Relevant Affiliation: Hawn Foundation; University of California, Santa Barbara
Area of Expertise: Application of Neuroscience to Teaching and Learning
Education: MD in Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine; MA in Education, University of California, Santa Barbara
Judy Willis, with her background as a neurologist and classroom teacher, is an authority on brain research regarding learning and the brain and correlations of this research to best teaching practices.
After graduating as the first woman graduate from Williams College, Dr. Willis attended UCLA School of Medicine where she was awarded her medical degree and completed a medical residency and neurology residency, including chief residency. She practiced neurology for fifteen years before returning to university to obtain her Teaching Credential and Masters of Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Willis has ten years of experience teaching elementary and middle school, and writes extensively for professional educational journals as well as consulting for the media including Wall Street Journal, Education Week, USA Today, NBC News Education Nation, among others.
As a research consultant and member of the board of directors for the Hawn Foundation, Dr. Willis contributed to the Foundation’s MindUp book for curriculum that provides teachers with strategies to help students use mindfulness to increase their emotional control, stress management, and attentive focus.
Dr. Willis also consults with California congressional educational lawmakers and educational policy makers to provide correlations from neuroscience research to educational policy. Her current collaboration in this area is to promote the incorporation of “the neuroscience of learning” into teacher education curriculum.