Zak grew up in Rochester, NY, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with Honors from Juniata College in 2010. At Juniata, Zak worked with Professor David Reingold on the synthesis of novel polycyclic aromatic compounds for applications in optoelectronic devices. In 2008, Zak participated in a summer research internship with Professor Todd Emrick in the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on polymers for photovoltaic applications. He further explored semiconducting polymers during a self-designed research-based study program with Professor Wilhelm Huck at the University of Cambridge, UK, in 2009, where he synthesized conjugated polyelectrolytes. In 2015, Zak completed his Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Emrick. During his Ph.D., Zak received an Office of Science Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Energy, which allowed him to continue working towards enhanced organic photovoltaic devices. He developed novel zwitterionic semiconducting polymers and incorporated them into organic solar cells to boost device power conversion efficiency. Zak joined Professor Craig Hawker’s group in July 2015 as a postdoctoral researcher.