Columbia University in the City of New York

BrainSTEM in Action

Teacher professional development (Credit: Lou Rocco for Columbia's Zuckerman Institute)

Chancellor’s Day Professional Development


Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute offers CTLE eligible professional development opportunities for NYC high school STEM teachers on Chancellor’s Day. Although topics vary each year, BrainSTEM In Action allows teachers to see research spaces firsthand, participate in hands-on demos, discuss cutting-edge neuroscience research, and tailor lesson plans to their own classroom.


Note: Registration for our 2023 workshop on the topic "Neuroscience of Anxiety: STEM learning to promote social-emotional growth" is now closed. BrainSTEM In Action will be on a hiatus in 2024 while we focus on the new Neuroethics Teacher Institute Program. Please check back in spring 2025 for more information on BrainSTEM In Action.


2023 Program


For Chancellor’s Day, June 8, 2023, the Zuckerman Institute will host a day of professional development for New York City high-school teachers. This year's topic will focus on the neuroscience of anxiety in STEM learning, especially math and test-taking, and teachers will have the option to engage in observational and experiential activities. 


Participants have two options for joining:


Option 1 - Morning only
Free workshop - Teachers will tour the Zuckerman Institute’s fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) research facility, examine brain scan data, and discuss neuroscience studies exploring math anxiety and fear. 
Duration: 9:00-11:30 am
Workshop size: 36


Option 2 - Full day
Workshop with stipend - Teachers will complete the morning workshop, and in the afternoon, they will apply insights from the morning to customize a lesson based on teaching students tools to reduce math anxiety, work with other teachers to devise new educational material, and practice delivering their lesson.
Duration: 9:00-4:00pm
Workshop size: 20
Stipend: $300 per teacher



Additional details


This professional development opportunity is open to all classroom educational staff in the New York City area including all teachers and teaching assistants/paraprofessionals. Only educators participating in the full day will receive $300 as compensation for the day. 


The day begins at 9:00am with light refreshments. Lunch for all teachers will be provided from 11:30am-1:00pm.


The workshop will take place in the Education Lab on the first floor of Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute (Jerome L. Greene Science Center, 605 W. 129th St, New York, NY 10027). Proof of vaccination is required for this workshop. 


Due to Zuckerman’s Institute commitment to achieving the goal of helping to reduce socioeconomic disparities in the STEM, preference will be given to individuals who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Upper Manhattan/South Bronx schools

- Title 1 Eligible School

- Teachers who see themselves directly using this material in their classroom
- Teachers in STEM subjects and/or STEM-focused High Schools


Selection for the program will be determined first by these preference criteria and then by lottery. Because of limited workshop capacity, our team will let you know by May 1, 2023 if you have secured a spot in the 2023 program.


Testimonials from 2022

"I am going to integrate the anxiety retuding interventions into my classroom - immediately. [...] The information was helpful, useful, and applicable, and the tour was cool and interesting."


"The whole workshop was amazing and I think it was great talking with everyone. I am going to give these materials to my teachers for them to use ASAP!"


"I enjoyed that we got to discuss and brainstorm with our colleagues and the practical strategies for integrating SEL into any living environment class."


"I learned so much about MRIs and got to connect with lovely educators. [I'll be] using the [anxiety] interventions with students before the Regents."