Jack Heller Award Given to Student Carrie Cao


At the end of the spring semester, Carrie Cao, a sophomore with junior standing in the Department Computer Science, received the Jack Heller Award in recognition of her excellent academic record.

Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science Arie Kaufman, and Prof. Michael Bender selected Cao to receive the award and its $500 scholarship that was created in honor of a former Chair of the department.

Cao said she chose to study computer science although she struggled academically throughout middle and high school because she was always good at math. “When I was a kid, I always thought that I would grew up to be a mathematician,” she said. ‘I have always liked math and I am quite good at it. It just seemed like the right path.”  

“In my senior year of high school, one of my math teachers recommended that I sign up for AP Computer Science. That was actually the first time a CS class was offered in our high school ever, and also the first time I have ever heard of the words “computer science”. I took his advice and that’s how I got introduced to computer science. I ended up really enjoying that class,” Cao added.

As an Applied Math and Statistics major, Cao said her goals are to pass all four actuarial exams before she graduates and get an internship in computer science. “This award will be the encouragement and motivation I need as I continue my education,” she said. “And I'm really thankful for the $500 scholarship.”

Jack Heller, now a Professor Emeritus, is one of the most beloved former Chairs of the Department of Computer Science. Dr. Heller received his PhD from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and his research interests include database systems, automation, and visualization.