2022 CS Department Awards and Thank-Yous

We presented this year’s CS Department Awards, Golden Brick Awards (for CS staff), and the SACM COW Award in person this year! Congratulations to all recipients!

CS Department Undergraduate Scholarships

The David Dewitt Undergraduate Scholarship

This scholarship was established to recognize academic excellence in computer science and is the top undergraduate honor offered by our department. Scholarships were presented to the following students:

Binhao Chen is a first-generation college student, doing research with Prof. Michael Ferris on fair distribution of vaccines.
Triple major in Computer Sciences, Statistics, and Applied Math

Harry Zhao worked in the Hearing and Speech Lab on cochlear implants and volunteered with ArdenVent, a company designing affordable ventilators.
Triple major in Computer Engineering, Computer Sciences, and Data Science

Heguang Lin has been working on multiple research projects: one on applying machine learning models to studying RNA expression data in mice, and one exploring the geometry of confidence sets.
Double major in Computer Sciences and Mathematics

Michelle Tan has been a programmer for the Undergraduate Learning Center in the college of engineering and quickly became head programmer on the Tutoring-by-Request program.
Triple major in Computer Sciences, Data Science, and Mathematics

Moniek Smink has been doing research on computer vision as well as working in the Theater and Drama Department as a carpenter building sets, at the Vet School, and as a data analyst with the USGS National Wildlife Center. She also plays bass clarinet.
Double major in Computer Sciences and Data Science; studying for a certificate in global health

The Hina and Faisal Mushtaq Scholarship

This scholarship was created by the family of Faisal Mushtaq, who received an undergraduate degree in Computer Sciences from UW in 1988. Faisal has had a long career at the intersection of technology and health care and was founder of Veridigm, which provides IT solutions to a wide variety of health care solutions. The recipient will receive a $1000 scholarship. This year’s winner:

Ziling Hu became interested in healthcare from a family experience with cancer and is triple majoring in Math, Computer Sciences, and Data Science. Ziling is also working at the National Magnetic Resonance facility, and over the past summer used this facility along with machine learning techniques to study brain fibrils from a patient with dementia.

The Paul D. Salmon Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was established in memory of Paul Salmon. Paul was born in Kingston, Jamaica and came to UW-Madison to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science. After graduating, he worked at Epic Health Care for 20 years and passed away in 2021. Paul had a passion for mentoring younger developers and sharing his wealth of knowledge of programming, so to honor that part of his life, his family established the Paul D. Salmon Memorial Scholarship Fund. This perpetual fund through the UW Foundation will periodically award a scholarship to an undergraduate in Computer Sciences from an underrepresented group. The recipient will receive a $1000 scholarship. This year’s

Jodie Ritche grew up in the Bahamas and shows tremendous interest in CS – participating in Girls Who Code, National Society for Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, WACM, ColorStack, Major League Hacking, and being a Pinterest Engage Scholar. She is also a research assistant on Informatics Skunkworks at UW-Madison and developed automated trading software for Jane Street Capital.

The MinneAnalytics Scholarship

This scholarship is funded by the MinneAnalytics company for students pursuing an undergraduate STEM degree who display a passion for pursuing a career directly related to data science and analytics. This award is offered jointly with the Statistics Department, so we are able to offer two awards. This years recipients:

Ayushi Mishra is a double major in Computer Sciences and Data Science and has been doing research on optimizing the performance of database systems, is on the board of WACM, and has been a TA for a data science course

Donald Conway is a math major and interned at Datachat doing quality assurance. There he developed a passion for working with data. In addition, Donald has been a leader and organizer in his dorm. He is interested in pursuing an MS in statistics.


CS Department Faculty, Staff & Grad Student Awards

2022 Summer Computer Sciences Fellowships

Sonia Cromp
Kanghee Park
Hangdong Zhao
Zeyi Huang
Amy Koike
Brahma Pavse
John Shawger
Puqian Wang
Rutwik Jain
Nick Ceccio
Austen Fan
Chendong Wang
Jiho Kim

UW CS Graduate Instructor Award

Ashwin Maran
Nicollas Sdroievski

Carolyn Rosner Award for Excellence in Teaching

Jim Skrentny

Graduate Student Research Award

Sizhuo Ma
Daniel Rakita

UW CS Departmental Service Award

Gigi Mitchell

The Golden Brick Awards

This is the seventh year of the Golden Brick Awards recognizing service to the CS Department. Congratulations to the winners!

The Golden Brick Award Recipients

Angela Thorp is kind, caring, and a great listener when I am confused or struggling inside and outside of computer science. Because of her, I have loved the CS Department and found that they truly care about their students and work hard to make sure their students know they are supported.

Ashwin Maran is an excellent head TA for CS 577 this semester. Never in my entire life have I met a better TA. He is single handedly carrying my understanding of algorithms, and I have no clue where I would be without him.

Bilge Mutlu: I would like to nominate Bilge Mutlu for his work on the building committee. It was a huge amount of effort to serve as the liaison between the department, the university entities that are involved, and the building architects.

Bolo (Josef Burger) puts in an amazing amount of effort to keep the coffee flowing. And he does a great job. He’s arranged for good coffee (which also means good water, working machines, . . . ) and does what it takes to keep things going.

Carla Rose is a dedicated passionate student leader who has given tremendous personal time to start and expand the newer student group ColorStack. She is a strong, effective voice for this student group and successfully secured resources, promoted events, and established the group as a community space within the field of Computer Sciences.

Cindy Fendrick has done an exceptional job as Academic Services Manager in the past year. She leads by example and with kindness, compassion, and humor. She is very dedicated to students and makes time to interact with them and get to know them.

David Merrell organized several SACM events, weekly TGIFs, and department board game nights.

Emma Brostrom: Out of every TA or peer mentor in CS 320, Emma Brostrom is by far the most helpful. She is really kind and patient when you have an issue and doesn’t make you feel like an idiot for not knowing something.

Gigi Mitchell keeps the department afloat. Gigi brings so much joy to the department. Even when she’s super busy, which is often, she is always ready to help everyone who comes to her office.

Indu Kilaru is working in CDIS where the departments of Computer, Data and Information Sciences come together to foster interdisciplinary research. She, alongside with CDIS, conducted career fairs and tech chats frequently across the year, which several CS and other department students attend.

Janna Boehm is a ray of sunshine in the student services dept! She makes everyone smile and laugh! And she adores her students – it shows! She even made them goodie bag treats!

Jeremy McMahan  is the head TA of joint CS 540 instruction team. Jeremy did a fantastic job in keeping the team together as an efficient teaching machine. We as instructors are very thankful of having him as the head TA.

Jill Nagler: I nominated Jill for excellence in support of our grant applications and administration

Jing Liu: For being in the core organizing team and being a very helpful and cheerful member of the systems reading group, the CS Research Sposium, WACM, and the virtual welcome weekend.

Kristin Brown has been an amazing supervisor for WES-CS! She puts so much time and effort into making sure the peer leaders feel ready to lead their sections. She truly cares about everyone involved, and we always feel so supported by her.

Kristin Eschenfelder: I’d like to nominate Kristin Eschenfelder for all of her work on our behalf of the CS Department, especially during hiring season when she met with all our candidates.

Lance Potter: Lance’s willingness to help anyone or aid in any situation is amazing! Being the largest dept on campus, he somehow manages to make any issue manageable and ‘solveable.’ And he’s always in a good mood!

Madeline Juillard graciously welcomes students into conversation and works to address their questions. She has calmed very anxious students and helped support students in accessing resources. Madeline brings this student-centered approach to her daily conversations with students.

Mark Mansi is a uniquely helpful contributor to the CS Department community. He gives generously of his time and talent to organize activities for grad students. Mark frequently shares useful information via gradchat.

Matt Sinclair has consistently gone above and beyond for the students of 552 this semester: Making sure we learn the content thoroughly by taking interest in it, which has made me fall in love with computer architecture; Holding extra office hours whenever required including night and weekends. I consider him my favourite professor and 552 my favourite class.

Mehmet Demirel is a person who always offers to help when needed and has given support to SACM as well as to graduate staff members unfailingly when needed. He serves the department, mostly behind the scenes, with humility and a spirit of generosity!

Michael Swift continually shows dedication to students’ experiences by listening to feedback and creating an inclusive and engaging learning environment. He also promotes events and opportunities within the CS department to ensure students are up to date about activities in CS.

Michael Verban was a peer mentor for the CS537 class. I truly believe that without him, many students would not have done as well as they did, including myself.

Mina Kim: For being the driving force of WACM mentoring program, tireless work, and zeal. It is amazing that Mina seemed never to get frustrated about those issues, and always brings things up again and leads things more than graduate students within the mentoring chairs.

Sacha Jungerman: For conceiving and organizing the Computer Vision Roundtable (CVRT), a biweekly event for discussing recent computer vision research. Prior to Sacha’s efforts, the department didn’t have any reading groups or similar forums for computer vision.

Shivaram Venkataraman offered the 839: Advanced ML Systems course. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of the course. The energetic atmosphere in class and the stream of thoughts and ideas discussed in class has been one of the best experiences in graduate school.

The Undergraduate Projects Lab has done a lot to support their peers, including hosting a Course Preview Night. They went through summer and fall course offerings and gave excellent advice on course pairings, difficulty, and tips from students. They also were available to answer specific student questions.

Tom Erickson: I’d like to nominate Tom for his wonderful leadership of CDIS through a time of change and growth and for his tireless and amazing work promoting CDIS and fundraising for the new CS building.

Tyler Caraza Harter used TA and peer mentor feedback (in F21) along with his own intuition to re-designed the course quite substantially in S22. The improvements in the course were immediately evident in terms of student engagement in labs, projects, and student intuition during office hours.

Yuvraj Patel Yuvraj has been the best instructor I’ve ever had in all my time taking CS classes at the UW. BY FAR my most favourite professors in this school. He is an absolute asset to UW-Madison!


Each year SACM has the honor of awarding the Choice of Wisconsin Award, or, as it is more affectionately known, the COW Award.

It is given to a professor who has done an exceptional job in the classroom teaching environment, as opposed to research or extracurricular activities. The winner is chosen directly by the graduate students of this department, which means that despite being a relatively new addition to our faculty, this year’s winner has already made quite the impact on their students.

Nominations discuss how this professor breaks down even complex and challenging material into something that is understandable and approachable, how he has fostered a classroom environment where discussion and critical thinking are encouraged, and, finally, how he is not only clearly passionate about the material he teaches but also able to instill that passion in his students.

For these reasons and more, we are proud to announce this year’s recipient of the COW award is Professor Yong Jae Lee!