Columbia University in the City of New York

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Teacher-Scholar Program

Teacher-Scholars in class (Credit: David Dini).

Continuing education for secondary school teachers

Applications for the 2024-2025 Teacher-Scholar Program are now open! Please submit your applications by June 3rd at 11:59pm and email [email protected] with any questions.


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.


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


Program Structure

Teachers attend four lectures (two per semester) as part of the Brain Insight Lecture Series, 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. Professional Development activities occur the day of 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 the neuroscience into the classroom, aligning it with the science and engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards.


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 Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Zuckerman Institute (located on the Manhattanville Campus of 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 activities or lesson plans incorporating the lecture content presented in the Brain Insight Teacher-Scholar Program.


Stipend and supplies money

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 lectures at any time.


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.




“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 2023-2024 Teacher Scholars




Aaron Licari

Robert Goddard MS202

Alejandro Mundo

Kingsbridge International High School

Andrew Anderson


Annycardeli Lopez

Eagle Academy for Young Men Staten Island

Brittany Beck

High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology

Claryliz Peralta Rodriguez 

KIPP NYC College Prep

Deborah Reich

World View High School 

Emma Schmich

Albert Shanker School for Visual and Performing Arts

Erik Shold

High School for Fashion Industries

Gian Fasano

MESA Charter High School

Gwendolyn Salas

Comprehensive Model School Project 09X327

Karol Petreshock

Nest + M

Lavonne Hunter

City-As School

Mariya Barreras

Mott Hall High School

Michael Becker

KIPP NYC College Prep High School

Rachel Wax

Eleanor Roosevelt High School

Ramona Fittipaldi

The Young Women's Leadership School of East Harlem

Ramsha Farooq

Edward R Murrow High School

Renee Jones

Urban Assembly for Future Leaders IS 286

Sean McFadden

Eagle Academy for Young Men II

Shannette Richards

Wings Academy High School

Stephen Kos New Explorations into Science, Technology + Mathematics
Tchnavia Merrick Math Engineering Science Academy HS

Theresa Stanley

Quest to Learn




Meet the Teacher Scholars Program Team


Madalyn McDaniel

Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce

Maia Gumnit, PhD 

Public Programs Manager, Zuckerman Institute 

Our Sponsor: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation

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