In Honor of CSSW’s Jiazheng Wang
We have created this page for sharing memories of MSW student Jiazheng Wang along with supportive words for Jiazheng’s family and our community. If you would like to leave a tribute, please post it as a comment.
Jiazheng Wang, who was an MSW student at Columbia School of Social Work, passed away on August 5, 2020, from cardiac arrest.
Inspired by her strong bond with her grandparents during her childhood in China, Jiazheng decided to pursue social work with a focus on aging and mental health.
Born in China, Jiazheng obtained an undergraduate degree in law from the China Youth University of Political Studies in Bejiing. Although her first job out of university was as a public relations specialist, she ultimately decided to pursue her passion for the field of gerontology.
A member of the May 2020 cohort, Jiazheng began her studies at Columbia in the Fall of 2018, determined to enact positive change in the world. She interned at Knickerbocker Village Senior Services Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), a center provided by Hamilton Madison House; and at P.S. 57 James Weldon Johnson School-Based Health Center, one of seven school-based health centers operated by the Institute for Family Health in New York City.
“Jiazheng was a powerful force for good, and was poised to contribute so much to the world,” said Dean Melissa Begg. “Our grief and sorrow are immeasurable. Our hearts go out to Jiazheng’s boyfriend, friends, and classmates, and especially to her parents in China. Jiazheng was deeply loved, and as is often said, grief is the price we pay for love—and it is a heavy price indeed. Let us all keep her memory alive, and revere her bright spirit.”
Professor Qin Gao first met Jiazheng in her native China, at a forum Gao had organized in Shanghai. She recalls being impressed by Jiazheng’s dedication to advancing social change. “After joining CSSW, she shared with me how much she cherished her internship experience working with older adults in Chinatown,” Gao said.
Two of Jiazheng’s instructors at Columbia echoed Gao’s remarks about her drive and passion for the field of geriatric social work. Adjunct Assistant Professor Lia Marshall had Jiazheng as a student in Social Work Practice with Individuals with Dementia & Their Families. Marshall reported that when she asked the class what they would hope to have accomplished by age 90, Jiazheng said she wanted to advocate for older adults in China so they could live full and healthy lives.
Dean Emerita Jeanette Takamura, a specialist in social work and gerontology, recalled having Jiazheng in her Long Term Care course. “Jiazheng was a beautiful, almost luminous student, fully dedicated to becoming the best social work professional possible and a scholar of consequence with a focus on aging,” she said. “She was fully appreciative of the human rights and social justice dimensions of some of our knottiest issues related to the aging of our societies. My sincere condolences to her family, her partner, and her close colleagues and friends. We have lost a treasure.”
There are no words that adequately express the depth of our grief at this terrible loss. We extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who loved Jiazheng. We will make plans to come together in the future to more formally honor Jiazheng and celebrate her life.
I had the fortune to share quite a few classes with Jiazheng during our formative years at CSSW. I was often moved by her insightful and compassionate thoughts and sharing in class. She struck me as such a kind and smart person, a joyful spirit, a heartwarming presence, someone who would go extra miles for the people she served. She had a great commitment to social work, and a deep passion in serving for the wellbeing and quality of life of the aging population, in Chinese societies and beyond. She will be so sadly missed.
I first met you in a language class. My first impression of you was your smiles that is always sweet. I remember you gave a presentation on women rights in China in the SW Professional class, I remember we had dinner together in an instructor’s place at the end of first semester 2018. I still saw your posts about your internship on Wechat not long ago. Sorry I didn’t get to a chance to say goodbye to you, 家铮.
Jiazheng, similar to many of us, loves cats, loves wearing beautiful skirts, and loves many cute and beautiful things. There is a strong spirit in her thin body and great courage under her lovely appearance. She was once a fighter who helped the patient to overcome the COVID-19. She is a loyal and romantic lover, a sweet friend in the foreign country. We will always miss her. So will her cat. May she rest In peace.
I first met Jiazheng two years ago when we shared one course. She is such a brilliant, lovely and honest girl. Her beautiful smiles impressed me a lot. In one class, she shared the story of the three-generation women in her family, her grandma, her mother, and her. Everyone was deeply impressed by her family’s experiences. Thanks, Jiazheng. Remembering her wonderful and gentle soul will forever remain in our hearts. May she rest in peace.
My heart goes out to Jiazheng’s family and loved ones. She was clearly a kind and accomplished person with a beautiful spirit, and will be deeply missed.
I still remember meeting Jiazheng for the first time in Shanghai in May 2018. She was full of energy and aspirations. We connected instantly. During her studies at CSSW, we stayed in touch and had several long conversations. I was impressed by her dedication to the field of aging and mental health, inspired by her childhood bond with her grandparents. My heart is very heavy as I continue absorbing this sad news. My deepest condolences to her loved ones, especially her parents who are in China. The world is a much better, brighter place because of Jiazheng. May you rest in peace, Jiazheng.
Jiazeng was in my class of global aging. She is a smart student who can always present deep thoughts and show her strong passion for aging and mental health. I’m shocked and saddened by the heartbreaking news. May she rest in peace. My sincere sympathy to her family and loved ones.
Jiazheng and I met on a number of occasions as she explored some of the mountains she intended to climb. In her own words, she was “an enthusiastic self-starter,” loved “a challenge,” and was deeply committed to making a difference in the lives of the older generation. As we celebrate her accomplishments on this leg of her journey called life, let’s remember her vivacious spirit and her happy laugh. To her parents and other loved ones whom she spoke of so fondly, my deepest sympathy. May she rest in peace.
I offer my sincere condolences and deep regret to Jiazheng Wang’s family and to all of us in the Columbia community who knew her. Her bright light and love for humanity is still with all of us and we must ensure to honor her and these qualities by continuing in the spirit of which makes Jiazheng so very special.
Jiazheng and I had the pleasure of taking Advocacy and Clinical Practice together, even being role play partners. She and I hit it off immediately, establishing inside jokes within the first few texts we had with each other. Academically, she challenged me to think beyond the United States; we had great discussions in and out of class about US/China relations, where she would teach me about China and I would teach her about the US. Her laugh and smile were truly infectious. We shared a lot about our families with one another, and my thoughts go out to her family at this time. My heart is broken and I’m just grateful to have the awkward clinical role play still on my computer to be able to remember her with. Rest in Peace <3
My deepest condolences to Jiazheng’s family. While I did not know Jiazheng personally I am grateful to have graduated alongside an individual who was clearly so kind, intelligent and dedicated to improving the lives of her clients. Your valuable and caring presence will always be felt and missed.
Peace an blessing to the family and friends of Jiazheng.
I was part of a group project with Jiazheng and she was an absolutely beautiful, kind, smart, caring person who I will sorely miss. We all talked about Animal Crossing and playing together, and we presented our group project together. I am shocked and saddened by her loss. I will be saying a prayer every night for as many nights as I can for her. This world lost an amazing person and I will always remember the short time I had with her. Looking back at her emails there is only love in all of her messages. Pure love. And I will miss that and I am so saddened I will not have a chance to share more experiences with her on campus or in person in the future as our only form of communicaiton was through Zoom. This is heartbreaking.
Jiazheng I hope your journey is a peaceful one filled with love, such as that you have shared with me. I will say a prayer for you tonight <3
I am heartbroken to hear this horrible news. I was really lucky to be partnered with Jiazheng for our semester long clinical case evaluation process logs. It was such a great opportunity to spend time and get to know Jiazheng both in and out of the classroom. She was always so warm, fun and silly despite her hard work and dedication to being a force of change. We spent so much of our time giggling and laughing over the hilarious and cute hats she would dress her cat in! My heart and thoughts go out to Jiazheng’s friends, family and partner. She shared many stories of them with me and her immense love and appreciation for them was always so clear, especially for her boyfriend and her parents. What a tragic loss. I will miss you and think of you often Jiazheng. Thank you for all of your hard work and for the laughs.
Jiazheng Wang was in my Professional Immersion Seminars class. I expected to be writing Jiazheng a recommendation letter by this time of the year. Instead, I am grasping for words to attempt to convey unimaginable loss. I got to experience first hand how caring, resourceful, refreshingly funny and utterly committed to Social Work principles she was. My heart goes out to her parents, family, boyfriend and friends.
Although I had not met Jiazheng personally, I wish I had. It is clear to me from the evocative and passionate memorials what a strong, deep and lasting impression she made on so many who knew her. Her joy, insight, thoughtfulness and dedication to her coursework, classmates, community members and work will have lasting impact on the social work community.
With deepest condolences to her family and friends.
I met Jiazheng in my role as AD of Advising, and I want to honor her strength and her desires to overcome barriers. She was looking forward to practice as a social worker and to make a difference working with the aging population in her country. Her skills, knowledge and passion will be missed
Jiazheng’s beautiful smile and joy-filled spirit filled our classroom with warmth. Her compassion for the individuals with whom she worked was palpable. I am honored and forever grateful she entered my life–for far too short a time. I send my love and wishes to her family and friends.
I have not met Jiazheng personally. She clearly had a beautiful spirit that touched so many. May she rest in peace. My condolences to her family and friends.
I met Jiazheng this summer in her final course at CSSW before receiving her MSW. I know she would have made incredible contributions to the social work field and to the well-being of older adults everywhere. She was always engaged, bright and cheerful and aside from dreaming of accomplishing her many career goals, she planned on traveling the world and loved Nutella, which I am sure she would have brought on her many travels. She will be greatly missed. My condolences to her friends and family. ~Lia
I had the privilege of sharing time with Jiazheng (Jessie) as our life paths crossed in these last few months.
I was her Teaching Associate for her 2020 Summer class and I got to know her through her reflections, discussions and active participation. What stands out to me was her passion for advocating for the elderly ( as she spoke fondly of her grandparents) and her class room conversations around the importance of being culturally competent and sharing the ‘dementia positive’ variables of Eastern cultures.
Jiazheng, clearly made our world a better place and will live in the memories of the many lives she touched.
My heart is heavy as I process her loss. My prayers and thoughts are with her family/friends and loved ones. She will be deeply missed.