Karen Copeland

Karen Copeland recently graduated from Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Despite having attended a school of the arts, she has found her true passion in computer science and molecular biology. She hopes to further this interest at Columbia, taking advantage of the many opportunities inherent to this school and New York City to explore a future in science.

Karen is extremely excited about computer science and research. This past year, she was awarded the Palm Beach County Pathfinder Award for Computer Science, which named her the top student in computer science in her region. In addition, she is a member and award recipient of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing community and has actively competed in many science competitions including the Florida Junior Science Engineering and Humanities Symposium and her high school’s SECME and Science Olympiad organizations.

Karen’s first experience conducting research was at the Max Planck Institute for Neuroscience in 2017. There, she created a program that segments the location, size, and shape of cells and blood vessels, improving tissue analysis by correlating Confocal and Electron microscopy, two drastically different imaging techniques. The next summer, Karen was accepted to a research program at the University of Florida, where she spent seven weeks working on software to calculate and analyze vascular data from three-dimensional reconstructions of the human vascular system in order to optimize identification of latent radiation-induced lung damage.

Most recently, this summer, Karen participated in the 2019 WebValley Summer Institute in Casez, Italy. Karen was selected for this program as a special award at the INTEL International Science Fair, where she was a finalist this past year in the computational biology and bioinformatics category. At this program, Karen worked alongside a select team of students and researchers, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a prognostic tool for the identification of cardiovascular disease.

Outside of research, Karen is extremely involved in music. Karen attended a magnet school of the arts for both middle and high school, where she studied classical piano and voice. In addition to practicing her talent at school, she also enjoys regularly playing community concerts at local nursing homes and hospitals and teaching private piano lessons to young children. Karen has been selected to participate in Florida’s All-State chorus four times, most recently scoring high enough to be placed in their top group: the reading chorus. In addition, she has received superior ratings for her piano performance at Florida’s Federation of Music Clubs and attended various top music programs including Brevard’s Summer Piano Institute.

In her (little) free time, Karen enjoys escaping reality through fantasy novels, binge-watching cheesy Netflix rom-coms, trying (and usually failing) to cook, randomly bursting out into song, and attempting to stay active by swimming. In high school, she competed on her school’s varsity swim team for three years. Karen is majoring in computer science at Columbia, where she hopes to continue exploring her interest in interdisciplinary studies by pursuing research opportunities integrating computer science and biology.