Vanessa Rodriguez earned her B.A. in Literature and English education from New York University (NYU) and a M.S.Ed. from City College of New York before coming to HGSE as a doctoral candidate in the Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice Program.  She taught middle school humanities in several New York City public schools for 11 years and took on various leadership positions including curriculum director and teacher mentor. Vanessa’s  work has been used for Hunter College’s Urban Teacher Residency initiative, New York City’s collaboration with Teaching Matters, the United Federation of Teacher’s Teacher Center, City College of New York, and many public schools throughout New York City.  She has also been published in National Council for Social Studies: Middle Level Learning and the Organization of American Historians.  As an instructional expert Vanessa has held several positions as an adjunct professor in literacy and social studies’ education and teacher training at NYU and Hunter College.  Vanessa is also on the education committee of the New Press.

Vanessa’s research career began as a fellow of the Teacher’s Network Policy Institute. Her early work proposed that hybrid teacher researchers could be prepared to produce transdisciplinary research within research schools.  Since arriving at HGSE, her research evolved to focus on the application of Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) principles to understanding the “teaching brain;” the psychological and neurobehavioral phenomena associated with teaching that are necessary precursors to understanding how students learn in classroom contexts.  This work has been recognized for its innovation and potential impact on education by the prestigious the Hauser Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) award.

Her experience at HGSE has been transformative – providing Vanessa with the intellectual peers, academic freedom, training and support to pursue her passion for understanding teaching on a fundamental level.  It has given her a deeper understanding of the skills she intuitively engaged during her classroom years.  Using the new methodological tools from her MBE classes and research at HGSE she devotes her time to exploring the cognitive domains and skills of teaching with the goal of connecting them to neurobehavioral pathways.  This new direction is the ultimate extension of her quest to shed fresh light on teaching and inspire other researchers to reexamine the profession with a more scientific, dynamic and complex approach to this fundamental human specific activity.