Back to top

Session II Speakers & Notes

The New Fundamentals: What Science Tells Us About Learning, Brain Development and Motivation

Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 12:00–2:00pm

Session Notes   Slide Presentation

NMSA Art & Science of Learning Report

National Speaker: Melina Uncapher

Melina Uncapher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and Director of the Education Program at Neuroscape, a translational neuroscience center at the University of California San Francisco engaged in technology creation and scientific research to assess and optimize brain function and investigate how students learn in the classroom. She is a neuroscientist with 15 years of experience at the forefront of learning and memory research.

Uncapher partners with educators to design, implement and assess education innovations that are grounded in the science of learning. She leads a multi-university Science of Learning network, funded by the National Science Foundation, to investigate how executive function/cognitive control contributes to academic achievement in middle childhood. She co-founded and is CEO of the Institute for Applied Neuroscience, a nonprofit that arms educators and students with practical tools based on the science of learning.

Through her work, she investigates the links between technology/media and cognitive and neural differences. She co-chaired a global conference for the National Academy of Sciences on children and technology and is a founding board member of the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development.

As a MacArthur Scholar, Uncapher supported the MacArthur Foundation's efforts to use neuroscience to guide law policy and practice. She has led in-depth neuroimaging studies to investigate memory issues that have relevance to legal policy and practice. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Science & Law, lectures regularly at law schools, and advises law enforcement officials.

Local Context Speaker: Cindy Montoya

Cindy Montoya is President of the New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA), Art Institute. NMSA is a public/private partnership comprised of a legislatively created, residential, public high school in Santa Fe that includes the Art Institute, a nonprofit art educational institution.

Montoya previously served as both Principal and Assistant Principal of public elementary and high schools in New Mexico. She brings strong leadership skills to NMSA, focusing on standards-based instruction, formative assessment and applied neuroscience. Montoya oversees a team of highly credentialed faculty and staff, emphasizing instruction and learning while providing development opportunities and strategic planning initiatives.
Montoya received her BA in education and MA with an emphasis on at-risk youth from the College of Santa Fe, and her BA and MS in economics and information science from the University of Pittsburgh. Montoya is certified as a Level Three-B Pre K–12 Administrator and has her TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification and Information Technology Coordinator and Library Media endorsements. She has worked with the NDI NM (National Dance Institute) to bring arts and healthy lifestyle programs to underserved children in New Mexico and understands the importance of arts education.

Moderator: Kersti Tyson

Kersti Tyson is a Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, Educational Leadership, and Policy (TEELP) at the University of New Mexico.