Caltech undergraduate Jenny Wan has been awarded a Churchill Scholarship, which will fund her first year of graduate studies at the University of Cambridge. Wan will work with Professor of Experimental Astrophysics Roberto Maiolino to study how galaxies evolve and interact with each other as well as with the supermassive black holes at their centers.
"I hope to deeply explore the physics of the most massive and most energetic objects in the universe, and to build a more accurate and complete model for the formation of large-scale structure in the universe," she says.
The Churchill Scholarship was established by Sir Winston Churchill with the "goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic, helping to ensure our future prosperity and security," according to the program's website.
"There is a lot of value in being able to dive very deeply into a topic that I have really only briefly studied before," says Wan. "Plus, I get to be immersed in a new culture and meet so many wonderful people."
At Caltech, Wan worked with a team of scientists, including Research Professor of Physics Jack Sayers (MS '04, PhD '08) and Professor of Physics Sunil Golwala, to study the expansion rate of the universe using observations of galaxy clusters. She also worked with Golwala to model properties of high-sensitivity detectors for submillimeter telescope instruments. Wan was granted a Goldwater Scholarship for her 2021–22 academic year.
"I love teaching because one of the best parts of doing science is being able to share that knowledge with other people," she says. "Helping someone else achieve their goals brings a new joy and sense of purpose to the subjects I already love."
Wan is Caltech's fifth Churchill Scholar in the past five years. Caltech has had a total of 22 recipients to date.