Josue Rivera ‘19, of Lawrence, Massachusetts and a native of the Dominican Republic, was honored at the Massachusetts State House today with a “29 Who Shine Award” from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Rivera is one of 29 outstanding students in the Class of 2019—each representing one of the 29 public institutions of higher education in Massachusetts—who were recognized by Governor Charlie Baker.
Rivera, who holds one of the highest GPAs in his computer science major, was selected for student leadership and civic engagement in the Commonwealth and for exemplifying the mission of public higher education.
Raised in Lawrence, Rivera arrived in the United States in 2011. Five years later, he was named valedictorian of the Math, Science, and Technology Academy at Lawrence High School. He learned in English in two years, mainly by volunteering and practicing during his community service activities. Rivera received his first computer when he was eight years old and would spend time taking apart toys and radios to figure out how they worked. These early actions inspired him to attend college and pursue a degree in computer science.
As an Endeavor Scholar and Honors Student, Rivera currently holds a 3.95 GPA, despite taking six classes a semester for the last five semesters. This summer, Rivera is one of ten students selected to spend ten weeks at the University of Texas in Dallas conducting research on software reliability and applicability as part of a Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant sponsored by the National Science Foundation. For his senior capstone project, Rivera is working with a startup company to develop a smartphone app that can create a 3D model of a person’s foot and find their measurements. The app can be used to create custom shoes and is especially helpful for those with foot deformities.
Rivera is actively involved with the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement on campus where he works with a number of community organizations. He teaches a STEM class for elementary and middle school students at the Fall River YMCA and tutors first-year students.
Rivera plans to earn a masters degree at UMass Dartmouth and then a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After college, he wants to work for a small technology company or create his own enterprise.