Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, University of Southern California
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D., is a professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California (USC) and the director of the USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning and Education (CANDLE). She studies the psychological and neurobiological development of emotion and self-awareness, and connections to social, cognitive and moral development in educational settings. Immordino-Yang uses cross-cultural, interdisciplinary studies of narratives and feelings to uncover experience-dependent neural mechanisms that contribute to identity, intrinsic motivation, deep learning, and generative, creative and abstract thought. Her work focuses on adolescents from low socio-economic status communities, and she involves youths from these communities as junior scientists. A former urban public junior high-school science teacher, she earned her doctorate in human development and psychology at Harvard University in 2005, and completed her postdoctoral training in social-affective neuroscience with Antonio Damasio in 2008. She has received numerous awards for her research and impact on education and society, including an Honor Coin from the U.S. Army, a Commendation from the County of Los Angeles, and a Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences editorial board, as well as early career achievement awards from the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES), and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences Foundation (FABBS). Immordino-Yang was a 2018-2019 Spencer Foundation mid-career fellow; served on a U.S. National Academy of Sciences committee that wrote How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts and Cultures; and served on the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development.