Lifelong Researcher

Joyce Czop illustration by Randy Glass

When Joyce Czop’s youngest brother refers to her as “a brainiac,” he means it in the most endearing and complimentary way. “Her whole life was education,” says Tom Czop of Joyce ’67 Sci, who began her academic career with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Penn State and went on to earn master’s degrees in microbiology and philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, her doctoral degree from NYU, and her MBA from Suffolk University. “She had a never-ending thirst for learning,” says Tom. “She did exactly what she wanted to do in life.”

Joyce’s desire for excellence, and her ambition, led to her jobs as an immunochemistry researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, where she authored and presented papers worldwide based on her research. Tom says that as a woman in a male-dominated field in the 1970s, his sister’s confidence, drive, and persistence came in handy. “She wasn’t a braggart at all, but she would challenge anything that was not correct. She got that from my Dad,” he says. “He taught her to stand on her own two feet and fight hard when needed.”

When her high school, Plymouth-Whitemarsh High in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., started a Distinguished Graduates Organization 23 years after her commencement, Czop was its first inductee for academic excellence. In her free time, she took courses at the local community college and traveled extensively, visiting 35 countries over the years. She also enjoyed gardening, yard work, staying active in her church, hosting her family’s holiday dinners, and caring for her pets.

Czop died Feb. 19, 2023, at the age of 77. Besides Tom, she is survived by her brother John ’67 Sci, ’68 Edu, and seven nieces and nephews. —RR