Director of CANDLE; Professor of Education, Psychology & Neuroscience
USC CANDLE; USC Rossier School of Education; Brain & Creativity Institute
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang (Ed.D. Harvard University) is a professor of education psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California and founding director of the USC Center for Affective Neuroscience Development Learning and Education (candle.usc.edu). Her work pairs in-depth qualitative interviews with longitudinal brain imaging and psychophysiological recording to reveal coordinated mental neural and bodily processes by which adolescents and their teachers build meaning—deliberating on the abstract systems-level and ethical implications of complex information social situations and identities. Her research underscores the active role youth play in their own brain and psychosocial development through the narratives they construct and capacities teachers cultivate to support student belonging and deep learning. She conducts her work in partnership with expert educators and diverse youth from the low-SES communities where she works. She writes and speaks extensively on the implications for redesigning schools around curiosity and civic reasoning to promote intellectual vibrance and thriving. She has received numerous awards for her research and impact on society including from the AAAS the PNAS editorial board the AERA APS FABBS IMBES the US Army and others. She served on the NAS committee writing How People Learn II and as a distinguished scientist on the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social Emotional and Academic Development.