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Josue Rios’ journey from Venezuela to UW CSE

Josue RiosUW CSE senior Josue Rios was one of the first students to benefit from Washington State’s REAL Hope Act, an initiative that enables undocumented immigrants to access state financial aid for higher education. Nearly 20 years ago, Rios and his family left Venezuela in fear; these days, he is looking forward to graduating from UW CSE with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. An excellent article by UW journalism student Kayla Roberts that was published today in Seattle’s civic-focused online journal, Crosscut, highlights Rios’ journey and how the REAL Hope Act has lived up to its name:

“Josue Rios, a 21-year-old student at the University of Washington, escaped violence in Venezuela with his parents when he was two years old.

“The plan was to stay in Washington six months on a tourist visa. When his family home in Venezuela was invaded and sold on false documentation, this turned into 19 years.

“‘Because we had nothing to go back to, because everything was taken away from us, we decided to start over here,’ Rios said. This meant applying himself academically in high school and eventually pursuing a college education. He is set to graduate in the spring from the computer science and engineering department at UW.”

The author notes that because undocumented immigrants are ineligible for federal financial aid, the state program is the only government support available to enable students like Rios to pursue higher education. Read the full article here.

Rios has been an active contributor to the UW CSE community, serving as a teaching assistant in our Systems Programming and Introduction to Digital Design courses. He spent last summer as an intern at Amazon and has plans to work with Microsoft and a start-up company after graduation.

Thanks, Josue, for sharing your inspirational story. We look forward to celebrating your achievements with you in June!

March 11, 2016