Mind, Brain, and Education
Mind, Brain, and Education
Alumni & Careers
Meet Recent MBE Students, in their own words
Understanding the Brain, Improving Instruction
"I studied biological/cognitive psychology and education as an undergraduate and, even though I enjoyed my experience enormously, I felt it was incomplete because I was unable to fully connect these two disciplines. I wanted to bridge them, especially by learning how to take advantage of our current understanding of the brain and development to improve teaching. I taught fifth grade for a year, during which my desire to link the two grew further. As soon as I heard about HGSE's Mind, Brain, and Education Ed.M., there was no doubt in my mind that it was the perfect program for me. It was the only program I found that could finally fill that gap."
Linking Emotion, Culture, and Cognition
"After graduating from the University of Virginia with degrees in cognitive science and Spanish, I set off for Shanghai to explore the unknown territories of education and Chinese culture. Teaching business English at the university level profoundly restructured my thinking about the mind. How dramatically my students' beliefs about gender, emotion, and individual identity affected their motivation and performance in the classroom! Thirteen months later, I returned home with a desire to study how cultural norms and social expectations are woven into cognitive development. The MBE Master's program has already provided me with great insights and has helped me to refine my interests; I plan to continue investigating at the doctoral level specifically how shame and disgust affect performance, both inside and outside of the classroom."
MBE's Professional Chess Player
"In the summer of 1999, I graduated from Oxford University with a first-class degree in politics, philosophy, and economics. Around the same time, I completed the qualifications for the chess Grandmaster title and began to play chess professionally around Europe. In the summer of 2000 I wrote my second book, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins, an examination of chess from a psychological perspective. The research for this book stimulated my interest in cognitive psychology and also made me curious to learn more about the brain. I am particularly fascinated by the interplay of thought and emotion, partly because I know from my own experience of chess that most of our supposedly rational decisions are taken on an emotional basis. I am also interested in the pervasiveness of pattern recognition and the evaluative nature of perception. HGSE's Mind, Brain, and Education program has allowed me to build upon these interests and will give me a good theoretical grounding for further research in the field."
Cognitive Development Meets Early Childhood Education
"For the last twelve years, I've been an independent television producer, making programs for PBS, HGTV, Food Network, ESPN and others. Before that, as an English major at Northwestern University, I studied early childhood development and worked as a preschool teacher. When I decided to apply to graduate school, I wanted to find a place where I could combine my experience in technology with my interest in early childhood development, and connect it all back to education. For me, a class like "Cognitive Development, Education and the Brain" is a perfect combination. We're learning about cognitive development from many perspectives, framed within an awareness of the education process and why this information is relevant to educators and other who work with children. I'm really enjoying the chance to dive into this field of study which is connected to my interests, my experiences, and my vision for the future of both technology and education."
Education and Neuroscience: Bridging the Gap
"I had always been fascinated with the process of learning and teaching, but as a cognitive neuroscience undergrad, never studied its classroom applications and implications. When I presented some of my behavioral data on dyslexic students to a group of researchers and educators, I realized just how wide the gap was between neuroscience and education, and the necessity of bridging it. The MBE program has helped me start to do just that. It is the only program teaching theory and application simultaneously in an intellectually rich and stimulating environment. I plan to get my Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience; the MBE program has helped me find a way to inform my research with educational realities, and conversely, help to inform curriculum through formal research."