All School of Computer Science undergraduates embody technical excellence. They fearlessly complete one of the toughest CS curriculums in academia, ultimately becoming the graduates most sought after by leading tech companies. But even among this group, some students exude an "it" factor that makes them stand out. They demonstrate the passion to tackle research problems no course requires. They start their own initiatives at CMU. They energize their peers, and serve as teaching assistants and mentors to help others succeeed.
The SCS Alumni Advisory Board created the Mark Stehlik SCS Alumni Undergraduate Impact Scholarship to honor students that go that extra mile. It recognizes and supports SCS undergraduates whose drive for excellence extends beyond the classroom — students who make a difference both in the field of computer science and the world around them. Awarded near the end of a student's undergraduate career, the Stehlik Scholarship encourages SCS students to increase their engagement in research and community service, and reach beyond their courses and grades.
It seemed only fitting to name the award after Mark Stehlik, teaching professor of computer science and assistant dean for outreach, who has been a tireless force in encouraging a generation of CMU students to excel at CS — and at life.
You can help us honor SCS undergrads and Mark's rich legacy by supporting this fund
The School of Computer Science has named current seniors Tanvi Bajpai and Serena Wang the recipients of its 2018 Mark Stehlik SCS Alumni Undergraduate Impact Scholarship. Bajpai and Wang have made noteworthy contributions both to SCS and the computer science field in general. And they both plan to continue doing so after graduation.
During her time at CMU, Bajpai has performed research with Ramamoorthi Ravi, the Andris A. Zoltners Professor of Business and Rohet Tolani Distinguished Professor in SCS and the Tepper School of Business. In the summer of 2017, she interned at Microsoft, and this past summer she traveled to the University of Maryland to work on research with Samir Khuller, the Distinguished Scholar Teacher and Professor of Computer Science. Despite her many accomplishments, Bajpai believes that her biggest achievement at CMU was being a teaching assistant for a series of computer science and discrete math classes including 15-451: Algorithms, 15-151: Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science, and 21-128: Mathematical Concepts and Proofs.
"My outreach has been primarily toward encouraging diversity in the undergraduate computer science program, because although we have a 50/50 male to female ratio, we still need to push diversity at the teaching assistant and research level," Bajpai said. "I've been very passionate about addressing the imposter phenomenon that goes on at CMU, and I've planned events with Women @ SCS to address both of these topics."
Wang, a Bay Area native, has been a teaching assistant every semester since fall of her sophomore year, because of the positive impact her own teaching assistants had on her education at CMU. Beyond that, she has been involved with ScottyLabs and Women @ SCS since her freshman year, holding executive positions in ScottyLabs including both director of finance and director. She has also performed research on provable security and privacy with SCS Assistant Professor Jean Yang, and developed a passion for entrepreneurship while participating in the Kleiner Perkins Engineering Fellows Program. She also organized TartanHacks, a CMU-wide hackathon.
"Organizing a large event like TartanHacks takes a lot of preparation and teamwork," Wang said. "But in the end, the rest of the ScottyLabs executive board members and I felt so accomplished and satisfied when we finished successfully hosting the event."
With their senior years nearly completed, both students are focusing on their post-graduation goals. Bajpai hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical computer science and Wang will join an enterprise data infrastructure startup called Akita. Both students are incredibly grateful for the resources and opportunities that were theirs for the taking in the School of Computer Science.
"Receiving the Stehlik Scholarship has made me look back at what I've accomplished during my time at CMU, and as a freshman, I never would have expected to be able to do everything I've achieved," said Wang. Bajpai added, "I don't think I'd be where I am today had I not had the support from some of my professors and advisors here, and I will always be grateful for that."