Two Columbia Students Named 2020 Marshall Scholars

Two Columbia students are recipients of the 2020 Marshall Scholarship, which provides financial support to outstanding American scholars to pursue graduate study in the United Kingdom in any subject at the academic institution of their choice.

Amar Bhardwaj, Columbia School of Engineering, and Young Joon Kim, Columbia College, are among 46 American college students from across the country awarded the scholarship, funded by the British government and established in 1953 as a gesture of appreciation to the U.S. for the assistance it offered to the United Kingdom after World War II under the Marshall Plan. It is named for former U.S. Secretary of State and Army Gen. George Marshall.

The scholarship program, which funds two years of study, receives more than 1,000 applications from top students representing higher education institutions across the United States. About 40 scholars are selected each year.

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Amar Bhardwaj SEAS ’20, an accomplished sustainability researcher and advocate, will use his scholarship to study at the University of Edinburgh and Imperial College in London, taking a multidisciplinary approach to the science, economics and policy of implementing renewable energy technologies.

In Edinburgh, he will pursue an MSc in Energy, Society and Sustainability. Then, in London, he plans to lead a project in spectroscopy-based solar fuels research with a pair of leading experts in the field. He hopes to leverage the experience in his doctoral work and eventually as a professor at a research university innovating more efficient and environmentally friendly sources of energy.

“My ultimate goal is to engineer solar fuels technologies that will be widely deployed,” said the chemical engineering major, who previously won the prestigious Udall and Goldwater scholarships. “To best position my research toward implementation, I need to also understand the facets of sustainable energy deployment that exist outside the lab.”

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Young Joon Kim CC ’20, a biology major, will pursue a one-year master’s in computational biology research at the University of Cambridge, followed by a master’s in the history of medicine at the University of Oxford.

“A central theme of Columbia’s liberal arts experience is to arm scholars with the motivation and ability to transcend disciplinary boundaries and work toward the larger goal of improving our society,” Kim said. Without this scholarship, he said he “would not have been able to formulate my dream of discovering new therapies and spearheading health care reform.”

His career goals include becoming a physician-scientist, investigating cancer therapeutics and leading health care reform in the U.S. and Britain.

Kim has held several leadership roles on campus, serving as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Science Review, a teaching assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences, a member of the Community Impact student executive board and vice president of the Columbia University Table Tennis Club. He is also a coordinator for Columbia Habitat for Humanity and Columbia University Road Runners.

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