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Jacob Zipkin

Connect in Minerva Houses

Hometown: Dix Hills, N.Y.
Major: Physics and Music, Interdisciplinary; Leadership in Medicine Program

Jacob Zipkin applied to be the house coordinator of Messa House his first year on campus, and as time went on, he became more and more involved. As the student rep for his house, he works with students, staff and faculty representatives from the other six Minerva houses to work on organizing meaningful social and academic activities.

“The Minerva program represents the key aspects of Union – a strong sense of community, great student-faculty relationships and the desire for more knowledge,” Jacob says.

Here, he looks at life in the Minervas and as a Leadership in Medicine student.

What are some of your favorite Minerva activities?

I help put on “house-bonding” events specifically for Messa residents. I’ve done barbeques, holiday celebrations and trivia nights. I enjoy co-hosting events with other houses and campus groups, including celebrations like the Holi festival. Our dinners with discussions are perfect for connecting students, faculty and staff. We’ve had lively discussions about topics such as the presidential election, healthcare reform and substance abuse.

How can students get involved in their Minerva?

Anyone can attend weekly council meetings in their assigned house and propose event ideas, and even receive funding for events.

How do professors participate?

Professors are also assigned a Minerva, and they have the option to request to have events and receive funding. Some faculty members teach classes in their houses, such as Culinary Chemistry, and First Year Preceptorials. They can use any of the common spaces – den, kitchen, dining room, seminar room and study rooms. This brings people from all parts of campus together in one place. Many students invite faculty to their dinners for conversations on the topic at hand. Students are able to develop a strong relationship with faculty through Minerva events.

Can you describe your studies at Union?

The LIM program encourages me to explore my passions in a number of fields while working toward becoming a physician. As an interdepartmental major in physics and music, I have focused on the life sciences aspect of physics, with courses such as medical physics. I worked on an exciting biophysics research project associated with the study of quantum dots under the guidance of Professors Brian Cohen (Biology) and Scott LaBrake (Physics). In music history courses, I learned the theory behind music composition and how to analyze a piece of music. I also was able to explore jazz even though I play the violin. As an LIM student, I also will earn a master’s of science degree in clinical leadership in healthcare management. This will give me a greater understanding of the intricacies of our complex health care system.

How does Union support you in your academic career?

Union professors genuinely want their students to be successful and will go out of their way to make sure that every student has the opportunity to receive face-to-face time. I am very grateful for the Leadership in Medicine program. The required interdepartmental major gives LIM students the opportunity to explore topics they may not have the chance to study otherwise. Also, LIM students are required to study abroad, which gives us an immersion opportunity that other pre-medical students may not have. I went to Poland on Union’s Holocaust History Mini-Term with Professor Peter Bedford. We were able to share our experiences at a Minerva House dinner and discussion.


Take a seat at Dinner with a Professor:

Click play (above) or view on VIMEO