The ACM/Cutler Bell Prize in High School Computing is designed to recognize talented students intending to continue their higher education in the areas of computer science or technology. The program seeks to promote and encourage computer science and empower young and aspiring leaders to pursue computing challenges outside of the traditional classroom environment.

The Award

Up to four winners will be selected annually and will receive:

  • A $10,000 scholarship (administered through the financial aid department at the university the student will attend).

  • Complimentary registration to the virtual CSTA 2023 Annual Conference, a “VIP” swag box with their award, and a featured video spot on the main stage. 

  • Recognition on CSTA and ACM's websites.

Eligibility Requirements

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 that engages modern computing technology and computer science. Judges will look for submissions that demonstrate ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, originality, impact, and a desire to further computer science as a discipline.

Application & 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 program. In order to have a fair review process, all applicants are reviewed blindly by educators that must complete CSTA’s equity award training. The Cutler-Bell Application also asks additional questions around 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, a Google document of all application questions is available for review. We encourage students to make a copy to prepare your answers prior to submitting. 
The application includes:
  • Description of your project and development (three essays of 1000 words or less each)
  • Project source code and executable file
  • A short video showing and describing the project (2-5 minutes)
  • 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, impact, and the student's desire to further computer science as a discipline. 

Have questions? Check out this FAQ

Past CSTA/ACM Cutler-Bell Prize Winners

Okezue Bell
Nathan Elias
Hannah Guan
Sirihaasa Nallamothu
Harshal Bharatia
Yash Narayan
Shoumik Roychowdhury
Hiya Shah
Sahithi Ankireddy
Maurice Korish
Brian Minnick
Emily Yuan
Kevin Meng 
Lillian Kay Petersen
Axel S. Toro Vega
Zeyu Zhao
Raghav Ganeth, Honorable Mention

Read about the winners.

Naveen Durvasula
Isha Puri
Eshika Saxena
Varun Shenoy
Sreya Guha
Amir Helmy
Amy Jin
Benjamin Spector & Michael Truell
Elizabeth Hu
Avi Schwartz
Aaron Walter

Cheery Zou
Valerie Chen
Matthew Edwards
Karthik Rao
Zack Baker, Honorable Mention
Maya Varma, Honorable Mention  


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 Senior Technical Fellow at Microsoft. Dr. Bell is an electrical engineer and an early employee of Digital Equipment Corporation where he led the development of VAX. He is now a researcher emeritus at Microsoft Research.
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