Madelyn Gatchel receives 2024 CSE HACKS Spirit Award

The award recognizes Madelyn’s exceptional leadership, service, and embodiment of CSE’s values.
Michael Wellman and Madelyn Gatchel stand side by side, smiling at the camera. They are both holding a blue certificate.
CSE Chair Michael Wellman (left) presents Madelyn Gatchel with the HACKS Spirit Award

PhD candidate Madelyn Gatchel has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the CSE HACKS Spirit Award. Established in 2023, the award recognizes CSE graduate students who exemplify the Division’s values of honesty, achievement, cooperation, knowledge, and service (HACKS).

Michael Wellman, the Richard H. Orenstein Division Chair of Computer Science and Engineering and Madelyn’s advisor, presented the award at the CSE Graduate Student Recognition Reception on Monday, April 29.

“Madelyn holds herself to a high standard of integrity, is the ultimate team player, and is a service all-star in CSE,” said Wellman. “She cares about the CSE community and truly exhibits HACKS spirit.”

Madelyn has made numerous contributions to CSE during her time as a graduate student. She has served as a student representative on the CSE Admissions Committee since she came to U-M in 2021. In this role, she has played an integral role in PhD admissions and recruitment, including advocating for practices to refine the process and encouraging a person-first approach.

As part of the Admissions Committee, she has launched new initiatives to further enhance grad student recruitment, including the Statement of Purpose Feedback program, through which current students in CSE are able to advise and support prospective students during the application process. She has also supported the Graduate Programs Office in organizing its annual Prospective Student Visit, including coordinating volunteers, planning events, and ensuring that visiting students have a valuable experience at U-M. 

Madelyn’s involvement in the recruitment and admissions process showcases her passion for supporting students, which is further reflected in her other service roles across CSE. She helped launch the AI Tea event series, a monthly social involving students and faculty in the AI Lab. She also served as a student representative on the CSE Chair Search Committee, providing insightful and valuable feedback to the Interim Dean on the various candidates.   

In addition to her efforts in fostering a supportive and collaborative environment for grad students in CSE, Madelyn has excelled academically and has already achieved a record of impactful research. Lying at the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and game theory, her work focuses on the development of new techniques for learning and analyzing simulation-based games. Her research on this topic has resulted in a first-authored paper at a top conference.

Recently, after speaking on a panel on AI use organized by the Provost’s Office, Madelyn was invited to join the U-M delegation for the U7+ Alliance, a coalition of universities in G7 countries and beyond, at the NEXT Milan Forum in Italy, where she met with representatives from institutions across the world to discuss topics related to human-centered AI and more.

“Madelyn has given so much of her time and effort to improving CSE on multiple fronts, significantly strengthening our community,” said Wellman. “I can think of no one who better exemplifies our values of honesty, achievement, cooperation, knowledge, and service.”