Parrish Computer Science Scholarship


Laura Luthy and Eleanor Moore In 2000, I endowed a scholarship at the University of Texas where I did my undergraduate work. Eleanor Moore, Director of Scholarships at the UT Ex-Students' Association, gave me useful and practical advice in how to establish the scholarship. Amazingly of the 160 named scholarships, this was the first for computer science students.

Laura Luthy (photo) of the UT Computer Science Department provided me with the key insights in how to operationalize the scholarship. The Parrish Computer Science Scholarship is awarded each year to an outstanding freshman in the Turing Scholars Program. The UT CS Department selects the nominee, and the scholarship is administered by the Texas Ex-Students' Association.

Lunches with Scholarship Supporters

Judith Quinney, Eleanor Moore Judith, Eleanor In 2005, Judith Quinney, a distinguished academic advisor, replaced Laura Luthy, who transferred to UT San Antonio, as the CS advisor for the Parrish Scholarship. As usual, Eleanor Moore, Judith and I had another enjoyable lunch at the authentic Eastside Cafe.

Judith Tiffany Eleanor Judith DMP Tiffany Eleanor In 2006, Tiffany Grady, Assistant Director of Academic Initiatives, who recently joined the Computer Science department, accompanied Judith Quinney, Eleanor Moore, and I for a delightful conversation and enjoyable lunch at the authentic Eastside Cafe.

Judith Tiffany Eleanor Zach Pringnitz In 2009, Jennifer Martinson, replaced Judith Quinney in CS. Here Eleanor, Tiffiny and Jenn pause for a photo after our usual enjoyable lunch. Zach Pringnitz, the 2009 Parrish Scholarship winner, demonstrates the true UT Hook 'em Horns spirit before our synergistic dinner conversation.

Tiffany Rob Eleanor Eleanor Moore Don Parrish In 2010, Rob Poynor of the CS Dept., joined the team and poses after a lively lunch at the Eastside Cafe with Tiffany Grady and Eleanor Moore.
I admire Eleanor for helping countless UT students & donors. Hopefully her upcoming retirement will not interrupt our delightful annual tradition.

Tiffany Rob Eleanor Eleanor Moore Don Parrish In 2014, Doug Roberts joined the team replacing Rob Poynor. After a delightful lunch, the team lingers for a couple of photos. Left to right:
Doug Roberts, Tiffany Grady, Don Parrish and Eleanor Moore.

Alumni Center In 2018, Doug Roberts celebrated his 5th lunch and Tiffany Buckley her 9th lunch. And yes, they brought their kids photos to share. Eleanor Moore and I celebrate our unbroken sequence of lunches at the East Side Cafe. since the beginning of the century and the Scholarship. We all look forward to this annual event.

Alumni Center In 2022, All 4 of us met again for lunch: myself, Tiffany Buckley, Eleanor Moore, and Doug Roberts. Unfortunately, the East Side Cafe has been gone for several years now. And the day before our luncheon the beloved Queen Elizabeth II passed at 96 after 70 years on the throne. I watched her coronation in 1953 on TV (military jet brought film to USA).

Lunches with Scholarship Winners

Alumni Center In 2016, we started a new tradition -- a luncheon of the existing Parrish CS Scholarship winners in order to meet the Freshman winner. The idea is to help integrate the Freshman into the Turning program with some friends and contacts in CS. In the photo left to right are Jake Crabtree (Freshman), Jo Bridgwater (Sophomore), Don Parrish, Sam Miller (Junior) and Robert Perce (Senior). Their mini bios are below.

In 2017, we had our second luncheon of the Parrish CS Scholarship winners. It was the second & final year that the Named Scholarships banquet was held at the AT&T Conference Center instead of the Alumni Center of the Texas Exes. This Alumni Center is redolent with the traditions and achievements of the Texas Exes and UT Alumni. It has dozens of oil paintings & sculptures, the Legends room, etc. I gave a Center tour to Jake Crabtree and Robert San Soucie like all past winners have received. It is magic achieving a photo with the UT President at the Scholarship reception.

Scholars Painting Glass Wall Horse Tower 21 President Fenves

Winners 2018 In 2018, the new tradition continues. We had a dinner with the existing Parrish CS Scholarship winners in order to meet the Freshman winner, Santiago Cortes, and to help integrate him into the Turning program. In the photo left to right are: Jo Bridgwater (Senior), Jake Crabtree (Junior), Don Parrish, Robert San Soucie (Sophomore) and Sanitago Cortes.

Winners 2019 In 2019, the tradition continues. We had a dinner with existing Parrish CS Scholarship winners in order to meet the Freshman winner, Hannah Hughes, and to help integrate her into the Turning program. Left to right are: Jake Crabtree (Senior), Robert San Soucie (Junior), Don Parrish, Sanitago Cortes (Sophomore) and Hannah Hughes.

Winners 2019 In 2022, the tradition resumes after 2 years of Covid. We had a dinner with existing Parrish CS Scholarship winners in order to meet the Freshman winner, Joyce Lai, and to help integrate her into the Turning program. Left to right are: Hannah Hughes (Senior), Joanne Chen (Junior), Don Parrish, Joyce Lai (Freshman) and Emily Thompson (Sophomore).

Parrish Scholarship Genesis

Alumni Center Parrish Paving Stone In 1966, I graduated from the University of Texas with honors in Mathematics before the Computer Science department was established. In 1967, I became a life member of the UT Ex-Students' Association. In 2000, I fulfilled a life-long dream by establishing this scholarship at UT.

Parrish Scholarship Winners

The Parrish Computer Science Scholarship has been awarded each year of the 21st century:

Year No. Parrish Scholarship Winner Home Town or High School
2001 1  Megan Beck  Houston, Texas
2002 2  David Yu  Winter Park, Florida
2003 3  Shan Wang  Texas Academy of Math and Science
2004 4  Jason Petersen  Temple, Texas
2005 5  Brandon Bolling  Aurora, Colorado
2006 6  Thomas Jack  San Antonio, Texas
2007 7  Christopher Renard  School for the Talented and Gifted
2008 8  Emily Russell  Georgetown High School
2009 9  Zach Pringnitz  Cinco Ranch High School
2010 10  Andrew Wiley  Friendswood High School
2011 11  Reid McKenzie  Union County Magnet High School
2012 12  Jarran Pedersen  Monroe Woodbury High School
2013 13  Robert Perce  Sandra Day O'Connor High School
2014 14  Samantha Miller  James Bowie High School
2015 15  Joanna Bridgwater  Westwood High School
2016 16  Jake Crabtree  Perry High School
2017 17  Robert San Soucie  J.J. Pearce High School
2018 18  Santiago Cortes  James E. Taylor High School
2019 19  Hannah Hughes  Roosevelt High School
2020 20  Joanne Chen  Independence High School
2021 21  Emily Thompson  Liberal Arts and Science Academy
2022 22  Joyce Lai  Louis D. Brandeis High School
2023 23  Annie Li  Bergen County Academies

Megan Beck

Photo of Me and Megan (113K) This is a photo (click to enlarge) of Megan Beck and myself taken on September 6, 2001 in Austin, Texas at the University of Texas.  There were about 500 recipients and donors at the banquet sponsored by the Texas Ex-Students' Association.  Since this was the first year for the Parrish Computer Science Scholarship, Megan and I were seated at the front of the ballroom in a choice table.  The President of the University of Texas made the introductory remarks. 
Megan is an exceptional person who has a double major in Plan II and Computer Science.  She spent the summer of 2001 studying in Spain.  She has won a number of other scholarships and honors:

David Yu

David Yu This is a photo (click to enlarge) of David Yu, which I took on September 5, 2002 in Austin, Texas at the University of Texas after the the wonderful banquet for 500 recipients and donors sponsored by the Texas Ex-Students' Association. As usual, the President of UT made introductory remarks. I had the opportunity to converse with former National Security Agency Director Bobby Inman, who is a fellow scholarship donor.
David, or to use his formal name, Yongshin participated in the International Baccalaureate program in High School and was admitted to the Computer Science Department's newly created and accelerated program for exceptional freshmen. Check out his blog. He has won a number of scholarships and honors:

Shan Wang

Shan Wang This photo of Shan Wang, was taken after the scholarship banquet of the Texas Ex-Students' Association on September 4, 2003. Shan was accepted and courted by a number of prestigious universities like MIT and Berkeley, but fortunately selected the University of Texas where she has already worked one summer as an intern in the Computer Science department. Shan was born in China and came to the U.S. when she was seven. She is fluent in Chinese and French.

Shan, in addition to her academic achievements, has played the piano for 12 years winning some awards. She was the Treasurer of her class council in high school and was active in journalism. Now she has taken up sailing. She has won a number of scholarships and honors:

Postscript dated May 20, 2006 announced by the Computer Science department: Senior Shan Wang was honored as the College of Natural Science's sole student commencement speaker, as chosen by a special faculty committee. Shan will be continue her studies in the fall at Stanford's PhD program in Computer Science.

Jason Petersen

Don Parrish and Jason Petersen

This photo of Jason Petersen, was taken with Don Parrish at the scholarship banquet of the Texas Ex-Students' Association on September 2, 2004 in Austin, Texas.

Jason was accepted by Rice University and the University of Tulsa, but fortunately selected the University of Texas where he has already started working as a Java and C++ developer at ARL, UT's Space and Geophysics Laboratories.

At Temple High School, Jason participated in the International Baccalaureate program. Jason is also a semi-professional musician and has won awards in both piano and violin. He was captain of his Quiz Bowl team. Jason has competed successfully at the state level in piano, violin, German, mathematics and computer science. He took the initiative to help establish a computer science program at his high school. He has won a number of scholarships and honors:

Brandon Bolling

Brandon Bolling

This is a photo (click to enlarge) of Brandon Bolling, which I took on September 8, 2005 at the University of Texas after the delightful banquet for 450 scholarship recipients and donors sponsored by the Texas Ex-Students' Association.

Brandon was born in Texas, but moved to Colorado when he was 11 years old in order to attend better schools. In addition to graduating in the top 1% of his class in high school, Brandon has exceptional SAT scores: 770 in English and a perfect 800 in Math. He obtained 70 hours via advanced placement tests achieving the top score in almost all of them.

Brandon was also accepted by Rice University and the Colorado School of Mines. However, his explorative visit to UT was an eye-opener as he explained: "At the meeting, I was extremely impressed by all that the Turing Scholars, the computer science department, and UT in general had to offer." After cross checking UT advantages with the other schools, he decided on UT which he reports is ranked 7th nationally in computer science. Brandon has won a number of scholarships and honors:

Thomas Jack

Thomas Jack This photo of Thomas Jack, was taken after the Texas Ex-Students scholarship banquet on September 7, 2006. Tom chose UT over Rice and Georgetown "mainly in order to study in the Turing scholars computer science honors program. I am very excited to begin CS research in the area of biologically inspired computing. Neuroevolution particularly interests me, and I hope to participate in research with UT's neural networks research group."
Tom is a native of San Antonio where he attended the James Madison high school and graduated Summa Cum Laude (top 3 in class of 698). He was also named "student of the year" in computer science. Tom was active in the National Junior Classical League and he mastered the Latin language. In 2005, he won first place in the Computer Science UIL in his district and second place in his region. Tom has won a number of scholarships and honors:

Chris Renard

Chris Renard

This is a photo of Christopher Renard taken on September 6, 2007 at the University of Texas before the banquet for 450 scholarship recipients and donors sponsored by the Texas Ex-Students' Association. After the banquet, Chris was photographed with William C. Powers, Jr., President of the University of Texas.

Chris was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Both his parents are physicians. His mother stayed home so she could home school Chris and his two brothers. Chris graduated from the prestigious School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, ranked #1 in the nation by Newsweek again in 2007. He has exceptional SAT scores: 780 in English and 790 in Math.

During the summers of 2006 and 2007, Chris worked full time at the UT Southwestern Medical School on eTBlast, a full-text similarity search for medical journal articles, grants, etc. Chris' successful participation in the UIL CS Competitions brought him to UT during both his junior and senior years where he had the opportunity to discuss the Turing Program with its head, Dr. Lin.

Chris has won a number of awards and honors:

Emily Russell


Emily Russell was photographed on September 4, 2008 in Austin after the banquet for 450 scholarship recipients and donors sponsored by the Texas Ex-Students' Association.

Emily has perfect SAT scores: 800 in English and 800 in Math.

Emily was raised in Georgetown, Texas with her two younger brothers. She has been interested in math since middle school, and became enamored with computer science after her first course as a sophomore. She will be entering UT majoring in both Mathematics and Computer Science.

Emily was very active in clubs and organizations at Georgetown High School. She was the President or co-President of the Book Club, the Spanish Club, and the National Honor Society. She won many awards in math or computer science at the district or state level. Emily managed to find time for the marching band & symphony orchestra, and she won awards in piano. During her summers, Emily helped students as a lead counselor at Math Rocks! math camps. Emily was a finalist for Homecoming Queen her senior year, and graduated near the top of her class.

Emily has won a number of awards and honors:

Zach Pringnitz

Zach Pringnitz

This is a photo I took of Zach Pringnitz, in front of the Texas Ex-Students Association on October 20, 2009. Click it for surprise enlargement.

Zach was born was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up in Katy, Texas (near Houston). His brother is currently attending Texas A&M University as a senior in Mechanical Engineering. His father has a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and is a Department Manager at Schlumberger. His mother who has a BS in Education is currently a homemaker.

Zach is a generalist with wide-ranging interests and accomplishments. In high school, he received academic awards in French, Latin, Physics, Math, and History. Zach was recognized at the national level in Who's Who of American High School Students. There were also awards in Citizenship, National Honor Society Summer Service Award, Rachel's Challenge, CATS award for volunteering, etc. As VP of Mu Alpha Theta, the Math Honor Society, he organized a school-wide weekly math tutoring program. He was the President of Dance Club, which with over 100 members is one of the largest clubs in the high school. Zach was the Secretary of the Senior Class.

Zach was a member of the Freshman Football team and the Ultimate Frisbee team. He volunteered 3 summers on construction projects in Houston and Mexico for the disadvantaged. Zach managed to find time to work as a Mathnasium math tutor, house & pet sitter, and a rock-climbing fitness instructor.

At the University of Texas, Zach will double major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. He has a strong interest in how these fields can be applied to medicine "to make an impact on our future".

Zach has won a number of scholarships and honors:


Andrew Wiley

Andrew Wiley

I congratulated Andrew Wiley on September 2, 2010 for becoming the 10th winner of the Parrish CS Scholarship and took this photo of him as well as one with UT President William Powers.

Andrew is a generalist with wide-ranging interests and accomplishments.
He has exceptional SAT scores: 800 in Math, 770 in Writing and 740 in Reading.

Andrew was raised in Texas, and became interested in computer science in junior high school. Both his parents work in the chemical engineering industry. His two brothers and sister are also following in the scientific and technological tradition of his family. Andrew is a dual major in CS and EE, and so is his elder brother.

In high school, Andrew was in the marching band and top concert band for 4 years, serving as the front ensemble lieutenant his senior year. His high school band was selected as the Texas TMEA 4A State Honor Band.

Andrew volunteered as the Friendswood high school computer science lab manager for 3 years. Andrew was a member of the National Honor Society and the German National Honor Society. He won numerous German language awards on the regional level and was in the top 10 competitors in 2 events at the state level. He was a leader of the German classical music ensemble that won 2nd place in Texas.

Andrew has been active in a variety of community and church projects including voluteering for an immigration shelter for minors near the Texas border and cleaning up damage from Hurricane Ike.

Andrew has won a number of awards and honors:

Reid McKenzie

Reid McKenzie

I took this photo of Reid McKenzie on September 1, 2011 in Austin after the Scholarship Banquet. He and I were also photographed together.

Reid’s mother home schooled him and his 3 younger sisters. This experience helped Reid become an exceptional reader as demonstrated by his near perfect 790 SAT score in reading.

Reid became interested in computers and computer science after he read all about the work done toward producing artificial intelligence. Then he continued reading and determined that the path to AI’s future resided in interesting mathematical and practical challenges, like classifiers and parallel algorithm design.

During his period of home schooling, his family spent 3 years in England, but they returned in time for him to enter the 9th grade at the highly ranked Union County Magnet High School for Math, Science and Technology in New Jersey where he was an honor roll student. As a junior, he was the only student in his high school selected to be one of the 75 NJ students for the Governor’s School of Engineering and Technology, a month-long, intensive summer program.

During high school, Reid was active in various personal research projects including resurrecting 30 computers from local recycling centers, building pneumatic cannons for ballistic analysis, experimenting with coil gun design, designing and implementing a multi-robot swarm, etc. His and his teammate came in 2nd in the model bridge building competition. Reid was the lead programmer and acting President for the Robotics Club in high school. Reid developed an automated unit test library for TechGuard Security’s flagship PoliWall Denial of Service product during a summer internship.

Reid has been a competitive swimmer since he was 7 years old. He is a Red Cross certified life guard. In 2009, he was appointed Boys B Team Captain at the Summit, NJ YMCA and was responsible for 45 boys from 6 to 18.

Some of Reid's notable achievements include:

Jarran Pedersen

Jarran Pedersen

I took this photo of Jarran Pedersen on September 6, 2012 in Austin after the Scholarship Banquet for 450 scholarship recipients and donors sponsored by the Texas Ex-Students' Association.

Jarran was born in Florida and then raised in New York since he was 7 years old. He was accepted by a number of universities, but was most impressed by the Turing program at UT.

Jarran's initial interest in Computer Science was sparked when he wondered how video games worked. Later he figured out how to design games on his own. He has fairly broad interests in Computer Science including artificial intelligence and network security. He is passionate about programming.

In high school, in addition to his many academic achievements, Jarran played trombone for the Symphonic Pep and Jazz bands. During the summer of his junior year, he went to France with a Volunteers for Peace group. There with a multicultural team, he built a bridge for children to cross into a playground.

Jarran also designed and built a robot as part of the Science Olympiad. With it he won 5th place at the state level in New York in the Robo Cross Competition. (A YouTube video from California gives an idea of what a competition entails.)

In addition to graduating from high school with an Advanced Regents Diploma, Jarran received 18 college credits at CTEC in the New Vision Engineering Program.

Jarran has outstanding SAT scores: 790 in Math and 720 in Reading.

Some of Jarran's notable achievements include:

Robert Perce

Robert Perce

I took this photo of Robert Perce in Austin on September 5, 2013 after the Scholarship Banquet for 400 scholarship recipients and donors sponsored by the Texas Ex-Students' Association.

Robert was born in Maryland. He, his younger brother and parents have lived in several places in the United States as well as overseas. His father is a colonel in the US Air Force.

Robert spent his first year of high school at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Japan where he learned a bit of Japanese. He spent the last 3 at the Sandra Day O'Connor High School in suburban San Antonio, Texas. He graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA ranking 13th in a class of 671.

During high school, Robert participated in various extra curricular activities including katate, figure skating, juggling and ballroom dancing. He can juggle up to 4 balls and has mastered various techniques like Mills Mess.

Robert has been active in music since he started piano lessons at age 5. In the 7th grade he added the alto saxophone and in 8th grade the basson. Robert has won numerous awards with each of these three instruments, and he has been employed in various jobs on the piano. In the 11th grade, he mastered yet another instrument, the mellophone, and was the section leader in the O'Connor High School marching band.

In his junior year, Robert won the regional Science Bowl and advanced to the National Science Bowl held in Washington, D.C. In his senior year, he was the Captain of the O'Connor Math and Science team.

Robert enjoys the intersection of computer science and mathematics. In his spare time, he solves problems at Project Euler, a mathematical coding problems site. In 2013, he was at level 3.

Robert has outstanding SAT scores: 770 in Math, 750 in Reading, and 690 in Writing.

Some of Roberts's notable achievements include:

Samantha Miller

Samantha Miller

I took this photo of Samatha Miller in Austin on September 3, 2014 outside of the Alumni Center before the Scholarship Banquet sponsored by the Texas Ex-Students' Association.

Samantha Miller was born and raised in Austin. Both her parents have graduate degrees in Chemistry and her older sister is studying for a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering at UT.

In high school, Samantha participated in choir and sang in her school's performance of Les Miserables. She was elected Secretary of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, and was a general officer of the Key Club. She tutored peers in Math, Chemistry and Physics. Samantha was a presenter in two Austin Energy Regional Science Fairs advancing to regional. Samantha volunteered in several organizations including the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Samantha took advantage of educational opportunities. She took 8 courses at the Austin Community College with a 4.0 GPA. She attended in a number of programs at UT for high school students such as the Honors Colloquium, Women in Engineering Program, the Sonia Kovalevsky Math Day and visits to the CS department.

She first developed an interest in computer science after attending the First Bytes Summer Camp at the University of Texas. She is interested in many parts of Computer Science, including artificial intelligence and theory. Computer Science's fundamental appeal for Samantha is its mixture of creativity and logic.

The summer before entering college, Samantha attended Google's Computer Science Summer Institute in Seattle. There she learned about website programming and built an online game.

Samantha has exceptional SAT scores: 790 in Math, 760 in Critical Reading, and 800 in English.

Some of Samantha's notable achievements include:

Joanna Bridgwater

Joanna Bridgwater

I took this photo of Joanna Bridgwater before the Named Scholarship Banquet sponsored by the Texas Ex Students Association in Austin on September 9, 2015.

Joanna was born in Scotland to a Welsh mother and an English father. She moved to Toulouse, France at age 5 where she lived for 11 years.

At high school in France, she she studied at the Lycee International Victor Hugo in Colomiers and skied in her free time. She moved again to Austin before her junior year of high school where she studied for an International Baccalaureate diploma while practicing Kung Fu as a hobby. Joanna excelled in her IB exams, scoring 7 (out of 7 possible) in computer science, mathematics, Spanish, and physics.

She first became interested in computer science in middle school when she learned programming as a way of solving cryptography puzzles more efficiently. Since then her interest has evolved alongside her appreciation of mathematics and she is now most interested in discrete math and information security.

In high school, Joanna founded a Girls Who Code club, in which instructors who are experts teach girls the fundamentals of programming. She received the National Center for Women and Information Technology Austin Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing twice, and was a runner-up for the national award.

In high school, Joanna was involved in several computer projects. One was a Hackathon Project for a Google Glass application to translate spoken words in any language and display an English translation on screen. She had an independent study project to design a programming language and a class project for a Social Network Database which implemented AES encryption on files in the database.

Joanna is also interested in natural languages, being bilingual French/English and having studied Spanish for 10 years and Japanese for almost 3. At UT she will continue her study of the humanities in the Jefferson Scholars Program, alongside her projected double major in mathematics and computer science.

Some of Joanna's notable achievements include:

Jake Crabtree


A candid shot of Jake working in Perry's high school computer lab during Hack Day.

Jake was born in Chandler, Arizona. He grew up there with his parents, Michael & Susan and younger brother Evan. The family pet is a dog named Molly.

At Perry High School, Jake was part of the inaugural class of STEM scholars. This is an academic program that uses both rigorous, STEM-based coursework and summer experiences such as job shadowing at IBM, Arizona State University's (ASU) Game Design Camp, etc. Jake won the best Game Design Award in 2014 at ASU's Game Design Camp. Jake excelled in high school was was the class valedictorian. He has outstanding SAT and ACT scores.

Jake was the Treasurer of the Computer Programmers United Club and Co-Founder of the Perry High School Hackathon. The theme for the Hackathon was was Cool for School and they made a tower defense game in Unity in which the students had to stop secret agents from taking over the school.

During the summer of 2015, Jake gained experience at Mobile Mini Inc as an IT intern. He entered and researched employee and branch data. He set up, assessed and fixed various types of computer problems.

In the summer of 2016, Jake gained professional experience as a systems intern at State Farm. He was part of a team that developed a project using an open source dashboard, Hygieia, to monitor the health and metrics of internal software projects. His team won the State Farm Hack Day Fan Favorite for an anti-phishing app cleverly named Go Phish. It raised awareness of security risks using a gamified approach. Here is a 2-minute video explaining Hack Day.

In addition to the Parrish Computer Science Scholarship, Jake won UT's College of Natural Sciences Scholarship awarded to an outstanding freshman in the College of Naural Sciences. He won the Kiwanis Chandler Scholarship awarded to a high school senior with outstanding leadership with Key Club and service within their community.

Jake's interests in Computer Science are in AI and Virtual Reality with a focus on game design. He plans to get the CS Game Development certificate.

Some of Jakes's notable achievements include:

Robert San Soucie


An informal photo of Robert taken in front the Texas Capitol as he shows some UT pride.

Robert was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where he lived with his parents, Rick and Nancy, and his 4 siblings, Michael, David, John, and Carolyn.

Robert attended J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas, where he graduated as valedictorian of his class of 493. His speech to his fellow seniors can be seen on this YouTube video.

In high school, he discovered his passion for programming after taking AP Computer Science as a freshman. He went on to become treasurer and subsequently president of his school’s computer science club, participating in numerous competitions, including UIL Computer Science and HP CodeWars.

During his senior year, Robert interned at Bottle Rocket, a mobile development company in Addison, Texas.

Robert attended summer camps at the University of Texas at Dallas. In 2015, he attended Cyber Security Camp where he became experienced with multiple areas of computer security. In 2016, he attended Computer Science and Programming Summer Camps where he took months of additional coursework in C++, Python, Data Structures and Algorithms, and Android App Development.

Robert’s interests in computer science are in web and app development, computer security, and cryptography.

During high school, Robert was involved in various extracurricular activities, including as captain of the mock trial team, saxophone section leader in the band, and vice president of the political engagement club. Furthermore, he was a member of the pre-med club, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, and as a senior volunteer in a senior-freshman mentorship program called Starting off Strong where he mentored a class of 25 incoming freshmen.

At UT, Robert will major in Plan II in addition to being a Turing Scholar.

Some of Robert's notable achievements include:

Santiago Cortes

Santiago Cortes

An informal photo of Santiago when he visited Google HQ in Mountain View, CA.

Santiago was born in Bogatá, Colombia, where he lived with his parents, and his younger sister, Gabriela. His family moved to the United States in 2010, and since then they have lived in the Katy, Texas area.

Santiago attended James E. Taylor High School in Katy, Texas, where he graduated in the top 1% of his class, ranking 5th of 721 seniors.

In high school, Sanitago was the co-founder of the Investor's Club and well as an active member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Model United Nations. He participated in debate during his freshman year, until he joined hs schools's UIL Computer Science Club, and eventually became its president. Santiago and his team participated in a variety of competitions, resulting in several local victories across UIL Computer Science events.

The club also engaged in launching a weather ballon which reached a height of 10,700 feet (over 3,000 meters) and traveled for over 100 miles (over 160 kilometers). For more details, click here.

Santiago has worked on a variety of projects throughout the years, such as an online multiplayer tournament creator for two player games, the website and data rendering of weather balloon project, and a quizbowl-style websocket based buzzer app to replace mechanical handheld systems during practices.

His interests lie in both front end and back end development, as well as machine learning and AI. Aside from the fundamentals of computerscience and data structures, Santiago is largely self-taught in his knowledge of full stackdevelopment. Most of his projects are open source and can be found on his GitHub page.

Santiago has also put in extensive hours in helping organize and run his school's annual UIL Computer Science tournament, as well as judging junior high debaters. Last November, he participated as a volunteer dancer/actor for a charity stage production held to raise money for the Rutledge Foundation.

Some of Santiago's notable achievements include:
  • Ranked in top 1% in High School
  • Outstanding SAT Scores of 800 in Math and 770 in EBRW
  • National Merit Finalist
  • National AP Scholar
  • Qualified for the FBLA National Conference in Website Design
  • Admission to the Turing Scholars Honors Program at UT

Hannah Hughes

Hannah Hughes

Hannah was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, where she lived with her parents, Shawn and Xochitl, and her 2 younger siblings, Patrick and Daniel. The family pets are a cat named Remy and a dog named Louie.

Hannah attended the Engineering and Technology Academy at Roosevelt High School, where she graduated in the top 2% of her class, 11th of 641 seniors.

In high school, Hannah was the president of her school’s CyberPatriot and Robotics clubs, and participated in National Honor Society.

In CyberPatriot, she worked with her team to compete in an online cybersecurity competition against thousands of other students. She specialized in Linux, creating scripts with Bash and Python to secure basic system settings automatically. In Robotics, she took part in FIRST’s First Tech Challenge program, where she led as her team’s captain. Hannah and her team programmed the robot to run in both autonomous and driver-controlled modes.

In the summer of 2018, Hannah interned at H-E-B and took part in the MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community (MOSTEC). At H-E-B, she worked as an application development intern to adapt desktop applications to mobile applications for employee use. In the MOSTEC program, she learned about electrical engineering and programming with a Raspberry Pi.

Her interests in computer science are in cybersecurity, machine learning, and web and app development.

Some of Hannah’s notable achievements include:

Joanne Chen


Joanne Chen was born in Dallas, Texas, and, despite having lived in St Louis, Missouri for her middle school years, wound up returning to Dallas for her high school years. Throughout her life, she has lived with her parents, John and Yu-Chuan, and her older sister, Lyann.

Joanne attended Independence High School in Frisco, Texas, where she undertook several Advanced Placement and Project Lead the Way (engineering) courses. While studying, she also worked as a tutor and grader at Code Ninjas and Best Brains to help foster an early interest in STEM for children.

Joanne graduated as the valedictorian out of a class of 469 students. Her speech can be found in her school’s recorded graduation ceremony. (Watch from minute 53 thru 59 for Joanne's intro, her speech, the Principal & her graduation.)

In freshman year of high school, Joanne took her first computer science course, falling in love with the methodical nature of algorithms and data structures. This prompted her to participate in a multitude of competitions, including UIL Computer Science and HP Code Wars.

In one specific competition, Girls Go Cyberstart, Joanne was introduced to cybersecurity, where she utilized digital forensics and Python scripts to investigate suspicious activity on a system. She and her team won first place in Texas, which helped provide her the opportunity to attend the Women in Cybersecurity Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This widened her perspective to different opportunities related to computer science, such as computer networking and security, in which she obtained the Microsoft Technology Associate certification in Networking Fundamentals and Security Fundamentals.

After developing a foundation in the logical side of computer science, Joanne’s enthusiasm for computer science evolved into appreciating its creativity and applicability. She has started to work on more projects, some of which include using C++ to code a light show at the University of Texas at Austin’s First Bytes Summer Camp and integrating a translation API with a chrome extension at Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI: Online)

Joanne’s passion for computer science lies in the fact that it is a constantly emerging field with a plethora of subsets to explore. Specifically, she is interested in cybersecurity, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. However, computer science is always evolving, so she looks forward to exploring all the different aspects and integrations of computer science.

Some of Joanne’s notable achievements include:

Emily Thompson


Emily Thompson was born in Austin, Texas, where she has lived for most of her life with her parents, Tommy and Amanda, and her younger sister Frances.

Emily attended the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, and graduated in the top 7% of her class. She took a variety of AP classes while at LASA, earning the distinction of National AP Scholar, as well as being a National Merit Finalist and a National Hispanic Recognition Program winner.

While at LASA, Emily participated in several UIL competitions. She qualified for state every year she competed in the UIL Academics Literary Criticism competition, with a highest state finish of 8th in 2021. She was a two-time state qualifier in UIL Cross Country, and in 2021 qualified for the UIL Track and Field Region 3 competition in the 800. Not only did she compete, but she was also a captain of the UIL Academics program and the cross country and track teams at her high school, as well as being on the All-State Academic First Team for Track and Field.

Emily also competed in Cyberpatriot while in high school, focusing on the Windows Server image and qualifying for gold semifinals. The summer before her sophomore year, she extended what she had learned from participating in Cyberpatriot to a cybersecurity internship at American Innovations, a company in Austin. The summer before her senior year, she participated in the virtual University of Texas Computer Science Academy, where she learned more about pursuing a computer science education at a higher level. She also had the opportunity to take a variety of computer science classes throughout high school, including an independent study class where she spent the year studying data science.

In addition to the Parrish Computer Science Scholarship, Emily was also awarded a College of Natural Sciences Freshman Scholarship, and the Tucker Long Honorary Scholarship. She also distinguished herself as a National Hispanic Scholar and was awarded funds by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Emily’s interests in computer science currently lie in the fields of data science and machine learning, however, she looks forward to exploring all the options available to her at UT, as well as pursuing a double major and exploring computer science’s interdisciplinary opportunities.

Some of Emily’s notable achievements include:
  • National Merit Finalist
  • National AP Scholar
  • National Hispanic Scholar
  • Scored a 5 on 12 AP exams
  • SAT score of 1570 (790 in Math and 780 in EBRW)
  • Admission to the Turing Scholars Honors Program at UT

Joyce Lai


An informal picture of Joyce Lai taken by her peers in front of the famous clocktower during her orientation shows her excitement and pride for UT.

Joyce was raised in San Antonio, Texas where she graduated in the top 1% of her class from Louis D. Brandeis High School. She took almost every single available AP course offered, earning her the AP Scholar with Distinction Award. She was able to maintain her academic life while also balancing her schedule as a varsity swimmer, representing her school every year at a regional level, specializing in Individual Medley & breaststroke.

During her high school years, Joyce was extremely proactive in advancing her own interests and career. By working several part-time jobs and self-studying the official textbooks released by Cisco, she earned herself the CCNA (Cisco Certified Networking Associate) by the middle of her sophomore year.

Joyce continued to explore and push the boundaries of what hands-on cybersecurity experiences she could find as a high school student. Although her high school did not allow her to join the school’s ROTC CyberPatriot nor start a civilian division. She was able to find her own internships and mentorship opportunities such as a summer internship working with NASA to mitigate the grocery shortage caused by COVID-19.

She worked with UTSA Professor Rajendra Boppana in his network lab in order to explore the applications of artificial intelligence in network security. Her port of flowtbag into Python allowed the team to easily use necessary modules and increased the efficiency of the lab.

Her father was a great inspiration for her. Although he passed away during her junior year, Joyce continued to work hard in order to get into a top institution to continue her education. She was awarded as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist as well as scoring a 1590 on her SAT and 36 on her ACT.

Joyce’s passion for computer science has been and continues to be in cybersecurity. However, as computer science is an every-changing and far reaching field, she does does not want to limit her opportunities and will continue exploring them at UT in the fall of 2022.

Some of Joyce’s notable achievements include:

Annie Li


A photo of Annie Li taken in 2023.

Annie Li was born in Hillsdale, New Jersey, where she has lived all her life. She attended local magnet school, Bergen County Academies (BCA), "majoring" in the Academy of Computer Science and Technology (ATCS). She took a variety of AP classes, resulting in her receiving the National AP Scholar with Distinction Award.

While in high school, Annie took an assortment of technological classes such as APCSA, Assembly, Computer Security, C Programming, Machine Learning, SQL, Webdev, and Artificial Intelligence. She was the head organizer in her school's Computer Science Camp to introduce pre-freshmen to ATCS at BCA and Computer Science Olympics. Annie was also a part of the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. While studying, she taught Python since her sophomore year.

Annie has worked on many collaborative programming projects throughout the years, most of which are viewable on her GitHub page. The largest project was a year-long project made for a cosmetic company. Her team made a cosmetic formulation software for internal use by employees primarily used for inventory management and formula creation.

Outside of programming, Annie was the co-founder of the New York Area Model United Nations organization and was an active member of her school's Varsity Debate and Model UN Team, winning awards such as Best Delegate at Yale Model UN XLIX. She also interned at New Jersey Senator Cory Booker's office in her senior year at BCA as well as participating in Jersey Girls State in the summer of her junior year.

Annie's interests in computer science primarily lie in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. She is also extremely interested in computer science's interdisciplinary nature and hopes to find a way to combine computer science and government. She looks forward to exploring the opportunities UT gives to find the right combination.

Some of Annie’s notable achievements include: