White spring flowers

2023 CS Department Awards and Thank-Yous

We are still celebrating being able to present the CS Department Awards, Golden Brick Awards (for CS staff), and the SACM COW Award in person! 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:

Nott Laoaron
Michael Noguera
Marin Suzuki
Hongtao Zhang
Sage Fritz, Honorable Mention

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:

Athan Li

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

Sage Fritz

Wai Ying Yick and Dr Chui Wai Yuen Endowment

Palash Goyal


CS Department Faculty, Staff & Grad Student Awards

2023 Summer Computer Sciences Fellowships

Jiaqi Cheng
Wentao Hou
Ivan Hu
Yuna Hwang
Mario Ivan Jaen Marquez
Rahul Krishnan
Adam Labiosa
Ian McDougall
Chaithanya Naik Mude
Shaan Nagy
Catriona Nelson
Thao Nguyen
Kassie Povinelli
Gowtham Ramesh

UW CS Graduate Instructor Award

Jeremy McMahan

Carolyn Rosner Award for Excellence in Teaching

Tyler Caraza-Harter

Graduate Student Research Award

Ankit Pensia
Shashank Rajput, Honorable Mention

UW CS Departmental Service Award

Cindy Fendrick

The Golden Brick Awards

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

The Golden Brick Award Recipients

Amanda Xu not only contributes to the department as part of WACM’s Mentoring Committee, she also helps mentor students in the program herself and took a lot of initiative as co-chair, all while balancing her roles as a student and researcher. She’s an amazing role model to both undergrad/grad students and overall a great human being.

Andy Kuemmel has done a wonderful job taking up WES-CS leadership over the last year and is doing research on improving education, accessibility, and sense of belonging in Computer Science.

Brandon Tran is an active student leader within the department. He is always willing to jump into a conversation and help others out. Brandon serves on the department DEI committee, assisted with Inclusion Program Manager interviews, and is Head TA in CS220. Brandon is known to be a friendly face to many fellow students, staff, and faculty. Thank you for all your contributions.

Cathy Cao has participated in WACM’s Mentoring Program for nearly 3 years and helped it grow from a group of just a handful of participants to a cohort with nearly a hundred applications during its largest iterations. She’s a multi-talented computer scientist/researcher/amateur graphic designer and continually suggests fun/innovative ideas to make the program better.

Fred Sala always strives to make CS 540 engaging to students and genuinely cares about their experiences in the course. He brings a lot of positive energy as a lecturer and is very knowledgeable and passionate about the material.

Gigi Mitchell is the kindest and most helpful person in the department. One really can’t traverse the CS building(s) without seeing Gigi helping somebody. She is always ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice when somebody needs a hand. We’re lucky to have her!

Allison Wanger, C-M Daeley, Kayla Lentz, and Shelby Arkin:

We want to send a huge thank you to some of our undergraduate Computer Sciences advisors: 

  • Allison has quickly become an involved member of the CS community. Whether it is helping with advertisements/hosting events related to CS graduate programs, or partaking in discussions with an upcoming CDIS Learning Center, Allison has demonstrated motivation to keep academic pathways open for CS undergraduate students.
  • C-M never fails to ensure that the CS undergraduate newsletter “CS Events and Things” is always sent out in a timely manner with as many updates or announcements as possible. C-M has very much helped the CS undergraduate population stay informed with all the awesome opportunities that are there.
  • Kayla is always one of the first to throw ideas together for various undergraduate academic events. Her enthusiastic approach to how to engage undergraduate students, share relevant information, and facilitate discussions has resulted in more participation in CS undergraduate events than in past academic years.
  • Shelby‘s background is in secondary education. From her experience working in the Madison Metropolitan School District and at UW-Madison, she has unparalleled wisdom and advice about working with students in an academic environment. Shelby’s approachability, organizational skills, understanding of student development, alongside a hard work ethic, make her an incredibly supportive advisor and co-worker.

Hilary Heffley is always ready to help and knows her job inside and out. Amongst all the demands placed upon her, she will stop and talk me through a process or look something up for me and explain it thoroughly. We very much appreciate it!

Hobbes Legault was truly a kind professor who really gave her lectures and teachings thought and care. She really cares about her students which is a rarity at UW Madison where often students feel like they don’t matter. She made me feel like she was happy to have us learn and help us out when something went wrong as opposed to me being a nuisance. She is truly the best.

Jill Nagler does tireless work on highly complex proposals and grants that CS participates in. Jill is a quintessential subject matter expert on many aspects of the grants that CS goes after and receives, and is ready to find out more when the award or situation is unique or unusual to the sponsor. 

Karen Barrett-Wilt does a super job of working with everyone including students, faculty, staff, CDIS and public. She is quick to respond, solves problems in creative ways, listens carefully and has greatly enhanced cs communications. She has also worked diligently with her student staff to make the CS website more alive.

Kayley Seow made significant contributions to WACM’s Mentoring Program and brought a lot of energy to events. She provided a fresh perspective to the program as a more “junior” member by advocating for mentees while also taking on a lot of responsibilities as co-chair— the mentoring program wouldn’t be the same without her.

Keaton Leppanen is president of SACM and put much time energy and even gasoline in his car when snacks are needed form the Costco in support of SACM activities. He has helped to coordinate the graduate research symposium, Welcome Weekend, TGIFs and other SACM activities. We appreciate his good nature, his humor, his hard work and his commitment to giving back to the dept. by serving as SACM president!

Lance Potter is very competent and always has the right answer or at least a pointer to any administrative question. He is willing to help anyone at any time, he doesn’t judge, he’s fair, he doesn’t micromanage, he is kind, he cares about the wellbeing of others, and he’s good at his job.

Laura Stegner has been a vocal proponent of ensuring grad students have a larger voice in the planning of the new CDIS building. She has participated in the proposed building’s community engagement meetings and spoke up when she and other graduate students had suggestions about the building’s design.

Matt Sinclair has been one of the most hard working people I have seen during my time at UW. He has gone out of the way to help students in CS 552. He is also my research advisor and Matt is always available for help, guidance and anything I need to succeed in graduate school. Be it Saturday or Sunday, Matt keeps extra office hours for his students and helps me in my research. 

Megan Cornwell: From her office door recipes to her innovative ideas on course enrollment management, Megan makes all our lives better (but we just don’t see it because of her behind the scenes work). Additionally, Megan is prompt to assist faculty in need of classroom reservations and help answer the variety of questions that come into our enrollment inbox. Behind these many talents, Megan brings warmth, a friendly smile, and loads of worldly facts to our weekly lives.

Michael Radloff is a tremendous resource to undergraduate students and the department. He has assisted many students in understanding their academic requirements, working through challenging situations, and celebrating their achievements. He is a kind caring advisor willing to go the extra mile to support our students. Additionally, he has been a great asset to his peers and the department.

Nibedita Pattnaik‘s efforts for all graduate admission was beyond helpful. She is extremely organized and thorough in her work and it was very much appreciated!

Nicholas Winans (Nick) has done outstanding work leading MadHacks. MadHacks was a hackathon that occurred this past Spring semester, run by the Undergraduate Project Laboratory. It was a greatly successful event as we had over 250 participants and more than 50 projects submitted in total. Nick put countless hours towards leading the organization of this event, performing many necessary duties such as managing all of the finances, corresponding with multiple sponsors, ordering supplies for the event, and much more that has gone unnoticed.

Prasoon Tandon is an outstanding Peer Mentor in CS200. In addition to lab and drop-in hours, he has contributed very frequently and accurately to our course Piazza. He has responded to over 60% of student posts with outstanding answers, far above any reasonable expectations.

Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau: We would like to thank Remzi for his excellent service as the department chair, helping with everything including the new CDIS building project, hiring new faculty, etc.! He served the department while keeping making high quality research progress in his research group.

Ruixuan Tu is a peer mentor who is super responsible for the class 540. Sometimes, he is even more capable of solving students’ questions than TAs. Moreover, he has worked more than his assigned hours. “I enjoy helping students. This can also enhance my own skills from time to time,” he said.

Shivaram Venkataraman has done an amazing job in teaching both CS 744 and CS 537 this term putting in many hours to ensure that all the students are able to learn the material and receive help when needed. Overall these courses have also been incredibly well managed and I think that the students have come out stronger because of his influence.

Sonia Cromp is an active student leader within the department and a mentor to many. Sonia leads WACM in successful events and advocates for fellow students. Additionally, she volunteered her time to support the department’s Grace Hopper Conference informational booth and connected with many throughout that experience. Sonia is a student leader who contributes to the CS community in many ways.

Tyler Caraza-Harter is the first CS professor (and I am a senior CS student) that has tied course material into something not brain numbing and really evolved my understanding of CS with his CS 544 course. Professor Tyler is so caring, approachable, and wants us all to succeed and be the best we can when it comes to what he teaches. I feel Tyler deserves this award for making a non-confident programmer (me) into a confident one, and I imagine others feel the same way : ).



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.

This year’s winner is Yea-Seul Kim!