Carnegie Mellon University

Gelfand Award - Past Recipients

2023 Award Recipients


Mark Stehlik
Teaching Professor, Director of the CS Undergraduate Program, Assistant Dean for Outreach
School of Computer Science


David Kosbie
Teaching Professor, Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science


Kosbie and Mark Stehlik were admitted to CMUs Computer Science Ph.D. program about 10 years apart but have been joined at the hip since 2007 when David was hired as visiting assistant teaching professor and joined Mark to teach intro computer science courses at CMU. David had worked at Apple and Microsoft and was teaching at Mt. Lebanon High School at the time while looking to come back to the college environment. Mark was serving as assistant dean for undergraduate education in the School of Computer Science, teaching intro CS courses and running the CS undergraduate program (he will graduate his 3,500th alum this May). 

Initially teaching programming and computer science in Java and moving to Python in 2010, David and Mark taught thousands of students in 15-112 and its predecessors. Both won the School of Computer Science Herbert A. Simon Award for Teaching Excellence. But their dream was always to go beyond CMU and reach millions and their vision was to create an entirely free, universally accessible, online, interactive, and engaging high school computer science curriculum. Five years ago they launched CMU CS Academy—a free novel, graphics-based online computer science curriculum in Python—to a pilot group of 400 students at 14 mostly local high schools (the notable exceptions were Johnstown High School and the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda through a connection with one of Marks advisees).

The flagship CS1 course is a Python-based year-long introduction to programming course whose only recommended prerequisite is algebra readiness. The course has a strong focus on creativity and problem-solving utilizing novel tools such as a visual graphics inspector and an auto-grader for all assignments to create a strongly motivating learning environment. In addition to the curriculum framework, CMU CS Academy offers free teacher training, an online interactive textbook, and online technical support from a team of undergraduate students, available 24/7. The undergraduate student team also has authored content (since they are only a few years away from high school) and made remarkable contributions across the entire project. Since 2018, the curriculum has grown to five courses:

  • Intro to Programming in Python - The first and flagship course pitched to algebra-ready
  • Exploring Programming - a subset of the above Intro to Programming course designed
    after-school or mentorship activities
  • Python Programming drop-in modules to's AP Computer Science Principles
  • Interdisciplinary Programming - 6-week modules dealing with computation applied to art, music, object-oriented programming, data visualization, science, AI and game development
  • College Programming and Computer Science - a high school analog to 15-112

As highlighted in this articlethe program recently surpassed 250,000 student users and just launched the opportunity to earn academic credit by examination for students in the College Programming and CS course (piloting this year to ~300 students). Students, teachers and school districts pay nothing for the courses, materials, resources or professional development offerings in an effort to bridge equity divides and maximize access to high-quality computer science education. In addition, approximately 50% of the schools using the curriculum are Title 1 schools, which means they enroll high numbers of students from low-income families students who might not receive computer science experience without this curriculum. It also helps increase teacher efficacy as we provide teachers access to not only the entire curriculum but also the aforementioned 24/7 student-staffed support line. The platform even has a toggle-able Spanish language translation of the flagship course (down to even the compiler messages!) that is currently being used by almost 1,000 students, and is poised for exponential growth in Central and South America.

Past Recipients



Judy Hallinen
Vice Provost for Education


2019 Gelfand Award Recipient Randy Weinberg

Randy Weinberg
Information Systems


2018 Gelfand Award Recipient Rosemary Frollini

Rosemary Frollini
Software and Societal Systems Department


2017 Gelfand Award Recipient Catalina Achim

Catalina Achim

George Kantor

Robotics Institute

Carol Frieze
Women@SCS and SCS4ALL

Jim Daniels
Department of English


Natalie L. Ozeas
School of Music

Joseph Mertz
Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and Department of Information Systems

Carrie Doonan
Department of Biological Sciences

Kenya C. Dworkin
Department of Modern Languages

Linda Flower
Department of English

Leonard Kisslinger

Department of Physics