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February 16, 2023

Informatics Ph.D. Student María José Anderson Coto Wins Miguel Velez Scholarship

Fifth-year informatics Ph.D. student María José Anderson Coto received the Miguel Velez Scholarship, which supports outstanding graduate students from Latin American countries.

“I’m honored and so excited to be selected! I’m thankful that this scholarship exists since there are very few funding opportunities for international students, especially from Latin American countries,” says Anderson Coto. “I’m currently working on my dissertation proposal, so the Miguel Velez scholarship will be very impactful for supporting me and my research in this critical moment!”

Anderson Coto grew up between Costa Rica and Honduras and researches inclusive AI. She says her upbringing — in which she “experienced how technologies were not meant to be used by people like me or my community members” and learned to be creative to leverage the technology around her — has shaped her work in academia. The interdisciplinary nature of ICS’s Informatics Department is the perfect place for her to apply her background in business and interests in technology.

“My research is about empowering Latine and other minoritized communities to be heard, seen and understood in today’s digital world,” says Anderson Coto, adding that the scholarship will positively impact the communities she studies. “I use participatory design and educational methods to co-design AI-based technology, tools, and ideas so that they truly represent and reflect the community’s interests and priorities, leading towards just, culturally sustaining futures for youth and their communities.”

This is not the only prestigious award Anderson Coto has won — she was awarded the Rosalva Gallardo Valencia Graduate Award in 2021.

Connect with Anderson Coto on her website

— Karen Phan

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