Turing Scholars Honors Program furthers legacy, exceeds fundraising goal

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Seeking supportive funding, the Turing Scholars Program has raised $27,502 for the Calvin Lin Turing Scholars Endowment on the last day of their fundraiser Friday, surpassing their $25,000 goal.

The endowment was created in honor of Calvin Lin, founder and director of the Turing Scholars program, an honors program based in UT’s computer science department. All money was raised through HornRaisers, UT’s official crowdfunding website.

“Our goal, from the beginning, is to create the very best CS program in the country,” Lin said. “If we look to the future, we want to keep adding to the program.”

In contrast to other honors programs at UT, the Turing Scholars Program lacks funding for student activities and staff support, according to the HornRaiser page. In addition to covering these areas, all proceeds from the endowment will be used to improve classes and fund recruitment programs for high school students.

Each year, the top 4.5 percent of the computer science class is admitted into the Turing Scholars Program.

Computer science senior Arnav Sastry, a Turing Scholar Honors student, said the small class sizes have broadened his learning experience.

“I think, because we’re smaller, we’re able to go a lot faster, and I’ve been able to cover topics and find areas of interest that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” Sastry said.

In addition to class size, the Turing Program touts close interactions with staff and honors housing in combination with the resources afforded to all students in attendance at a large research university.

“We really grow together through all these classes we have to take together and all the different projects we work on together,” said Ariel Szekely, Turing Scholar Honors student and computer science junior.

Program graduates are recruited by and work for some of the top technology firms in the world, including Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft, according to their fundraising website.

“Academically, we challenge them so they can try to discover their limits, and hopefully by the time they’re done there are very few limits as to what they can do,” Lin said.

Lin has dedicated over 15 years to growing the Turing Scholars Program. Szekely said Lin’s unceasing efforts are at the core of the program’s success.

“Dr. Lin is an incredible professor, we’re really lucky to have him as director of the Turing Program,” Szekely said. “I think that’s shown by the effort he puts into creating this program and making it so special.”