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Bojana Zupan, PhD ’09

Bojana Zupan


Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Bojana Zupan moved to the United States at age 10. Always fascinated by natural processes, Bojana’s favorite childhood present was a microscope kit. As an undergraduate student at Barnard College, Bojana fell in love with neuroscience. She enrolled in Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences (WCGS) in 2003 to study the subject further. At the Graduate School, she researched the dual impact of parental disease-associated mutations on offspring behavior in mice. She graduated in 2009 with a PhD in neuroscience.

Bojana currently works at Vassar College as an assistant professor in the Psychological Science department and the Neuroscience and Behavior Program. She teaches at least two courses each semester, runs a research lab and serves as an academic advisor. In her free time, Bojana enjoys hiking and camping.

How did you select WCGS for your graduate training?

WCGS was the best fit for me because of the large number of faculty who are involved in interesting research. My decision was reinforced by the availability of generous student housing, which ensured that I could focus on my graduate studies without worrying about living in New York City on a graduate student’s stipend.

What are your favorite memories of your time as a graduate student?

My favorite memories include the great times spent with fellow students, like being in the lab in those wee morning hours, waiting to run that last point of an 18-hour experiment.

Are you still in touch with any of your classmates?

I am indeed. Many of us still live in the New York area, so we try to meet up as frequently as our busy schedules will allow.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship are big buzzwords. What does this mean for students today and for the future of medical science graduate education?

These are important concepts that should be a standard part of WCGS’ educational program. Specifically, professional preparedness and growth opportunities beyond the traditional research track should be provided as a way to broaden the applicability of a degree from WGCS.

How did WCGS prepare you for your current position at Vassar College?

The research training I received at WCGS definitely prepared me well for the research aspect of my current position. Teaching, however, was something I discovered indirectly. I was a teaching assistant for numerous courses at WCGS, so when an opportunity arose during my post-doctoral studies to teach at an undergraduate institution for a semester, I jumped at the chance to try it out. It was an incredibly positive experience, one which helped me realize that I would be happiest at faculty positions which included teaching along with research requirements.