Graduated May 2015
Zachary Aidala, soon to be Dr. Aidala, graduated with a B.S. in Psychobiology from Binghamton University (SUNY) in 2006. After taking courses in Animal Behavior and Sociobiology, he realized he was very much interested in the evolution of behavior. He began his research career working with Binghamton’s Prof. Anne Clark, studying the social behavior of American crows, specifically focusing on whether and how social relationships among individuals could predict the spread of West Nile Virus, to which crows were particularly susceptible. After 1.5 years working on this project following completion of his B.S., he decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Psychology at Hunter College (CUNY).
For his Master’s project, he joined Dr. Cheryl Harding’s psychoneuroimmunology laboratory to study the effects of toxic mold exposure on hippocampal-dependent memory in mice. In addition to completing his M.A. in Psychology, he also earned Hunter’s advanced certificate in Animal Behavior and Conservation. Towards the end of his Master’s project, he decided to pursue a career in academia, and began searching for doctoral programs. Knowing he wanted to incorporate a field component into his dissertation, he was fortunate enough to move across the hall to Prof. Mark Hauber’s Animal Behavior and Recognition Systems laboratory also at Hunter College. Under Dr. Hauber’s mentorship through the GC CUNY Psychology/Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience program, his doctoral thesis examined the sensory and perceptual controls mediating egg rejection behavior in hosts of obligate avian brood parasites by integrating behavioral, genetic, phylogenetic, and avian visual modeling components into his dissertation. In addition to his research responsibilities, he also held numerous teaching fellowships, including an NSF-funded GK-12 Fellowship to support local NYC high schools in developing inquiry-based science curricula. Zak also received several intraumarl extramural grants and awards, including from the Cooper Ornithological Society and the GC CUNY dissertation fellowship.
During his last year at GC CUNY, he accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bloomfield College in New Jersey. His teaching responsibilities include statistics, research methods neuropsychology, animal behavior, and drugs and behavior. The small school setting at Bloomfield is a great fit, allowing him to incorporate his research into the classroom, as well as work closely with undergraduates on independent research projects tailored to their specific interests. He is immensely grateful to all of his mentors and colleagues from GC CUNY and now at Bloomfield College for their continual support and encouragement to follow his passions for teaching, research, and all things science.