Cezar Giosan

I was born in the North of Romania in a fantastic small town hidden in mountains and surrounded by lakes and rivers. When I meet people from other countries I like to tell them that I am from Transylvania, Dracula's country. This is actually not true... but I do get a kick out of it when I see their faces...

I began to be interested in science in middle school, when I accidentally came across some easy books on the theory of relativity. I remember immersing myself so much in them that I ended up participating in the National Physics Olympiad as a result.

I was so fascinated with Einstein's ideas that light can curve near gravitational masses, or that time can contract or dilate as a function of velocity, that after middle school I decided to attend a theoretical high school, majoring in mathematics and physics. At the same time, however, I realized that we would never be able to understand what matter, space, and time were, until we understood how our minds worked. Consequently, I started reading philosophy, hoping that I would find some answers in that discipline. Although I found philosophy very interesting and challenging, I soon realized that it only raised questions, admittedly very good ones, but failed to deliver good answers. So, I turned to psychology, with the hope that analyzing major philosophical questions, like the Mind-Body problem, with scientific methods, would prove helpful in bringing some objectivity to the answers I was looking for.

After high school I went for one year in the then-mandatory Romanian Army, which, strangely, I greatly enjoyed. University degree programs in psychology had been abolished during the Romanian communist era because they were considered a threat to the communist regime, so in 1989 I entered a B.S./M.S. program at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, which I graduated in 1994, getting an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. As soon as I got the degree, I became an undergraduate student in psychology at the University of Bucharest. This was soon after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, when academic programs in psychology were reestablished. I finished the program in just three years (a first for that institution) and I was subsequently admitted as a doctoral student in organizational psychology there. In parallel, I started working as a teacher, then as a human resources manager at Mercury Research, a market research company based in Bucharest. Working in human resources made me discover new horizons, as I realized that I could get much satisfaction in nonacademic settings, which I had not thought before.

I have never finished the Ph.D. program in organizational psychology at the University of Bucharest, because in 1998 two major events happened: I won a Green Card at the Diversity Visa Lottery, which allowed me to come to the United States with all the rights and, at the same time, I was offered a Fulbright Fellowship for graduate studies in psychology in the US. I had to choose between the two, for they excluded each other, and I decided to take the Green Card, giving up the Fulbright. It was a tough decision, but after I made it I enthusiastically came to the United States prepared to start over and work as a cab driver. However, my dreams of becoming a taxi tycoon were shattered before I even got my driver's license, because I was soon admitted into a doctoral program in psychology at The New School University, New York.

I finished my PhD in 2003 with a dissertation on voluntary turnover. After a postdoctoral fellowship in the US-top-ranked Department of Psychiatry at Weill-Medical College of Cornell University (2003-2004), I was appointed an Instructor of Psychology at that institution (2004-2007), then an Assistant Professor of Psychology, a position I held until 2010, when I began to work as a full-time Professor of Psychology at Berkeley College, New York.

Cezar Giosan