Zarifkar ’07 fulfills teaching dream
Tiffany Zarifkar ’07 says teaching at Cornell has always been on her bucket list.
The alumna who graduated with a double major in psychology and sociology can now officially mark it off her list after a chance meeting at a local eatery.
“I randomly ran into my Cornell psychology professor idol, Melinda Green, at Subway one day,” she said. “That moment of serendipity led to intentional meetings to catch-up, a nonchalant disclosure of the dream to teach, and months later, Melinda told me about an adjunct opportunity to which I immediately applied.”
Tiffany, a Mount Vernon native, is teaching Abnormal Psychology during Block 5. She says her goal is to make the content applicable to the everyday lives of her students.
This block students have done a lot. They’ve reviewed diagnostic material, identified key content that is vital to the growth of the field, and created a public outreach project that challenges mental health stigmas and makes their research accessible, applicable, and understood in laymen’s terms.
“I’ve highly enjoyed being back on campus,” she said. “This block I’ve had the opportunity to teach alongside respected professors who taught me, empathize with and relate to the students who sit in the same seats and classrooms where I got to learn. I have also had the opportunity to enjoy some of Cornell’s more fun and relaxed features such as eating at Zamora’s Market, hearing the college choir I was once a part of during the holiday concert, and attending Vanessa Bayer’s comedy night. My only regret is teaching during a winter block when the squirrels are not out and begging for chocolate cake as they have in years past.”
After graduating from Cornell, Tiffany attended the University of Northern Iowa to earn her master’s in mental health counseling. She now owns Mount Vernon Family Counseling where she also works as a counselor.
She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She is currently pursuing a specialty in Theraplay, a family attachment approach. Tiffany enjoys working with adults and has special training in treating children as young as three who struggle with anxiety, trauma, self-esteem, transitions, adjustments, behavioral, and relational concerns.