Columbia University in the City of New York

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Teacher-Scholar Program

Teacher-Scholars in class (Credit: Lou Rocco for Columbia's Zuckerman Institute).

Continuing education for secondary school teachers

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Teacher-Scholar Program introduces middle and high school science teachers in New York City to cutting-edge brain science for the duration of a school year. Using the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight Lectures as case studies, the teachers participate in workshops and create a lesson plan each semester that brings neuroscience into their classrooms. 


Teachers who complete the program emerge with greater knowledge of neuroscience, a deeper understanding of the scientific process, and a toolbox of concrete ways to implement their knowledge in the classroom. They also join a vibrant community of education professionals from across the city. What’s it like to be in the Teacher-Scholar Program? Check out some of our teacher experiences on Twitter and Instagram.


Applications for the 2022-2023 Teacher-Scholar Program are now open! 

Deadline extended: noon ET on Thursday, June 2, 2022


Are you a high school teacher in New York City?

Do you teach science or math, or have an interest in brain science? If so, this fellowship is for you. Based at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Teacher-Scholar Program offers an opportunity to learn about cutting-edge neuroscience research and be part of a team creating educational materials to bring neuroscience to the classroom. What’s it like to be in the Teacher-Scholar Program? Check out some of our teacher experiences on Twitter and Instagram.


This is a paid, 1-year fellowship at Columbia University.


*** APPLY NOW ***



Teachers attend four lectures (two per semester), as part of the Brain Insight Lecture Series, and eight seminars (four per semester). Brain Insight Lectures are free and open to the public, in which eminent Columbia scholars examine how brain science intersects with everyday life. Teachers are encouraged to bring colleagues and students to the lectures as well. Seminars are limited to Teacher Scholars and occur approximately directly before and one week after the associated lecture. In these seminars, teachers examine the neuroscience content in more detail and work in groups to design ways to bring neuroscience into the classroom, aligning it with the science and engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards.

We predict that the 2022-2023 Teacher-Scholar Program will go ahead in person, but due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic please note that we may have to make changes to the program including holding some sessions virtually. 


Program dates and subjects


There are four lectures per year on weekdays at 6:30 pm, and eight seminars per year, from 4:30-6:30 pm. Seminars occur on select Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at Columbia University. Lectures and seminar dates are scheduled so as to not conflict with the NYC DOE public school high school calendar. The program calendar will be finalized the summer before the program begins.

The lecture topics for each year are as unique as the changing list of speakers. Lectures from past years have included the science behind adolescent brain development (Dr. Nim Tottenham), mental health disparities across communities (Dr. Sidney Hankerson), using music and entertainment to teach children to identify warning signs of stroke (Olajide Williams, MD), and how neuroscience can help reduce test anxiety in students (Dr. Sian Beilock).



Expectations and deliverables


Satisfactory attendance at seminars and lectures is essential for a successful program experience. Infrequent absences are permitted, provided previous arrangements have been made. Active participation in the seminars and occasional but limited work outside of the seminars is expected. Teacher Scholars are required to create one activity or lesson plan per semester, incorporating the lecture content presented in the program.




Teachers Scholars are paid $1,500 for their involvement in the program ($750 for the first semester and $750 for the second, upon successful completion of attendance and lesson plan requirements).




The Teacher-Scholar Program is open to high school science teachers currently employed by any public, independent, or parochial school in New York City. Teachers must have at least two years of experience teaching by the start of the Teacher-Scholar Program. Applicants must be a US citizen or resident alien. Middle school teachers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

We welcome applications from alumni of the program, with no limit on the number of prior years in the program. All alumni are welcome to attend the public Brain Insight Lectures at any time.


** NEW APPLICANTS ONLY: In addition to your online application, you must also submit your CV or resume to [email protected] **


Apply to Become a Teacher Scholar.

Fill out the application form here.



“The support and ideas I have gained from this program directly affects my curriculum planning and has helped push my lessons to be more exciting and more rigorous.” 
– Teacher Scholar, 2014-2016 (Living Environment & Neuroscience Elective)


“Not only did I come away with new lessons specifically about neuroscience, but I also learned about a teaching pedagogy […] from one of the participants that I have incorporated into my class for several other topics.”
– Teacher Scholar, 2019-2020 (Environmental Science) 

“Being able to work with other highly qualified teachers and having high-level conversations about the nature of neuroscience was a great joy, and left me feeling energized and excited to teach.” 
– Teacher Scholar, 2016-2018 & 2019-2020 (Living Environment & Neuroscience Elective) 



Meet the 2021-2022 Teacher Scholars


Aleena Suchdeve

Queens High School of Teaching Liberal Arts and Sciences (26Q566)      

Alexander Lord

Francis Lewis High School (26Q430)

Amber Fletcher

A. Philip Randolph Campus High School (06M540)

Andrew Anderson


Beverly Lam

Cobble Hill High School of American Studies

Brittany Murdock

Millennium Brooklyn High School (I5K684) 

Carol Wang-Mondaca       

Martin Van Buren High School 

Deborah Reich

World View High School 

Devin Thomas

Brooklyn Technical High School (K430)

Emily Hollyday

West End Secondary School

Emma Iocovozzi

NYC Lab Middle School for Collaborative Studies

Ioana Paunescu

International Community High School (07x334)

Jessica Holzer

Forsyth Satellite Academy (01M458)

Jessica Kim

Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School

Maha Hasen

Fordham High School for the Arts 

Mashfiq Ahmed

John Dewey High School (21K540)

Meng-Ping Tu

Stuyvesant High School

Michael Becker

KIPP NYC College Prep HS 

Preeti Natarajan

HS560 City As School

Ramona Fittipaldi

The Young Women's Leadership School of East Harlem (04M610)

Shana Cooper-Urbas

High School of Arts & Technology (03M494)

Tamanna Shahid

Eleanor Roosevelt High School

Tchnavia Merrick

Math, Engineering and Science Academy

Theresa Stanley 

Quest to Learn (M422)




Meet the Teacher Scholars Program Team


Brittany Klimowicz  

The NYC iSchool

Erik Shold

East High School, Des Moines IA

Diana Li, PhD 

Public Programs Associate, Zuckerman Institute 

Our Sponsor: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation

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