Shirley Zajdel , Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

B.S., Brooklyn College
Ph.D., Boston University


  • Email:
  • Phone: 203-332-5155
  • Office: LH-B239


Personal Statement

My professional life is dedicated to helping students develop an understanding of biology and scientific research with the goal of promoting scientific literacy and confidence. Using my lab-bench research experience and a life-long focus on understanding pathophysiology, I strive to have students develop a personal relationship with learning biology.

Part of my role at Housatonic Community College is supporting students as they engage in the college learning experience. Our science courses have to be engaging and challenging, producing understanding and excitement as well as knowledge. Our student support has to be timely, encouraging as well as realistic. Students need to be able to envision their future and a big part of that is future careers. Some students will continue their studies in the sciences at universities with the goal of being a research scientist, physician, nutritionist, nurse or science teacher. Other students will decide to complete a community college degree leading to employment in a health career. Some students decide on an educational path and career in an area other than science. I have had an active role in developing several new career-focused majors that can culminate in employment directly after the Associate’s Degree or completion of a shorter continuing education program. Students can use their knowledge gained from our programs and enjoyment of science to help our community in careers as medical assistants, surgical technologists, and now ophthalmic assistants. These positions not only pay a living wage they also serve as the gateway to more education and career possibilities.

Positions and Honors

  • Chair Math/Science Department Housatonic Community College (17 years)
  • Chair of the Center for Teaching at Housatonic Community College (3 years)
  • Selected participant in the NSF Advanced Technology Education Grant to Connecticut Business and Industry Association – two summers working in the Lab-Corp Cytogenetics Laboratory.
  • Housatonic Community College Excellence in Teaching Award and multiple Merit Awards
  • Active role in the planning and participating in our Helmsley Partnership grant with Yale University.


  • Brooklyn College - Laboratory Assistant and in my senior year parasitology histologist 1964-1968
  • Long Island College Hospital Laboratory - volunteer processing Pap Smears 1964-1965
  • Brooklyn State Hospital – Research assistant assaying the effects of tranquilizers on serotonin metabolism in patients with schizophrenia. 1966,1967 summers
  • American Museum of Natural History - research histologist 1968 summer<.li>
  • Boston University School of Medicine - Research Assistant and Research Associate during and after completion of my Ph.D. program at this institution. Produced, purified, and assayed efficacy of toxin-antibody conjugates with the goal of preparing specific and effective anti-tumor agents. 1971-1977
  • University of Connecticut at Stamford – taught biology courses and served as Biological Sciences Course Coordinator to organize and implement all biology laboratory courses 1981-1995
  • Housatonic Community College Biology faculty (Chair of the Math/Science Department for 17 years). 1995 – present.

Other Experience and Professional Memberships

Member, National Association of Biology Teachers
Member, CT Association of Biology Teachers
New England Biology Association of Two Year Colleges MEBATYC Conversations 2018
Career Coach Advanced Training 2017
Scientific Teaching Forum at Southern Connecticut State University 2016

Achieving the Dream
Aspen Award
JED Campus