TRANSCEND Curriculum

Proseminar in Educational Neuroscience (PENS; 6 units over 2 semesters)

  • The primary vehicle for learning will be a full-year course, coordinated by TRANSCEND faculty
  • This course will have two arms:
    1. scientific and technical topics, e.g., learning sciences including cognitive neuroscience relevant to education, STEM education, clinical approaches to neurodiversity, technology based assessment and learning tools, and research methods such as neuroimaging, statistics and AI-ML.
    2. professional development and “soft skills”, e.g., ethics, the open science framework/reproducibility, team science, project management, leadership, teaching/mentoring, communications, outreach, and STEM careers. Leaders and stakeholders from Partner Organizations will be asked to present in their area of expertise or on their personal journeys.

External Workshops (annually)

  • Trainees will be encouraged to apply to at least one course per year, either on methods (e.g., AFNI bootcamp, Neuromatch Academy, CIME workshop, MSRI, etc.) or management skills (e.g., training as a Team Coach after they complete the 1st year Challenge Team or in Agile project management workshops/training programs designed by Cornell University etc)
  • Travel funds are budgeted for all trainees throughout the 4-year traineeship.

Outreach Seminar (1 unit)

  • A Science Outreach Seminar will be led by TRANSCEND faculty
  • The outreach seminar will provide mentored experience in developing and delivering community outreach presentations to K-12 students, educators, policy makers, and the general public.
  • This seminar will be informed by our ongoing work, where we have been running both in-person science outreach to educators and K-12 students (reaching ~2,000 annually) as well as a remote zoom-based science outreach program, “Ask A Brain Scientist” Series (~300 annually).
  • We will also collaborate with the UConn Encounters Program to develop community-centered events (held off-campus, e.g., a public library) in which members of the public participate in facilitated discussions about challenging and divisive topics (e.g., the Reading Wars; Why is it better to know about the brain to teach and learn?).
  • Trainees will be able to apply their SciComm knowledge in these real-world settings!

Challenge Team (Year 1)

  • The primary vehicle for research and team science experience will be the year-long Challenge Team research project coordinated by Dr. Ido Davidesco.

Internships and International Experiences (end of Year 1 summer, or any summer)

  • We will strongly encourage trainees to take internship opportunities, which provide a critical tool for expanding the STEM workforce in non-academic institutions.
  • We have assembled connections to a wide array of 38 partners (12 international), where most have agreed to provide internships.
  • Summer internships will be offered at the end of the fellowship year and every summer thereafter.
  • The TRANSCEND Orientation and Handbook will provide an overview of internship opportunities offered by Partner Organizations.
  • Internships will strengthen ongoing and new relationships with industry, NPOs and other sectors.

Community building

  • To foster a coherent sense of identity, we will organize regular activities such as social events, mentoring, and tutoring/coaching services!
  • All trainees will play a major role on one of the administrative committees, and/or in the organization of J-Term, Talk Shop, and Annual Showcase, providing opportunities to hone their leadership and project management skills after PENS didactics on relevant topics.

Annual Showcase

  • Each spring, a committee of trainees, faculty, and partners will organize this event where Challenge Teams will present their research projects to an interdisciplinary group of TRANSCEND and non-TRANSCEND faculty and students, Advisory Committee members, Partner Organizations, trainees’ families, and neurodiverse undergraduate students from our two NSF INCLUDES partners, as well as community stakeholders, extending the event’s potential impact.
  • The event will include a Keynote Speaker, Panel Discussion and Breakout Groups where topics include emergent issues in EdNeuro, neurodiversity, and the STEM workforce.

Talk Shop (SciComm Practicum; 1 unit; weekly)

  • Trainees will participate in this weekly series, with a richly interdisciplinary audience of approximately 80 members from Psychology, Education, Computer Science, Engineering, Math, Behavioral Neuroscience, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences.
  • This series comprises 30-minute presentations with an emphasis on interdisciplinary communication, followed by vigorous discussion of both research content and communication strategies (i.e., talk mechanics).

J-Term Workshops (1 unit; Winter breaks annually)

  • J-Term is a vibrant week-long specialized course, organized by trainees and students from other training programs
  • They identify novel skills and gaps in training, including content areas (e.g., genetics or dynamic systems), specific tools/techniques (e.g., speech or neuroimaging analysis), programming (e.g., Python), ethics (e.g., topics in the Responsible Conduct of Research), and advanced statistics (e.g., mixed effects models in R), etc.
  • Hence, J-Term also provides opportunities for leadership, collaboration and teamwork!

Click here to view J-Term 2023