Javier Arguello is the Executive Director of COGx and is primarily responsible for guiding the organization’s research and global partnerships.
The impetus for his work is personal. As a child, Javier 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.
While conducting research and through ongoing collaborations with academics, Javier realized how most of the research on cognitive science was not being applied to help educators be more effective at teaching or to develop student who are more capable of learning independently. COGx was formed to help narrow the gap between scientific research and application in order to improve learning outcomes.
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.
Dr. Carmen Constantinescu obtained a PhD in Special Education Policy from the University of Maryland and a Master’s in 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 teacher, Dr. Li, has always believed that all students can achieve, and that the degree to which they do is heavily shaped by their teachers. Grounded in this belief, Dr. Li has dedicated her career to supporting teachers in developing their own practice to provide all learners an inclusive, productive learning environment. She started her own teaching in 2004 in New York City before working as a teacher, coach and school leader in London. Moving to Washington DC, she spearheaded the special education program at a growing charter school. Currently, she coaches teachers and teaches graduate courses at Urban Teachers/Johns Hopkins University backed Urban Teachers program and works with COGx to support professional development for educators. Peling earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary and Special Education and Psychology from NYU before completing her Master’s degree in Education at Teachers College. She earned her Ed.D in special education with Johns Hopkins University with a focus on examining how to support teacher efficacy with respect to teaching students that might struggle with learning in the general education classroom.
Cassie Castro graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and Minor in Human Resource and Development from James Madison University. As part of her undergraduate career she completed research on Racial Diversity with goals of understanding underlying biases that motivate social interactions in order to promote equality. It was also during this time that Cassie started her teaching career as an Academic Success Instructor helping collegiate peers attain success.
After graduating, Cassie became a dedicated 1:1 paraprofessional working with individual(s) living on the ASD spectrum. Concurrently, Cassie continued to pursue her education by achieving teacher certification for infants, preschool, and school age students. Through years of working 1:1 with special needs individuals, teaching in the classroom, and eventually to working behind the scenes in School Administration she continued to evolve as a teaching professional and manager. While working as a Program Director in a school, Cassie sharpened her abilities in Human Resource and Development. Cassie managed and supported teams, analyzed systems to invigorate programs, established procedures to scale for a growing organization and implemented policy to close needs gaps and meet company goals.
Cassie joins the COGx team with enthusiasm to continue to learn and grow while empowering others to do the same. With her free time, Cassie enjoys travel and adventure!
Alexandra Henning graduated from Gettysburg College with a B.S. in Biology and Psychology, and then from Villanova University with a M.S. in Experimental Psychology.
Throughout her academic career, Alex worked in numerous labs concerning temporal perception, cognitive neuroscience and behavioral neuroscience. During and after her graduate program, she also worked as a Therapeutic Staff Support for three years, providing behavioral health rehabilitation services to children with developmental disorders such as ADHD, autism and Down syndrome in school and home environments.
After moving to Washington D.C., Alex then worked as a teacher and Department Head at Fusion Academy for three years, providing 1-on-1 science and psychology classes to students and management support to other teachers. There she became a COGx Manager for the campus, implementing programs and managing other COGx trainers. She then joined the COGx team as a Learning & Development Manager to support the implementation of programs with other partners.
In her free time, Alex enjoys reading, playing board/video games, and outdoor activities.
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.
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 Rogers is from North Potomac, Maryland. She joins COGx as a Cognitive Trainer and enjoys delivering a unique client-centered experience for each of her students.
She earned Magna Cum Laude from Susquehanna University and holds a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Religious Studies. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Psychological Sciences at the Catholic University of America.
Katherine has worked with a diverse population of students, ranging in age and ability. At Head Start, she worked to enrich and educate families and children. She has also taught multiple dance classes, including musical theater, modern, and tap. Katherine pursues dance and community theater productions in the Rockville area.
Katherine had the privilege of presenting a poster at the APA 2017 Washington DC conference. She also worked on a student led project examining how emotion influences memory. She plans to continue work focusing in family and trauma therapy.
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.
Over the years, Dr. Sandler has contributed to COGx by helping ensure programs are properly adopted in both the private sector and schools. Dr. Sandler’s experience and insights have also helped teachers be better equipped to understand each of their learners unique needs. Her understanding of how a child learns and processes, along with an ability to apply that information to everyday learning and functioning, enabled Dr. Sandler to participate as a guest lecturer on our Science of Learning Professional Development course.
Humnah graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County upon completing her Bachelors in Psychology in two years. She is now pursuing an M.S in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Humnah currently practices under her license as a Registered Behavior Technician and has 3 years of clinical experience providing behavior therapy to children with autism. She has worked in a multitude of settings including childcare and therapy centers as well as home and school environments.
As an RBT, Humnah directly implements behavior analytic services under the supervision of a BCBA and has experience with clients of diverse demographics, ages and various degrees of severity. Humnah’s knowledge and experience as an RBT means she brings a unique skill set to the students she serves through COGx, namely a proven ability to identify client needs, create individualized programs and accommodate any behavioral challenges.
Humnah and her husband live in Baltimore County and aim to make a difference in their community through their respective fields of ABA and Nursing. She is interested in the applications of ABA on a wide range of behavioral issues as well as exploring opportunities to expand ABA to other fields.
When Humnah is not delivering COGx programs and fulfilling her role as Assistant Manager, she provides behavior therapy, pursues BCBA licensing, trains in aerial arts and spends time with friends and family. Humnah is described as passionate, goal oriented, caring, adventurous and dynamic. She enjoys staying active, traveling, thrill seeking, trying new things, reading, and volunteering.
Alexandria joined the COGx team in 2015 and brings training and leadership experience to her role. As a Quality Assurance 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.