Speakers and Sessions

WHY POSITIVE MINDS SUCCEED

In order for students to thrive and succeed in today's high-stress, changing and chaotic world, they will need skills well beyond good test scores. Brain, behavioral and positive psychology research has shown that the most important skills for school/college success and achievement, life satisfaction, good health and wellbeing are resilience and positive emotions: optimism, gratitude, empathy, kindness and happiness. Discover why positive emotions are important for school success, wellbeing and behavior, ways to build student resilience against rising anxiety, adversity, bullying and depression, and strategies for promoting positive minds, students and schools.

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Explore the Latest Research on:
  • How Gratitude Builds Strengths, Resilience and School Success
  • The Brain Science of Positive Emotions, Thinking and Wellbeing
  • Strategies to Foster Optimistic, Empathetic and Grateful Children
  • Ways to Develop Positive Schools, Behaviors and School Climate
  • Promoting Positive Relationships, Empathy and Prosocial Skills
  • Applying Brain/Behavior/Positive Science to Help Children Thrive
  • Creating Caring, Courageous and Connected Children and Teens
  • Effects of Stress, Adversity, Poor Environments on Achievement
  • Interventions for Depression, Negative Behaviors and Bullying
  • The Role of Emotions and Environment on Reading and Math
  • Raising Resilience, Grit and Mindfulness in Students

Featured Speakers

Martin E.P. Seligman, PhD

Founder and "Father" of Positive Psychology; Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology; Director, Positive Psychology Center; Director, Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of happiness and Well-being (2012), Learned Optimism (2006), The Optimistic Child (2007) and Authentic Happiness (2004)

Linda Graham, MFT

Experienced Psychotherapist; Teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion; Author, Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being (2013), Winner of the 2014 Books for a Better World Award

Elaine Fox, PhD

Director, Oxford Centre for Emotions and Affective Science; Professor, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford; Author, Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: How to Retrain Your Brain to Overcome Pessimism and Achieve a More Positive Outlook (2012) and Emotion Science: Cognitive and Neuroscientific Approaches to Understanding Human Emotions (2008)

Michele Borba, EdD

Psychologist; Bullying Prevention and Character Development Expert; Author, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (2016), The 6Rs of Bullying Prevention (2016) and Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing (2002)

Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, LCSW

Psychotherapist; Executive Director, The Center for Connection; Director of Parenting Education, Mindsight Institute; Child Development Specialist, Saint Marks School; Co-Author of the New York Times Bestsellers, The Whole-Brain Child (2012) and No-Drama Discipline (2014)

Jessica Lahey, JD

High School English Teacher; Columnist/Blogger, New York Times; Author, The Gift Of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed (2015), a New York Times Bestseller

Horacio Sanchez, MEd

President/CEO, Resiliency Inc., Former Teacher; Author, The Education Revolution: How to Apply Brain Science to Improve Instruction and School Climate (2016) and A Brain-Based Approach to Closing the Achievement Gap (2008)

Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP

Positive Psychology Expert; Guest Lecturer, Wharton Executive Education Program, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Getting Grit: The Evidence-Based Approach to Cultivate Passion, Perseverance and Purpose (2017), Positively Caroline (2013) and Creating Your Best Life (2009)

Anthony Biglan, PhD

Research Scientist, Nurture Networks, LLC; Senior Scientist, Oregon Research Institute; Co-Director, Promise Neighborhood Research Consortium; Author, The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives and Our World (2015); Co-Author, Helping Adolescents at Risk (2005)

Giacomo Bono, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology Department, College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, California State University, Dominguez Hills; Co-Author, Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character (2015); Co-Author, "Nice thinking! An educational intervention That Teaches Children How to Think Gratefully" (2014, School Psychology Review) and "Being Grateful is Beyond Good Manners: Gratitude and Motivation to Contribute to Society Among Early Adolescents" (2010, Motivation and Emotion)

Positive Minds: The Science of Optimism, Gratitude & School Success

Positive Education and Positive Psychology

Martin E.P. Seligman, PhD

Founder and "Father" of Positive Psychology; Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology; Director, Positive Psychology Center; Director, Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of happiness and Well-being (2012), Learned Optimism (2006), The Optimistic Child (2007) and Authentic Happiness (2004)

Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: The Science of Optimism and a Positive Outlook

Elaine Fox, PhD

Director, Oxford Centre for Emotions and Affective Science; Professor, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford; Author, Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: How to Retrain Your Brain to Overcome Pessimism and Achieve a More Positive Outlook (2012) and Emotion Science: Cognitive and Neuroscientific Approaches to Understanding Human Emotions (2008)

From Grateful Students to Great Schools: The Promise of Gratitude in Education

Giacomo Bono, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology Department, College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, California State University, Dominguez Hills; Co-Author, Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character (2015); Co-Author, "Nice thinking! An educational intervention That Teaches Children How to Think Gratefully" (2014, School Psychology Review) and "Being Grateful is Beyond Good Manners: Gratitude and Motivation to Contribute to Society Among Early Adolescents" (2010, Motivation and Emotion)

Brain-Targeted Teaching: Promoting Positive Emotions for Learning

Mariale M. Hardiman, EdD

Professor of Clinical Education; Vice Dean, Academic Affairs; Co-Founder/Director, Neuro-Education Initiative (NEI), School of Education, Johns Hopkins University; Author, The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model for 21st Century Schools (2012); Co-Author, “The Science of Education: Informing Teaching and Learning Through the Brain Sciences” (2009, Cerebrum)

The Formative Five: Preparing Students for Success in School and Life

Thomas R. Hoerr, PhD

Emeritus Head of New City Schools; Scholar-in-Residence, University of Missouri-St. Louis; Author, The Formative Five: Fostering Grit, Empathy and Other Success Skills Every Student Needs (2016), Fostering Grit: How Do I Prepare My Students for the Real World (2013) and The Art of School Leadership (2006)

The Science Behind Positive Thinking

Gabriele E. Oettingen, PhD

Professor of Psychology; Director, The Motivation Lab, New York University; Author, "Pragmatic Prospection: How and Why People Think About the Future" (2016, Review of General Psychology) and Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation (2014)

Gratitude in a Changing Brain

Christina M. Karns, PhD

Director, Brain Development Lab; Director, Emotions and Neuroplasticity Project; Research Associate and Instructor, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon; Co-Author, "Gratitude, Giving, and Gains: An fMRI Study of Gratitude Related Altruism" (Forthcoming, 2017, Positive Emotions and Neuroplasticity)

Positive Activities in the Classroom: The Impact of Kindness and Gratitude in Adolescents

Christina N. Armenta, MA, PhD Candidate

Positive Activities and Well-Being (Sonja Lyubomirsky's Lab), University of California, Riverside; Researcher studying gratitude and compassion; National Science Foundation Research Fellow; Co-Author, "Functions of Positive Emotions: Gratitude as a Motivator of Self-Improvement and Positive Change" (2016, Emotion Review)

Resilient Minds: The Science of Student Stress, Grit & Resilience

The Gift of Failure: Fostering Intrinsic Motivation and Resilience in Kids

Jessica Lahey, JD

High School English Teacher; Columnist/Blogger, New York Times; Author, The Gift Of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed (2015), a New York Times Bestseller

Grit in the Classroom -- Teachers on the Frontline of Change

Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP

Positive Psychology Expert; Guest Lecturer, Wharton Executive Education Program, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Getting Grit: The Evidence-Based Approach to Cultivate Passion, Perseverance and Purpose (2017), Positively Caroline (2013) and Creating Your Best Life (2009)

Making Mindfulness Stick: Promoting Positivity and Resilience Through Meditation

Christopher Willard, PsyD

Psychotherapist and Educational Consultant; Lecturer in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Board Member, The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy; Author, Growing Up Mindful: Essential Practices to Help Children, Teens and Families Find Balance, Calm and Resilience (2016) and Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety (2014)

Resilience: The Neuroscience of Learning to Cope with Disappointment, Difficulty and Even Disaster

Linda Graham, MFT

Experienced Psychotherapist; Teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion; Author, Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being (2013), Winner of the 2014 Books for a Better World Award

The Science of Positive Emotions: Promoting Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Michele M. Tugade, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology; Director, Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory, Vassar College; Author, "Positive Emotions, Coping and Resilience" (2011, Handbook of Stress, Health and Coping); Co-Author with Barbara Fredrickson on "Psychophysiology of Resilience" (2008, Biobehavioral Resilience to Stress); Lead Editor, Handbook of Positive Emotions (2016)

Think Positive, Act Smart: The Role of Executive Function in Emotional Strength and Resilience

Kathleen M. Kryza, MA

Master Teacher; CIO, Infinite Horizons; Co-Author, Developing Growth Mindsets in the Inspiring Classroom (2011) and Differentiation for Real Classrooms (2009)

Jack A. Naglieri, PhD

Research Professor, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia; Senior Research Scientist, Devereux Foundation Center for Resilient Children; Author, Helping Children Learn, 2nd Edition (2011); Co-Author, Comprehensive Inventory of Executive Function (2012) and Devereux Early Childhood Assessment, 2nd Edition (2012)

Wired for Control: How a Sense of Control Lowers Stress, Builds Motivation and Creates a Healthy Brain

William R. Stixrud, PhD

Clinical Neuropsychologist; Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, George Washington School of Medicine; Adjunct Faculty, Children’s National Medical Center; Director, William Stixrud and Associates; Co-Author, Wired for Control (2017)

Ned Johnson, BA

President and Founder, PrepMatters; Co-Author, Wired for Control (2017) and Conquering the SAT: How Parents Can Help Teens Overcome the Pressure and Succeed (2006)

Connected Minds: Enhancing Empathy & Positive Relationships

Empathy is a Verb: Lessons for Learning Real Success in the Digital Age

Michele Borba, EdD

Psychologist; Bullying Prevention and Character Development Expert; Author, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (2016), The 6Rs of Bullying Prevention (2016) and Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing (2002)

The Human Brain and Empathy

James A. Coan, PhD

Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology; Director of the Virginia Affective Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia; Co-Author, "Familiarity Promotes the Blurring of Self and Other in the Neural Representation of Threat" (2013, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience) and "Empathy is Associated with Dynamic Change in Prefrontal Brain Electrical Activity During Positive Emotion in Children" (2009, Child Development); Co-Editor, Handbook of Emotion Elicitation and Assessment

Wired to Connect: The Brain Science of Strong, Healthy Relationships

Amy E. Banks, MD

Creator, The C.A.R.E. Program; Director of Advanced Training, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College; Former Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Author, Wired to Connect: The Brain Science of Strong, Healthy Relationships (2016); Co-Author, Four Ways to Click: Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships (2015)

Prosocial Behavior, Social Influences and Social Support for Motivation and Academic Success

Kathryn R. Wentzel, PhD

Professor, Department of Human Development, Learning and Quantitative Methodology, College of Education, University of Maryland; Co-Author, Social Influences on Social-Emotional, Motivation and Cognitive Outcomes in School Contexts (2016), Handbook of Motivation at School, 2nd Edition (2015) and "Emotional Support and Expectations for Behavior from Peers, Teachers and Parents: Predictors of Adolescent Competence at School" (2015, Journal of Educational Psychology) and "Socialization in School Settings" (2014, Handbook of Social Development, 2nd Edition)

Teach Peace: Developing Empathy and Hope in the Classroom

Kathleen M. Kryza, MA

Master Teacher; CIO, Infinite Horizons; Co-Author, Developing Growth Mindsets in the Inspiring Classroom (2011) and Differentiation for Real Classrooms (2009)

Behaved Minds: Battling Bullying & Improving School Climate

The Whole-Brain Child: Regulating Behavior and Addressing Emotions in the Classroom

Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, LCSW

Psychotherapist; Executive Director, The Center for Connection; Director of Parenting Education, Mindsight Institute; Child Development Specialist, Saint Marks School; Co-Author of the New York Times Bestsellers, The Whole-Brain Child (2012) and No-Drama Discipline (2014)

The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Schools and Our World

Anthony Biglan, PhD

Research Scientist, Nurture Networks, LLC; Senior Scientist, Oregon Research Institute; Co-Director, Promise Neighborhood Research Consortium; Author, The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives and Our World (2015); Co-Author, Helping Adolescents at Risk (2005)

The Education Revolution: How to Apply Brain Science to Improve School Climate

Horacio Sanchez, MEd

President/CEO, Resiliency Inc., Former Teacher; Author, The Education Revolution: How to Apply Brain Science to Improve Instruction and School Climate (2016) and A Brain-Based Approach to Closing the Achievement Gap (2008)

How to Teach Students the 9 Essential Habits of Empathy and Create Safe, Compassionate Learning Environments

Michele Borba, EdD

Psychologist; Bullying Prevention and Character Development Expert; Author, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (2016), The 6Rs of Bullying Prevention (2016) and Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing (2002)

The Impact of Bullying in Childhood and Long-Term Consequences

William E. Copeland, PhD

Associate Professor, Center for Developmental Epidemiology and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine; Co-Author, "Bully/Victims: a Longitudinal, Population-based Cohort Study of Their Mental Health" (2015, European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) and "Impact of Bullying in Childhood on Adult Health, Wealth, Crime, and Social Outcomes" (2013, Psychological Science)

Stressed Minds: Overcoming Adversity to Improve Wellbeing

We Are the Medicine: Prioritizing Possibilities to Address Early Life Adversity and Promoting Child Well Being

Christina D. Bethell, PhD

Professor; Director, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University; Co-Author, "Adverse Childhood Experiences, Resilience and Mindfulness-Based Approaches: Common Denominator Issues for Children with Emotional, Mental, or Behavioral Problems" (2016, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America)

Childhood Disrupted: How Children's Biography Becomes Their Biology and How We Ensure Their Resiliency

Donna Jackson Nakazawa, BA

Award Winning Science Journalist and Researcher; 2012 Award Winner from the International Congress on Autoimmunity for her lifetime contribution to autoimmune disease; Author, Childhood Disrutped: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal (2015), which examines the lifelong consequences -- both emotional and physical -- of adverse childhood experiences

Why Environment Matters: The Effects of Enriched and Impoverished Brains

John T. Almarode, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Early, Elementary & Reading Education; Co-Director, Center for STEM Education and Outreach, College of Education, James Madison University; Co-Author, Engaged Instruction: Thriving Classrooms in the Age of the Common Core (2014), Captivate, Activate, and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math (2013) and Dylan Discovers His Brain (2010)

Neuroanatomical Correlates of Income and Adversity on Achievement

John D.E. Gabrieli, PhD

Grover Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology; Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Co-Director, Clinical Research Center; Associate Director, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Co-Author, "Neuroanatomical Correlates of the Income-Achievement Gap" (2015, Psychological Science)

Emotional Minds: Using Emotions to Improve Math, STEM & Literacy

What Brain Imaging Tells Us About Reading and Reading Intervention

Guinevere F. Eden, DPhil

Professor, Department of Pediatrics; Director, Center for the Study of Learning, Georgetown University; Past President, International Dyslexia Association; Co-Author, "Neuroanatomical Evidence in Support of the Bilingual Advantage Theory" (2016, Cerebral Cortex), "An Investigation into the Origin of Anatomical Differences in Dyslexia" (2014, Journal of Neuroscience) and “The Role of Neuroscience in the Remediation of Students with Dyslexia” (2002, Nature Neuroscience)

The Roots and Fruits of Academic Grit and Self-Efficacy (Reading and Math)

Ellen L. Usher, PhD

Director, Motivation and Learning Lab; Associate Professor, University of Kentucky; Associate Editor, British Journal of Educational Psychology; Co-Author, "Assessing Mathematics Self-Efficacy" (2015, Journal of Early Adolescence) and "Exploring the Correlations Among Creativity, Grit and Mathematics Achievement in Socioeconomically Diverse Schools" (2012, Research on Children at Risk)

Mental Math Flexibility, Stress and Emotional Health

Matthew A. Scult, PhD Candidate

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University; Visiting Researcher, University of California, Berkeley; Co-Author, "Thinking and Feeling: Individual Differences in Habitual Emotion Regulation and Stress-Related Mood are Associated with Prefrontal Executive Control" (2016, Clinical Psychological Science) and "Integrating a Relaxation Response-Based Curriculum into a Public High School in Massachusetts" (2012, Journal of Adolescence)

Environmental Influences on the Development of Language and the Reading Brain

John D.E. Gabrieli, PhD

Grover Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology; Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Co-Director, Clinical Research Center; Associate Director, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Co-Author, "Neuroanatomical Correlates of the Income-Achievement Gap" (2015, Psychological Science)

Writing, Apps and Online-Based Interventions that Promote Positive Emotions in Schools

Acacia C. Parks, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Hiram College; Blogger, Psychology Today; Author, "The State of Positive Psychology in Higher Education: Introduction to the Special Issue" (2011, Journal of Positive Psychology); Editor, Positive Psychology in Higher Education (2014); Co-Editor, Activities for Teaching Positive Psychology (2013)

How Encouraging an Empathic Mindset in Math Teachers Reduces Suspensions in Adolescents

Jason A. Okonofua, PhD

Post-Doctoral Researcher, Department of Psychology, Stanford University; Co-Author, “Brief Intervention to Encourage Empathic Discipline Cuts Suspension Rates in Half Among Adolescents” (2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)