Javier Arguello is the Executive Director of COGx, a Washington-DC based research and development firm in applied neuroscience dedicated to implementing science-based programs that enhance learning outcomes. COGx offers a proprietary methodology to enhance cognition for students through individualized programs; professional development workshops for educators; and, a technology platform that fosters 21st century skills for school systems.
The impetus for his work is personal. At the age of five, Javier and his family escaped a war caused by a US invasion in his home country. He subsequently attended four private and three public schools in three cities and three countries before graduating from high school. The shifting cultures, languages and personal situation led to dramatic changes in his academic performance. At the age of 13, he was diagnosed as “mildly retarded”. By 18, Javier was a community college dropout and had given up on the prospect of a formal college-level education.
Javier then earned scholarships and graduate degrees from Yale and Harvard. He also earned a graduate-level fellowship to conduct research at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
His research on cognitive science was driven by a desire to understand cognition applied to learning and how it could be actively improved with proper interventions. Here Javier collaborated with scientists to develop programs to improve cognitive abilities for individuals through customized one-on-one intervention. This was the genesis of the COGx program.
At COGx, Javier is responsible for designing the corporate strategy that fosters democratizing access to COGx programs through a carefully selected network of private and public organizations serving as partners. Javier’s work was the inspiration for a TEDx event in Washington DC, for which Javier was chosen to present alongside leading neuroscientists.
Dr. Cindy Ward Sandler received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. Dr. Sandler brings to COGx her extensive experience working directly with children and families, as well as the community-at-large. First as a therapist and more recently in her diagnostic testing practice, Dr. Sandler’s focus has always been on helping others be the best they can be. A sought after public speaker, she presents various topics including: learning, development, teaching strategies, and parenting. Co-hosting The Learning Connection and Team Radio, both call-in talk shows, provided a broader audience access to her insight and advice. Additionally, Dr. Sandler is a founding and current board member and advisor for Camp Attaway, a therapeutic day camp for children with behavioral and emotional challenges. Serving as a member of the Maryland Psychological Association’s Ethics Committee allows her opportunities to support other psychologists in the state.
As Director of Learning and Development, Dr. Sandler ensures COGx programs are properly incorporated in both the private sector and schools. Such monitoring allows the program to be as effective as possible in developing independent learners. By working closely with partner schools and teachers, Dr. Sandler shares her experience and insights so teachers are better equipped in identifying learning styles and providing targeted solutions. Her understanding of how a child learns and processes, along with an ability to apply that information to everyday learning and functioning, makes Dr. Sandler an invaluable resource.
Lauren Devine graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park and has 12 years of experience working with students as a tutor and teacher. During her four years of college Lauren served as a mentor with the America Reads program, supplementing the work of reading specialists in local elementary schools. She also has four years of classroom experience, teaching first through third graders.
A professional tennis instructor since age 17, Lauren has a great passion for the game of tennis. Lauren began coaching tennis while still in high school and has several years of experience as director of a Julian Krinsky School of Tennis-affiliated summer program outside Philadelphia. Lauren’s favorite thing about tennis is the mental and physical challenge. She loves working with kids and adults of all ages and abilities in helping shift their self-perception and mindset towards learning through incremental gains and self-awareness while building abilities that transfer to real-life applications.
Lauren is actively pursuing research in cognitive psychology and neurology. Lauren is a senior cognitive trainer who has been instrumental in developing modifications that allow us to customize training in order to increase the effectiveness of our cognitive training exercises for each client. Lauren has also overseen the training of new COGx professionals and supports partner organizations to ensure ongoing quality. Lauren has over 3,000 hours of individualized cognitive training experience, and has successfully worked with students with learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury patients, gifted students, professionals, and seniors.
Mayur Vyas is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for COGx. He is tasked with key accounting functions such as financial reporting, strategic forecasting and planning, designing and monitoring budgetary controls, and other business support.
Active in the startup community, Mayur periodically delivers workshops on the fundamentals of accounting and finance from an entrepreneur’s perspective. He teaches the process backward, using an “end justifies the means” approach, that help students first understand WHY developing and maintaining accurate financial records are important before explaining HOW this is done. Mayur teaches entrepreneurs about investor expectations, key financial metrics/ratios, financial reporting, bookkeeping, and other relevant accounting principles.
Prior to supporting startups and small businesses, Mayur worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers for over 10 years in a variety of management consulting, financial services, auditing, risk management, technology, and professional training engagements. Mayur has previous experience as a cost and project accountant for engineering, construction, and government-related organizations.
Mayur is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is involved in volunteering and community activities with the Virginia Society of CPAs. He also is certified with the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITILv3) designations.
Dr. Carmen Constantinescu obtained a PhD in Special Education Policy from the University of Maryland and a Master’s in Early Childhood Special Education from George Washington University. She has been a professional in special education in the Washington, D.C. area since 2004 and, to date, has held positions as early interventionist and special education teacher and administrator in preK-12 programs (public, private/non-public, and charter schools). Currently, she is active in the academia community as a faculty member in various teacher preparation programs at local universities (both formal training as well as field experience). Her research experience includes collaborations with the American Institute for Research, the J. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and a first independent research study at a local non-public school. Her research interests include cognitive development, instructional accommodations and best teaching practices for students with disabilities as well as classroom applications of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and teacher dispositions.
As a Portfolio Manager, Shazia leads COGx Certification Trainings in the US and the Middle East and supports professionals adopting our methods within their organizations. She has worked closely with partner organizations (medical centers & schools) to ensure COGx services are integrated and delivered properly. She currently manages COGx partnerships in the Middle East.
She also creates Professional Development learning modules for COGx Trainers to ensure they incorporate the latest research in Cognitive Science to their programs.
Shazia joined the COGx team as a Cognitive Trainer in 2014. She successfully delivered programs with adherence to the COGx Methodology and gained experience working with diverse populations in various settings: rehabilitation clinic, learning center, school & home.
Shazia brings years of classroom experience to her role. She has previously worked as a teacher’s assistant at an at-risk elementary school, where she co-delivered lessons to elementary level students and led a ‘Literacy Building’ segment. She has also worked as a tutor for high-school aged children and provided support in the subjects of Biology, Chemistry, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, as well as in the areas of study/testing skills and college preparation. As a tutor, Shazia is described as patient, resourceful, adaptable, and supportive.
Shazia completed post-baccalaureate studies at Loyola University in Speech-Language Pathology. During this time, Shazia interned at Mount Sinai Hospital and St. Elizabeth School in Baltimore, where she worked with children and adults with speech and language impairments that resulted from either acquired brain injury, congenital defect, or learning disorder.
As an undergraduate Shazia developed a keen interest to understand the relationship among language, memory, and learning and contributed to research in these areas. Specifically, Shazia participated in the design and delivery of research investigating the effects of emotional valence of words, both written and spoken, on short and long-term retrieval.
Shazia Khan holds a B.A in Psychology and Neuroscience from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She served as the Treasurer of the Rotary Club and earned the DeSousa Brent Scholar Award for academic excellence and community service.
Shazia enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling, cooking, and volunteerism.
Shazia is a Certified ATD Master Trainer.
Alexandria joined the COGx team in 2015 and brings training and leadership experience to her role. As a Portfolio Manager, she currently leads certifications at partner organizations and manages US licensees. She works to train, develop, and manage COGx professionals in their individualized programs. She contributes to Quality Assurance in assessing training and development needs and applying new learning and development strategies.
Alexandria also had the opportunity to pilot COGx’s first group-based memory program. Her research interests include human learning and memory and applying the science of learning for improved academic success.
She previously served COGx as a Cognitive Trainer and has delivered over 1200 hours of 1-on-1 individualized cognitive training. She has experience in working with clients with a diverse range of abilities, including learning differences i.e. dyslexia, ADHD, and executive dysfunction, clients with TBI, and gifted students seeking memory enhancement.
In addition to her experience working with students one on one, she has several years of international business experience. Alexandria worked as a lead contact for many licensee and affiliate accounts where she held a multi-faceted role, facilitating in account management, logistics and accounting. She developed a passion for both training others and targeting cognition and learning more deeply as an undergraduate where she held a team leader position in the development and implementation of the New Student Orientation program and trained over 40 additional orientation leaders.
Alexandria holds a B.A. in Psychology with minors in Theatre and Music from Ohio Wesleyan University. She holds a certification in Sridaiva yoga, is a member of Theta Alpha Phi national theatre honors fraternity and pursues acting in regional theatre.
Alexandria is a Credentialed ATD Master Trainer.
Kristen Woo graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in psychology and neuroscience. As an undergraduate student, she worked as a research assistant in child psychology labs and became interested in studying the development of cognitive and reasoning skills in school-age children.
After graduating, she worked for three years with COGx as a cognitive skills trainer, working one-on-one with children ages 5-14 to help them develop their memory, reasoning, and attention skills, as well as identify and promote their personal strengths. In addition, Kristen was a post-baccalaureate research fellow for two years at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, where she was involved in projects that explored family relationships and the impact of maternal depression on child neurological functioning.
In 2015, Kristen began pursuing her graduate studies in school psychology at Tufts University, where she also worked as a time management and study strategies consultant for undergraduate and graduate students. As part of her graduate studies, she completed a practicum internship at an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In this position, Kristen administered and interpreted academic, cognitive, and social-emotional assessments, provided counseling services to students, and engaged in consultation with teachers and staff. She has worked with students with diverse educational strengths and needs, including specific learning disabilities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Kristen obtained her M.A. in school psychology in 2016 and is excited to be returning to work with COGx.
Katherine Maddente graduated from American University in Washington DC with a B.A. in Psychology and was selected as one of 42 incoming freshman to participate in the American University School of Public Affairs Leadership Program. For two years, Katherine worked in the program toward advanced leadership studies which ignited her passions for addressing complex issues, serving the community, and gaining a stronger understanding of human behavior. She proceeded to pursue narrower interests within psychology, taking classes in advanced neuropsychology, abnormal psychology, memory and cognition, and completing an independent study in the Memory and Cognition lab on the relationship between music preference and compatibility in friendships.
Katherine has over three years of experience working in the field of behavioral health involving case management, individualized rehabilitation planning, and program management. During this time she has interacted with a wide variety of individuals including those with traumatic brain injury, dementia, learning disabilities, and other co-occurring disorders. She has held a variety of roles in the past including private tutoring, and in each has enjoyed assisting others in creatively and effectively reaching their goals, finding her clients to be the greatest source of inspiration for her work. In her free time, Katherine enjoys cooking, reading, visiting new places, and working her monthly shift at Fahrney’s Pens, a pen and stationary store in Washington DC.
Mariale Hardiman, EdD is the Vice Dean for Urban School Partnerships and Clinical Professor of Education at The Johns Hopkins University School of Education.
Dr. Hardiman develops training programs that enhance teaching outcomes. She advises COGx in selecting academics to join in presenting their research to school teachers globally while helping design these teacher training programs.
Dr. Hardiman is also the co-founder and director of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s Neuro-Education Initiative. This cross-disciplinary program brings to educators relevant research from the brain sciences to inform teaching and learning through regional conferences, national summits, a professional development series, and a graduate level certificate in Mind, Brain, and Teaching. Her research and publications focus on enhancing educational practices through techniques that foster innovation and creative problem-solving for all students.
Hardiman’s work has also led to the creation of partnerships within the University and community, including STEM education, a leadership academy for Baltimore City Schools, and partnerships with organizations that support the development of schools and communities in Baltimore. Before joining Johns Hopkins in 2006, Hardiman served in the Baltimore City Public Schools for more than 30 years. As the principal of Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, she led the school to its designation as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. With the use of the Brain-Targeted Teaching Model that Hardiman developed, the school was recognized by the Kennedy Center as a School of Distinction for arts programming and arts integration.
Dr. Hardiman presents nationally and internationally on topics related to the intersection of research in the neuro- and cognitive sciences with effective teaching strategies, including meaningful integration of the arts. Her books include: Brain-Targeted Teaching for 21stCentury Schools (Corwin Press, 2012); Neuroeducation: Learning, Arts, and the Brain (The Dana Foundation, 2009); and Connecting Brain Research with Effective Teaching: The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2003).
Debbie Simon graduated with a Master’s Degree in Learning Disabilities from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and has 45 years of experience working as a public school teacher and department chair, tutor, mentor, advocate, and adjunct professor at George Washington University. She is also Nationally Board Certified as an Exceptional Needs Specialist.
In each capacity, Debbie works to equip each student with the skills to independently learn and be successful in academics as well as life experiences. Consequently, Debbie is always searching for new strategies and following the latest research in brain research and cognition; her research led her to COGx. As she is a licensed Cognitive Trainer, she is excitedly informing students that she can assist them in enhancing their cognition thus positively affecting their learning abilities for life. Her students range from age 3-80 with learning and emotional disabilities, attention disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, stroke, and senior dementia. Debbie brings her multi-faceted experience to each client.
Education is not Debbie’s only focus as she is happy to share pictures and stories of her 6 grandchildren. She also enjoys experiencing the cultures of the world with her husband Morris. As CEO of The Simon Firm, Debbie is proud to be an Affiliate with COGx and incorporates the COGx Methodology to the Firm’s capabilities.
Allise Sellers graduated from the University of California in Davis with a B.S. in Cognitive Science with a Neuroscience Emphasis as well as a minor in Sexuality Studies. During her undergraduate career, Allise worked in several Psychological research labs on and off campus. She took a variety of psychology and cognitive science courses that sparked her passion for the field. During her senior year, Allise worked in two separate labs and contributed to different projects in those labs. She was a research assistant for the Psychopathology and Emotion Processing Lab at the UC Davis Medical Center where she assisted on a project looking at emotional deficits presented in individuals with Schizophrenia or early psychosis. At the same time, Allise was an active member of the Human Memory Lab on campus where she focused on analyzing the effects of stress on memory in student populations.
While in school, Allise worked for the Undergraduate Education Department’s Testing Center, where she interacted with a variety of students every day who received testing accommodations. She proctored exams, handled day-to-day operations involving student accommodations and professor interactions, and trained new proctors and office staff every week.
She plans on continuing her education in the near future in a graduate program entailing emotion, learning, and memory. For now, she is enjoying life in Maryland and is spending her free time testing out some new hobbies.
Destinee Smith of Fayetteville, North Carolina moved to the Washington Metro area in 2014 after graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. It was there that she received her B.A. in Psychology and Dance. Following a brief yet exciting stint in the professional dance world Destinee became a Case Coordinator at a non-profit mental health agency that sought to serve clients in long-term rehabilitation for severe mental disorders. It was in her role as Case Coordinator where she discovered her true passion for rehabilitating clients. She realized the ability to successfully modify the course of their future with a client focused plan and goal-oriented monthly meetings.
This client-centered passion has been fostered at COGx and Destinee is thrilled to be joining this amazing team. When not training at COGx, Destinee is at Trinity Washington University where she is currently studying for her Clinical Mental Health M.A. with hopes to enter into a Ph.D program for research in the future.
Lauren Brown graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. Throughout college, she worked closely with children as a tutor and camp counselor, where she developed her awareness of learning differences and passion for helping students learn more effectively. In addition to her role as a COGx cognitive trainer, Lauren also works as a Research Specialist with the University of Virginia / Johns Hopkins University in their Department of Mental Health, working mainly on a project dedicated to helping elementary school teachers improve outcomes through science and research-based insights.
Lauren provides ongoing observations to schools across Baltimore County, conducts evaluations and analyzes test scores to garner insights that are then applied to improve teaching performance. In her role there, Lauren also collects data through classroom observations and student assessments. She now shares her time as a Researcher at the University for schools and helping students with customized programs in applied neuroscience at COGx.
Paige graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island with a B.A. in Elementary/Special Education. While in college she also took several psychology courses, which developed her interest in psychology and learning. After college, Paige moved to Texas and taught for 3 years in the southwest as a special education resource and co-teacher at the upper elementary level. She has experience working with students with learning difficulties and attention difficulties that affect learning. She successfully helped students increase their reading and mathematics skills, as well as enhance their learning.
She successfully helped students increase their reading and mathematics skills, as well as enhance their learning. While in Texas, Paige received her M.Ed in special education with a concentration on learning disabilities from the University of Texas at El Paso. Paige recently moved to Maryland where she currently works as a special education teacher, transitioning her career toward the psychology field. Paige hopes to contribute to the COGx company and successfully help people become stronger learners. In her free time, Paige enjoys reading, exercising, and drawing.
Kathleen holds a B.A. in English from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her interest in brain science has developed over the last decade, as she researched ways to help her son overcome learning challenges. Kathryn started her career in public relations at National Public Radio, where she was an assistant publicist for the news division. In South Florida, she managed public relations accounts for Pier 66 Resort and Marina and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, among others.
An actress and voiceover artist with more than 25 years of professional experience, Kathleen has pursued her interests in meditation, healing and consciousness in recent years. She also develops meditation programs for students and adults and blogs about meditation and neuroplasticity at OpenSkyInsight.com.
Karen holds an MBA from Columbia University, concentration in Organizational Behavior, and a BA from George Washington University, in General Liberal Arts. As an internal Organization Development consultant for Goldman Sachs (and Andersen Consulting -now Accenture), Karen worked with individuals and communities throughout the organization(s) to examine and effectively improve performance and morale. Karen has also found the time to pursue lifelong passions as an Interfaith Minister, a life coach and a jazz vocalist. Karen was led to ministry by a fascination with spiritual philosophies, and a strong desire to serve people particularly in times of grief or crisis.
Karen is a 2003 graduate of All Faiths Seminary International in New York, NY. Through her diverse experiences Karen has developed a strong connection to seniors and assisted living centers. Karen is also a Life Coach in private practice since 1999, focusing on spiritual understanding and spiritual responses to life’s challenges and opportunities. She is also a Jazz Vocalist.
Mary Robinson graduated from The Catholic University of America with a B.A. in psychology. While in college Mary was a member of the lacrosse team and led youth lacrosse camps. She was also a peer tutor, where her interests in psychology and education developed. After college, Mary joined Teach For America where she served as a high school special education teacher in North Carolina. In this role, Mary co-taught English and Math courses for students in the 9th through 12th grades. She has experience working with students with learning differences, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities, among others. She became the exceptional children’s department chair in her third year teaching. Mary was the head girls’ soccer coach and helped lead numerous student organizations during her three years teaching.
Mary earned a masters degree in clinical psychology at Loyola University Maryland. She is particularly interested in neuropsychology and assessment. In her free time, Mary enjoys playing sports, running, baking, and reading.
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