University of Georgia senior Landon Clark of Leesburg will continue his studies in the biological sciences this fall through the Churchill Scholarship, which funds American students as they pursue a one-year master’s program at the University of Cambridge in England.
Clark is UGA’s second Churchill Scholar. The scholarship, which was first awarded in 1963, is given to 15 students each year after a rigorous application and interview process. Churchill Scholars attend Churchill College, the only college at the University of Cambridge to specialize in science and technology. The award covers full tuition, a stipend, travel costs and the chance to apply for a $2,000 special research grant.
“The University of Georgia is exceptionally proud of Landon for receiving the Churchill Scholarship,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “We are delighted to have a second UGA student become part of this valuable program that promotes progress in the STEM disciplines and exchange of ideas among American and British scholars.”
An Honors student, CURO Honors Scholar and 2020 Goldwater Scholar, Clark is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, genetics and biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. He will graduate in May.
A future physician-scientist
After a year at Churchill College earning a master’s degree in biochemistry, Clark will pursue a dual MD/Ph.D. degree at a medical school in the U.S. His goal is to become a physician-scientist specializing in immunology and pathology while teaching in academic medicine. His research will center on the mechanisms and treatment of immune diseases.
“Landon has excelled at UGA, both through his work as an undergraduate researcher and as a student leader in the classroom, in the lab and across campus,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of Honors. “He is destined to continue to make a difference in his journey to becoming a physician scientist.”
Clark’s journey as a researcher started in rural southwest Georgia. He grew up in a small town located about an hour away from the closest research laboratory. In his first weeks at UGA, he contacted Michael Terns, distinguished research professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and genetics, and has worked in the Terns Lab since, studying powerful gene-editing tools known as CRISPR-Cas.
In summer 2019, he had the opportunity to explore the scientist-physician relationship at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He studied a rare immune disorder called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis with Emory University professor H. Trent Spencer.
Academic and research excellence
In 2017, Clark conducted research on the college decision-making process with Dawn Robinson, a professor of sociology at UGA.
He has presented his work at 11 conferences, co-authored a peer-reviewed journal article and is in the process of submitting two additional journal articles for publication.
“Landon’s impact as a CURO Honors Scholar goes beyond his outstanding individual achievements in academics and research,” said Maria Navarro, associate director of the Honors Program and CURO. “As a teaching assistant in the CURO Honors Scholarship cohort, Landon has had considerable success as a team builder and peer mentor, and he has supported a good number of students as they discover and strengthen their interest, skills and potential in undergraduate research.”
Clark’s involvement at UGA includes serving as a peer leader and former director of academic outreach for the Student Government Association; a teaching assistant with the Honors Program and the Department of Chemistry; lead exam writer for the UGA Science Olympiad Outreach; co-president of the Biochemistry Undergraduate Society; treasurer of the Honors Program Student Council; director of internal communications for UGA Red Cross; and a Public Service and Outreach Scholar through the Office of Service-Learning. He completed an IMPACT Service Trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, in December 2019.
Advancing science and technology
Clark is a regional coordinator and founding member of Feed the Frontlines Georgia and a volunteer in the neuroscience and cardiology departments at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. His honors include the CURO Symposium’s Life Sciences Best Paper Award and UGA Library Undergraduate Research Award, Crane Leadership Scholar, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, CURO Summer Fellow, Phi Beta Kappa and the Blue Key Honor Society.
UGA’s previous Churchill Scholar was Anita Qualls in 2019.
The Churchill Scholarship was established at the request of Sir Winston Churchill to fulfill his vision of U.S.-U.K. scientific exchange with the goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic. The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States accepts nominations for the Churchill Scholarship from a limited number of participating institutions. For more information on the Churchill Scholarship, visit www.winstonchurchillfoundation.org.
UGA’s major scholarships coordinator, housed in the Honors Program, works closely with students across campus as they apply for national, high-level scholarships. For more information, contact Jessica Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.