The CSTA/ACM Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing was established to honor outstanding high school seniors who want to pursue advanced studies in computer science or technology. In addition to empowering young and ambitious students to explore computing challenges outside of a conventional classroom setting, this program aims to promote and encourage computer science.
The prize is made available through a $1 million endowment established by David Cutler and Gordon Bell. Dr. Cutler is a software engineer, designer, and developer of several operating systems, including Windows NT at Microsoft and RSX-11M, VMS, and VAXELN at Digital Equipment Corporation. He is a senior technical fellow at Microsoft. Dr. Bell is an electrical engineer and an early employee of Digital Equipment Corporation, where he led VAX development. He is now a researcher emeritus at Microsoft Research.
Applications will open in the fall.
- Late Fall: Application opens. Note: CSTA Awards Committee “Office Hour” sessions are available throughout the application period. Students and teachers welcome! Visit the CSTA Events calendar to learn more.
- Mid-Winter: Application closes; all applications are evaluated by reviewers.
- Spring: CSTA Awards Committee selects winners; all applicants are notified of their application status.
Up to four annual winners will receive:
- A $10,000 scholarship (administered through the financial aid department at the college or university the student will attend)
- Complimentary registration to the CSTA 2024 Annual Conference in Las Vegas; travel and lodging will be provided to the winner and one guardian for in-person conferences
- The opportunity to present your project at the CSTA 2024 Annual Conference and/or at one of CSTA’s virtual summits
- Recognition on CSTA and ACM’s websites
To apply for the Cutler-Bell Prize, you must be a graduating high school senior residing in and attending school in the U.S. Applicants are asked to submit an artifact comprising a video, written essay responses, and source code that demonstrates modern computing technology and computer science. Judges will be looking for submissions that are creative, advanced, relevant, unique, and show a passion for advancing computer science.
Application and Review
Students must develop an original computational artifact that engages modern computing technology and computer science. CSTA’s mission is to expand equity in CS Education, and this includes expanding equitable practices to our programs and awards. In order to have a fair review process, all applicants are reviewed by educators who must complete CSTA’s equity training. The Cutler-Bell Application also asks additional questions about prior awarding for projects and demographic information to ensure a fair process for all applicants.
See previous winners to learn about the types of projects selected. This year, to help better prepare students for the application process, a preview of the application is available for review. We encourage students to make a copy to prepare answers prior to submitting.
The application will require:
- A description of your project and development (three essays of <1,000 words each)
- Project source code and executable file
- A short video showing and describing the project (2-5 minutes)
- A signed consent form (17 and under, 18 and over)
A group of educators will review all submissions and judge the project’s ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, originality, and the student’s desire to further computer science as a discipline. A strong submission will also demonstrate a positive impact on the global community.