By Kimberley Clementi
José Santana Sosa, a UC San Diego senior majoring in computer science, has received the 2022-2023 Alan Turing Memorial Scholarship from the Center for Networked Systems (CNS). He has also been named the inaugural recipient of CNS’s first ever Alan Turing Memorial Teradata Scholarship. This makes Santana Sosa the first student to receive both scholarships for a single school year.
CNS established the Alan Turing Memorial Scholarships to honor the memory of Alan Turing, the co-founder of computer science and a World War II era mathematician and cryptanalyst whose contributions to code breaking accelerated the Allied victory. After the war, Turing was persecuted for his orientation as a gay man. He died by suicide in 1954.
“Winning this scholarship is a great honor that deeply humbles me,” said Santana Sosa. “I am privileged to be part of this effort to bring visibility to the LGBTQ+ community and how impactful we have been throughout history.”
Santana Sosa, who moved to the United States from Venezuela, views the dual awards as validation of his many years of hard work. Prior to transferring to UC San Diego, Santana Sosa graduated from community college with an associate degree in mathematics. He recently interned with Apple in software engineering and with LPL Financial in technology and cyber security and, at one time, worked in an immigration law office helping others on their path to citizenship.
“Being an immigrant, Latinx, gay, first-generation transfer student, I understand how important and challenging it is to present your full, intersecting-self in academic and professional spaces. I am passionate about easing and supporting the way for others who are on a similar path,” said Santana Sosa.
Santana Sosa’s dedication to advancing underrepresented populations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is more than just talk. Currently, he is active in two engineering student organizations that support diversity in STEM: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and Out in STEM (oSTEM).
As Santana Sosa continues his CSE studies, he intends to prioritize human-centered design, developing software that solves and prevents problems for vulnerable populations. He hopes his contributions will disrupt the bias and inequality in computing and technology and improve the lives of individuals in marginalized groups. Santana Sosa also aspires to become a community college professor.
The Alan Turing Memorial Scholarship and the Alan Turing Memorial Teradata Scholarship are open to undergraduates who are active supporters of the LGBTQIA+ community and majoring in computer science, computer engineering, public policy, communications, and other programs touching on networked systems. They are awarded to students based on academic merit, with a preference for those with demonstrated financial need.
In February 2020, CNS reached its endowment goal of $250,000 for the Alan Turing Memorial Scholarship, for an annual award of $10,000. In 2021, the Teradata Corporation donated $50,000 to endow a second scholarship, the Alan Turing Memorial Teradata Scholarship, which gives an additional annual award of $2,000.
CSE is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts (DEI). Those interested in supporting scholarships related to those efforts can contact Jennie Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Alan Turing Memorial scholarships, please contact Jennifer Folkestad at email@example.com.