Brian Jiang CC’23 and Karen Copeland SEAS’23 Named Churchill Scholars

Brian Jiang CC’23 and Karen Copeland SEAS’23

Brian Jiang CC’23 and Karen Copeland SEAS’23 have been named 2023-24 Churchill Scholars, the first time that Columbia has seen two Scholars named in the same year. Brian and Karen are among 18 Churchill Scholars who were selected: 16 Scholars were selected in science, math and engineering fields; two Kanders Churchill Scholars were selected in science policy for the 2023-2024 academic year. Established in 1963 at the request of Sir Winston Churchill, the Churchill Scholarship was inspired by Churchill’s vision for a US-UK partnership that would support the advancement of science and technology in both countries. The Churchill Scholarship provides funding for one year of postgraduate study at Churchill College, Cambridge.

Brian, who is from New Jersey, is double majoring in physics and computer science-mathematics. His diverse research interests are centered around understanding fundamental physics, modelling complex and chaotic phenomena, and exploring the large-scale evolution of our universe. Currently, he is engaged in theoretical astrophysics research on the evolution of galaxies and the behavior of high-energy astrophysical plasmas; additionally, Brian is working on his senior thesis in computational particle physics, specifically regarding lattice simulations of strong interactions. In 2021, Brian was named a Goldwater Scholar. Outside of research, Brian enjoys performing classical trumpet in Columbia’s Orchestra and Bach Society as well as playing chess. At Cambridge, Brian will pursue an MPhil in physics to research galactic evolution. Following his Churchill year, Brian aims to pursue a PhD and eventually become a professor in theoretical physics.

Karen, who is from Florida, is majoring in Earth and Environmental Engineering and minoring in Computer Science. Her research engagement includes work in the Yip Lab, where she works on temperature-swing solvent extraction (TSSE), a novel desalination technique that is promising because of its lower energy consumption. Early in her undergraduate career, Karen interned at the Columbia Earth Institute, where she used remote sensing to characterize water quality in the Long Island Sound. More recently, she has interned with Hazen and Sawyer, a water and wastewater engineering firm serving a wide array of clients including the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Outside of her research interests, Karen is committed to pursuing classical piano and voice. She participates in the Music Performance Program (MPP), and has joined vocal extracurriculars like the Barnard Columbia Chorus, Bach Society, and the New Opera Workshop. At Cambridge, Karen will pursue a degree in Public Policy. Selected as a Kanders Churchill Scholar, Karen seeks to use her training to tackle pressing environmental issues, with a focus on sustainable water management.

For more information about the Churchill Scholarship, please reach out to Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.