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2-year-old Indian American Makes History as Youngest Member of American Mensa

2-year-old Indian American Makes History as Youngest Member of American Mensa

  • Kashe Quest, with an IQ of 146, can name all the elements on the periodic table, identify all 50 states by shape and location and is currently learning Spanish and Punjabi.

Two-year-old Indian American Kashe Quest is not your average toddler. She can name all the elements on the periodic table, identify all 50 states by shape and location and is currently learning Spanish. The Los Angeles baby genius recently became the youngest member American Mensa, a group of highly intelligent people who have scored in the top 2 percent of the general population on a standardized intelligence test. Kashe’s IQ is 146, ranking right up there with Bill Gates and Elon Musk. To put it in perspective, the average IQ in the country is 100. 

And on June 1 night, the toddler with her winsome smile went toe-to-toe with comedian Jimmy Kimmel on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” The 2-year-old rattled off names of elements on the periodic table, to the astonishment of Kimmel and the live audience present. 

Kashe Quest was born in 2019 to Sukhjit Athwal and Devon Quest. Athwal is of Indian origin and Devon is African American, making them a “Blindian” couple. Quest graduated from UCLA School of Law, magna cum laude.

“Kashe is certainly a remarkable addition to American Mensa,” Trevor Mitchell, executive director of American Mensa, told People in a statement of the toddler. “We are proud to have her and to be able to help her and her parents with the unique challenges that gifted youth encounter.”

According to Kashe’s parents, a pediatrician noticed that she seemed advanced for her age – after engaging in a fairly complicated conversation with the child, as told to Kimmel on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Based on the pediatrician’s recommendation, the family took her to a psychologist, who administered the Mensa test. “Once her pediatrician also acknowledged it, at her 18-month check-up I had let her know where (Kashe) was on her number shapes and colors, and wanted her perspective on all of it, and she said it was amazing…it’s something worth looking into,” Athwal told CNN. “She has always shown us, more than anything, the propensity to explore her surroundings and to ask the question ‘Why,’”Quest told CNN. “If she doesn’t know something, she wants to know what it is and how it functions, and once she learns it, she applies it.” 

Kashe Quest. Top photo, Kashe with her mom Sukhjit Athwal.

The Quests said that as soon as their daughter said her first word, her skills developed rapidly. Soon she was speaking in sentences that contained five or more words. “We started to notice her memory was really great. She just picked up things really fast and she was really interested in learning,” Athwal told KTTV.  “At about 17, 18 months, she had recognized all the alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes.” 

But, as Athwal notes, Kashe is still a typical child in many ways, who as she told Kimmel loves strawberry ice cream with M&Ms, all things “Frozen,” and even picking her boogers! “At the end of the day, she’s in that toddler stage,” Athwal told KTTV. “She very much is still a normal 2-year-old where we have negotiations, we have tantrums, we have everything and it’s different because the way we communicate with her, it has to be different because she’s able to understand just a little bit more.  I think one of the biggest things with me and [my] daughter [is] making sure she has a childhood and we don’t force anything on her,” she added. “We’re kind of going at her pace and we want to just make sure that she is youthful for as long as she can be.” 

Kashe Quest with her parents Devon Quest and Sukhjit Athwal.

Speaking to CNN Athwal said: “I think the biggest take away from us doing it was we wanted to make sure we were giving her everything she also needed, in terms of her development and natural curiosity and her disposition — and we wanted to make sure we did our part in making that happen for her.” The family is currently focusing on Kashe’s progress and remember to tell her that they are “proud of her progress” when she gets frustrated doing a task. In return, Quest displays her emotional intelligence by also encouraging them. “If she sees me trying to open a jar of pickles, she’ll come over and say, ‘Dad I’m so proud of you!’” her father told CNN.

Quest and Athwal admit that they have a huge responsibility on their hands raising Kashe. “She will wake up on a Saturday and say, ‘I want to do elements,’ or ‘I want to do states.’ Whenever she’s leaning into it, we’re just there to support her,” Devon told REVOLT. “We wanted to make sure we did out part in making it happen for her,” Athwal told CNN

Another way the couple have encouraged their daughter’s progress is through the creation of a preschool, they tell The Mercury News. Athwal has a background in education, and between working with Kashe at home, and a need created in their community through the pandemic, the Modern Schoolhouse was born. “She’s still two at heart, and she needs to be with children her age, and not have that pressure put on her to be older than she needs to be or act older than she needs to be,” her mother told The Mercury News.

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The preschool opened in October with 12 children in attendance. They are hoping to expand to a larger building to accommodate the waiting list. With such an advanced child, Kashe’s parents say they don’t communicate any differently with her. However, they are learning to be intentional with their words and with their communication since she can keep them accountable for what they say. She does that by repeating it back to them.

“It has taught us patience in how to communicate with her and we are very conscious of the words we use with her and how we explain things,” Athwal said to CNN. “It has definitely taught us how to be better communicators with each other and collectively as a family because we all have to be on the same page.”

Even though they want to encourage her learning, all of her skills are at her own pace. Kashe’s family tell KTTV that they will continue to encourage her learning but plan to let her set the tone on whatever topics she wants to learn, so as not to overwhelm her. “In terms of raising a child you want to give them these skills and this growth mindset… to become that strong individual,” her mother said to CNN.

Mensa members have access to distinct lectures, special-interest groups; and regional, national, and international gatherings. Kashe’s mother however, still believes her toddler should maintain contact with other children to encourage social development ahead of future events. “She needs to be with children her age and not have that pressure put on her to be older than she needs to be or act older,” Athwal said in a recent interview to Revolt.

American Mensa says it has more than 50,000 members, ranging from ages 2 to 102. This group includes a range of people, such as engineers, homemakers, teachers, actors and students.

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