Academic Year 2018-2019
Dr. Sian Beilock
On February 21, 2019, Dr. Sian Beilock presented, "Overcoming anxiety about math," at the PEN Distinguished Lecture Series.
Dr. Beilock asserted that basic math skills are important for success in school and everyday life. Yet many people experience apprehension and fear when dealing with numerical information, termed math anxiety. During her presentation, Beilock discussed both antecedents and consequences of math anxiety, revealing some surprising insights into its onset, risk factors, and remediation.
Dr. Sian Leah Beilock is the eighth President of Barnard College. Before beginning her tenure at Barnard in July, 2017, Beilock spent 12 years at the University of Chicago. There, she served on the faculty as the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology and a member of the Committee on Education. Additionally, she was a member of the senior leadership, serving as the Executive Vice Provost and an Officer of the University.
Dr. Bellock's work as a cognitive scientist has revolved around performance anxiety, with a focus on success in math and science for women and girls. She has explored the brain and body factors that influence learning and performance, including how simple psychological strategies can be used to ensure success in everything from public speaking to athletics.
In 2010, she wrote the critically acclaimed book, "Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal about Getting It Right When You Have To", and in 2015, "How the Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel." For her groundbreaking work on human performance, she won the 2017 Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences.