Why I stayed: Sarah Lupis

January 10, 2020

Since Brandeis opened its doors in 1948, tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Brandeisians have come to complete their education. But after they graduate, Brandeis is oftentimes just a distant memory, an alma mater that they’ll donate to and where they’ll go to reunions every few years. However, there are a select few individuals that choose to either stay, or come back to Brandeis, after graduation. This new series will tell the story of Brandeis alumni who decided to stay, or come back. 

Growing up in the Boston area, Sarah Lupis MA/PhD ’16 always knew about Brandeis’s research potential and didn’t utilize it until after she finished her undergraduate career at Boston University.

Lupis had always been passionate about psychology and wanted to go into research when she realized that the clinical track was not the best fit for her, she wrote in an email to The Brandeis Hoot. Combining the strong research at Brandeis with the university’s commitment to social justice, Lupis knew it was the perfect fit. A meeting with her then-potential advisor, Jutta Wolf (PSYC) and a tour of campus had her sold. 

After finishing her degree, Lupis spent a year doing adjunct-teaching at several local colleges, including Brandeis, she wrote. Lupis, however, quickly realized the difficulty of adjuncting. She explained that on some days she would drive to three campuses all over Massachusetts and did not have any job security or benefits. Part-time faculty members are unionized at Brandeis, but this is not the case at most other schools, wrote Lupis. 

So when her current job position opened up, Lupis immediately applied to be involved with Brandeis on a different level. “Being a coordinator allows me to teach part-time and have a more secure lifestyle,” she wrote, “it’s actually been a great balance.” Lupis currently serves as the coordinator for the undergraduate and graduate psychology department for just over two years and has also taught part-time since 2015, she told The Hoot in an email.

Being staff and faculty, Lupis does not do as much research as she used to. However, while working on her graduate degrees, she did research looking at an individual’s emotional response to stress and how it affects health. “I also looked at cross-cultural differences, contributions of body image, and how the stress-emotion link is moderated by puberty,” she wrote. 

Lupis’ favorite part about campus is the students, she told The Hoot in an email. “They never cease to amaze me in terms of their maturity, ambition, and intellectual curiosity,” she wrote. “I like to say that they are good ‘citizens of the world.’” She also spoke highly of the staff and faculty members for their flexibility, support and collaborative attitude.

She told The Hoot that she personally did not find the transition from student to faculty to be that difficult. “I was lucky to receive tremendous support from my department during the transition,” she explained. “Though the faculty are obviously impressive from a research perspective, they also have a strong commitment to being excellent teachers, and I had many great role models in this regard.” Lupis’ involvement in the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program was another supportive community that helped her with the transition. 

“Having taught at several different schools, I know that Brandeis is really a unique place,” Lupis wrote in an email to The Hoot. “Its students leave well-equipped to navigate a diverse and rapidly-changing world. It’s been a pleasure to study, work, and teach here.”

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