Dr Zarakol joined both the University of Cambridge and Emmanuel College in 2013.
Zarakol grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from Middlebury College, Vermont, USA with a B.A. degree in Political Science and Classical Studies. She then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for postgraduate studies, and received her MA and PhD in Political Science. Before moving to the UK, she was first an Assistant Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, and then a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. During her fellowship year, she resided in Washington, DC, working for the US Congress as an analyst for the Congressional Research Service, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Section. Since 2011, she has also been a member of the PONARS Eurasia international academic network, which advances new policy approaches to research and security in Russia and Eurasia. In 2015, Zarakol was named a 'rising star' by the IR section of the Swedish Political Science Association. In 2016, Zarakol held visiting research fellowships at CRASSH (Cambridge) and the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo.