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CS undergrad joins next generation of research leader as Goldwater scholar

The Goldwater Scholarship Program, one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in natural sciences, engineering and mathematics, selected Boise State honor student and computer science major Josue Torres-Fonseca as a 2022 scholar. The program identifies and supports sophomore and junior level students who show exceptional promise of becoming the next generation of research leaders in these fields. Torres-Fonseca joins an exclusive group of 417 students who were awarded from a pool of 1,242 nominated students representing 433 academic institutions this year.

Torres-Fonseca is passionate about natural language processing and spoken dialogue systems. Through his research, he hopes to create intelligent systems that enhance the lives of users who are deaf, blind or have other disabilities. His goal is to attend graduate school in Spain or Germany through the Erasmus Mundus European Masters Program in Language and Communication Technologies. Torres-Fonseca’s research mentor, Assistant Professor Casey Kennington, also mentored Boise State’s 2018 Goldwater scholar, Daniele Moro.

Josue Torres-Fonseca
Josue Torres-Fonseca, a 2022 Goldwater scholar majoring in computer science

“I am in a field with very little diversity so I always feel as if I have to prove myself, even if others don’t directly or indirectly communicate that, because I want to personally be an example for other minorities in the field,” he said.

Torres-Fonseca is grateful to those who believed in him and who recognized the positive effect that his work will have on others. “Research doesn’t have much of an impact in the world if others don’t believe in it and its potential because much of the work can’t be done alone.”

Nine Boise State students – now including Torres-Fonseca – have received the Goldwater Scholarship since 1991. The Honors College and its fellowship advisor Kate Huebschmann support candidates throughout the application process.

“The scholarship has already had a huge impact on my career and that was before even receiving it,” Torres-Fonseca added. “I had the honor of working with Kate to make my application as strong as possible, which was important because not only did it give me a higher chance of receiving the scholarship but also significantly helped me apply to other research opportunities.”

Learn more about the Goldwater Scholarship Program.