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 2021-2022 Teacher-Scholar Program have closed. We expect to recruit teachers for the 2022-2023 program in May 2022.

Meet the 2020-2021 Teacher Scholars


Andrew Anderson

[email protected]

Angeli Maystry

Hillcrest High School

Anna Solovyeva

Harvest Collegiate High School (02M534)

Bonnie Lestz

John Adams High School

Danielle DeBenedetto

75 Morton Middle School (02M297)

Deborah Reich

World View High School 

Dorit Eilon 

 Bayside High School 

Francesca DiPietro

Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies

Franchesca Fritas

Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts

Jessica Abrams

Liberty Avenue Middle School

Jessica Kim

Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School (02M615)

Mashfiq Ahmed

John Dewey High School (21K540)

Melissa Braxton

International High School at Prospect Heights

Meng-Ping Tu

Stuyvesant High School

Michael Becker

Kipp NYC College Prep HS

Nicole Holmes

Renaissance High School for Musical Theatre and the Arts

Preeti Natarajan

M560 as City School High School 

Ramona Fittipaldi

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

Tamanna Shahid

Eleanor Roosevelt High School

Tchnavia Merrick

Brooklyn Prospect High School

Theresa Stanley 

Quest to Learn 

Vanessa Keen 

Harry S. Truman High School (X455)

Verithia Hood

Frederick Douglass Academy II

Vincent Joralemon

Frank McCourt High School


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 


This program is made possible with generous support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Our Sponsor: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation

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I came upon the Teacher-Scholar Program and it was exactly the type of professional development I needed. Unlike other professional development programs the Teacher-Scholar programs brings in real scientists and the scientific community. I have invited my students to all of the Columbia Lectures and they love the opportunity to be a part of a larger scientific community. 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.
Brittany Klimowicz
Living Environment and neuroscience elective teacher