The Michael Blaine Burks Scholarship
SCHOOL OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
"There are many ways to measure intellectual challenge; grades are but one."
Mark Stehlik, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education
The Michael Blaine Burks Scholarship was established in the Computer Science Undergraduate Program at Carnegie Mellon, in honor of a beloved alumni, Blaine Burks. Recipients of the scholarship reflect the spirit of the award: that an academic career can be distinguished by unique attributes other than grades alone. These qualities include a drive to learn new ideas and concepts whatever the outcome, a willingness to accept challenges, and perseverance in a field that is not the easiest "steer to wrangle" in the bullpen. The rewards of this approach can be great and always lead to an engaging and fulfilling life and career.
2013 Recipient: Asa Frank
Asa Frank is a junior in the Computer Science Department. Someone recently described Asa as a person who is often "coloring a bit outside the lines", mainly because he doesn't see the need for lines or constraints in his education. He will often go out of the way to help his peers understand difficult concepts when he could easily be completing his own work. He is a unique student...with a heart of gold.
2012, 2013 Recipient: Jeffrey Sun
Jeffrey Sun is now a second year student in the Computer Science Department and remains a serious app developer.
2010 Recipient: Duncan M. Boehle
Duncan Boehle has had the same answer to "what do you want to do when you grow up?" since he was 7. "I'm a computer scientist, but I don't think that prevents me from being an artist. My life-long goal has been to elevate the artistic merit of video games beyond other traditional media, and my education from Carnegie Mellon allows me to pursue that purpose from a technical perspective. My time at college is shorter that I'd like, so I strive to spend every moment meaningfully and toward an intrinsic goal, rather than following academic tradition for the sake of external rewards. I'm extremely grateful for the passionate community here that I can learn from and work with, and I sincerely appreciate the Blaine Burks Scholarship as recognition for my goals."
2010 Recipient: Kelly H. Harrington
 
2009 Recipient: Andrew S. Krieger
 
2008 Recipient: Shaun Hedrick
Shaun is a Senior Computer Science major, pursuing a minor in Software Engineering. This is his second year as a Michael Blaine Burks Scholar. He currently works for the CERT Coordination Center on its Secure Coding Initiative. He enjoys road trips, the electric guitar, video games, soccer, operating systems, and has been known to do homework sometimes.
 
2008 Recipient: Evan DiBiase
Evan is a Junior Computer Science major pursuing a minor in Language Technologies. He has worked both full-time as a Senior Software Architect at a Pittsburgh startup company and part-time as a Student Researcher at the Carnegie Mellon Dependable Systems Laboratory. When he's not working, he recuperates with his girlfriend, Ellen, his cat, Millie, or his MacBook Pro, Enki.
2007 Recipient: Shaun Hedrick (inaugural year)
All About Blaine

Blaine Burks was born in Texas City, Texas, on July 27, 1971. Three weeks later his family moved to Pittsburgh, PA, and this became Blaine's adopted home. The same year Blaine entered the first grade, his mother, Sharon, joined the staff in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon, and Blaine found his calling. From the first time he played "adventure", he knew that computer science was what he wanted to do. He became the "CS urchin", hanging around the main office, helping to pack tech reports and doing anything else he could find -- just to have the opportunity to sit at the "Silent 700" and play games for a while.

Blaine spent most of his life in Bethel Park, PA. He attended the Logan Elementary School, Neil Armstrong Middle School, and graduated from Bethel Park High School in 1990. He had a life-long love of baseball, starting with T-ball at age 5, and enduring through high school, where he was a member of the varsity baseball team.

Blaine had a natural musical talent, and loved music of all kinds. He played the drums, trumpet, guitar, and piano. During his teens he played in a local band which won the Bethel Park High School talent contest in 1989. He also occasionally played drums with the "Algorithmics", a group from Carnegie Mellon CSD that Blaine thought were the "coolest" guys around.

During high school and early college years at Carnegie Mellon Blaine was employed part-time in the Computer Science Department, working with Scott Fahlman's group. Though I'm sure Scott often wondered why he was bothering, Blaine often told me that he learned more than he ever dreamt possible from Scott, not just about computing, but about fairness and honesty and dealing with people.

In 1994 Blaine graduated from Carnegie Mellon and took a position with MAYA Design Group in Pittsburgh. In his four years with MAYA Blaine matured both professionally and personally. He learned how to be an entrepreneur, and that he wanted to run his own business. So he and his college friend packed up their belongings and headed for California.

More photos...