonders of the world to as many people as possible.

    There are many things we don't know about neutron stars, including just how many of them are out there. In this next phase of my journey, I hope to encounter other celestial bodies who inspire me to shine my light into the darkest recesses of the universe. I am on an odyssey to find my place in the galaxy and to illuminate the world with my stories.

    It is written in the stars.