My talk on the Neurobiology of Innovation with social neuroscientist Caroline Szymanski, creativity researcher Sergio Agnoli and Stanford computational neuroscientist Manish Saggar at the dconfestival berlin
"Thank you Stefanie. I run a charitable Trust that has a focus on assisting people with Depression and Anxiety. I follow your podcasts and have got my partner onto them as well. We both find these so helpful in our line of work ( She is a clinical psychologist) and find your content very informative and very digestible to pass onto others in our work. Thank you for what you do."
I'm a neuroscience specialist and educator focused on improving life outcomes for diverse populations by giving actionable and engaging neuroscience education that transforms mindsets and behaviors.
My expertise is in coaching and teaching people how to use their mind-brain-body in ways that increase their sense of agency, self-compassion and sense of meaning and purpose. I'm particularly skilled at helping people who have a history of adverse early experiences and family dysfunction.
I also help individuals and organizations get the deepest understanding of themselves and others' behaviors by translating complex scientific concepts into real-world language that applies to how we build resilience, growth mindset, trust and psychological safety for ourselves and with others.
Through my individualized coaching, group training and professional development seminars, I bridge the gap between research and application to help people find new ways of using their talents, discomforts, failures, and challenges as pathways to growth and evolution.
I’ve worked with top-tier organizations such as Google, Stanford University, the Hasso Plattner Institute for Design, Northwestern University, Alberta Children’s Hospital, the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, City Colleges of Chicago, the Department of Defense, the Canada School of Public Service and many more,
I'm a former researcher and have spent parts of my career measuring electric conductance of the skin (GSR), facial electromyography (EMG), and heart rate. I currently work with quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG), rhythmic sinus arrhythmia (heart rate variability), neurofeedback, and transcranial magnetic stimulation for clinical treatment at an intensive outpatient mental health clinic.
My graduate research at New York University and fieldwork at the NYU Phelps lab for neuroscience research, the NYU Institute for Prevention Science and Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine focused on the cross-section of self-directed neuroplasticity, family emotional climates, and empathy.
For the past decade, I've been teaching and consulting in countries all over the world by combining scientific insights and my training in monasteries with meditation masters from India, Africa and Vietnam.
From 2017-2018, I delivered a series of workshops for Google's Analytical Academy in London, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Munich and Singapore focused on the Science of Learning.
I'm also a former intelligence analyst, french teacher to diplomats and the creator of the Mindset Neuroscience Podcast.
One of my favorite talks was at the Symposium on Neuroscience and Physiological Perspectives on Design Thinking and Creativity hosted by Stanford University and the Hasso Plattner Institute for Design in Berlin. The theme was 'Embodied Creativity and Cognition'.
"I teach high school history and I have a 20 year old son with generalized anxiety disorder. I find your videos extremely clarifying for both teaching and guiding my son through his disorder. I am only three videos in and I am hooked! I plan on using this to help me get ready for next school year, as it may look very different from my last 28 years."
-Gina Hanna, Teacher and Super-Regulator
PAST CLIENTS INCLUDE:
Northwestern University, School of Education and Social Policy
Northeastern University, Chicago
Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking, Berlin
City Colleges of Chicago
Illinois State University, Department of Education
University of California San Diego, School of Medicine
Tutoring Chicago (formerly Cabrini Green Tutoring)
EHOVE Career Training, Ohio
Blue Valley School District, Missouri
Horizon Science Academy, Chicago
Christopher House Chicago
Oak Park String Academy
Suzuki Music Association
Empowerment through Education and Exposure, Chicago
Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth, Canada
Alberta Children's Hospital, Canada
Independence School District, Missouri
"Your comments about perseverance gained by applying our strengths to a self-transcendent purpose have informed our practices around how we at Harrigan Solutions develop our employees. Thanks for this life changing insight."
This is me with the headmasters of Namaskar primary school in Ejura, Ghana (years ago!)
Graduates of my Institute for Mindset, Resilience and Innovation training
A bit more about me:
- At NYU, I was honored to be mentored by Zoran Josipovic, whose research on mindfulness and meditation inspired me to train and study at various monasteries with meditation masters from India, Vietnam and Africa.
- I also had the privilege of working with social neuroscientist Lasana Harris, whose passion for promoting human dignity continues to inspire my work today.
- I've lived and worked in several different cities, including New York, Brooklyn, Chicago, Brussels, Copenhagen, Las Vegas, Ottawa, my hometown of Calgary Canada, as well as Ghana and Central and South America.
- A life-shifting experience for me was taking high school graduates on a service-learning year abroad, where we did volunteer work, got stuck in a hurricane, and learned how to use painful life experiences to build a sense of purpose and service to others.
“I love that you use biological/ scientific facts of how our brains and bodies are historically designed, as well as how experiences and environments shape our behavior. It’s been more helpful than any doctors, therapists, yoga gurus, etc.
Thank you for giving us the hope and the inspiration to learn more."
-Caroline Bigley, email & podcast subscriber
My "unprofessional' bio
My favorite book is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. He points out that we often ask questions that only reveal 'data', number, and labels of people. But what really matters is finding out what people love, what brings them joy, soothing, pain and comfort.
I can spend hours playing with and talking with children. People have observed me spending hours lost in conversation with them - I love to hear about what they are thinking and observing
One of my greatest joys comes from seeing a kid really be themselves - joyful, curious, paying attention to what interests them. That's why I devoted two decades of my life caring for them and creating environments that would help them feel safe.
I first got a glimpse of 'neuroplasticity' when I taught French to adults - some of whom were close to retirement. I was able to help them become advanced French speakers within one year. It was full-time, eight hours a day of training - but it confirmed to me that many of our ideas about the adult brain's capacity to learn were outdated and wrong.
Although I find great solace and joy when I am in nature and with animals, my greatest yearning is to navigate the chaotic and complex realm of human to human interaction. I dream of being able to create things that can bridge communities who dislike, disagree with, or are even disgusted by each other - and build understanding and compassion between them because of the collision of those worlds.
I also would love one day to travel to different corners of the world and explore how ancestral knowledge from different communities connect with each other, and with our most updated understanding of science - including the brain as well as the physics and 'mechanics' of the universe.
What if… the way humans are now - the version we are all familiar with - is not the 'end of the line? What if we are on our way to something better?
What if… through the chaos, complexity and connectivity of the human species as it is now... a new type of human is emerging?
“What matters is not how things are, but how they interact.“ – Carlo Rovelli, theoretical physicist, in his book, Reality is Not What It Seems Relationships are the key to building our most powerful mind. Our relationships with others build…
Many of our patterns – whether we want to admit it or not – come from our childhood. It’s hard to get around this fact. This is because when we are young, our brain is specializing its algorithms and…
Something i see happen quite a bit in the mental health field is that a lot of people are seeking a quick fix and a way to alleviate their symptoms. This is completely understandable, and might be needed in…
In this podcast episode, I talk about something called ‘shifting the burden’. It’s about the topic of what we depend on ourselves for, and what we look to others to help us with. The balance of our dependence on ourselves and others – whether in adaptive maladaptive ways – is based on our first experiences with depending on someone.
Many of us simply don’t know how deeply emotional of a subject this is. It is one of our most primitive, primal CORE-to-the-CORE experiences of being human… a battle between wanting to be independent and self-sufficient, and yet also knowing that one of our deepest desires is to connect in authentic ways with others.
My reflection questions at the end of the episode are about your doubts, desires and dependencies – how they interplay on each other and how they’ve been formed over time – through your experiences with others.. and what they’ve doubted, desired and depended on in their own lives.
I hope you find something in this episode helpful.