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It all started when I...
I get asked ALL.THE.TIME. if I always knew I was going to be a neuroscientist and Professor. Growing up in a small college town in beautiful Ithaca, NY, surrounded by Cornell University and Ithaca College, with a father who was a Professor of Electrical Engineering and a mother who worked in administration for the local K-12 public schools, the importance of having a quality education was instilled in me at a young age and my inquisitive nature came naturally for me from childhood. Plus, I loved the lifestyle I had growing up.....family time was always the first priority, followed by a true love of nature, and the love of knowledge. So, I guess it's fitting that I ended up becoming a Professor as well!
I still remember my very first Psychology course in college. I literally felt my head and heart explode with wonder! I was (and still am) amazed by the complexities of the human brain and mind and became hooked from that first class!
I couldn't believe it...
How could something that weighs only 3lbs and can fit between your ears control so much? Everything that we are and everything that we do is because of the beautiful organized chaos of our brain. I was mesmerized and wanted to learn more. After college, I became a Post-Baccalaureate Research Fellow with the National Institutes of Health in both the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. There was nothing more exciting that learning the importance of scientific exploration and research ethics. So, I decided to pursue my PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University where I investigated the role of dopamine in motivated behavior. Coming up with questions and then testing my hypotheses in the lab was thrilling every day and certainly satisfied my craving for learning!
It was also during my time in graduate school that I first got my feet wet as an instructor in the classroom too and I loved it! It was challenging, but so much fun at the same time! It was then that I discovered my love of teaching.
I made this change and...
After completing graduate school I became a Human Factors Scientific Consultant where I applied my expertise in motivation and reward, addiction, neuroscience, psychology, pharmacology, and behavior to assess various contributors to a person’s actions, perceptions, and cognition in accident scenarios. Although this work was cool, I knew I wasn't where I was meant to be. So, I took a very large leap of faith and went back into academia as a Full-Time Faculty member and Director of Undergraduate Research for the Neuroscience Program at the University of Pennsylvania (formerly the Biological Basis of Behavior Program). Currently, I am a full-time tenured Associate Professor of Psychology at Delaware County Community College where I get to teach students from a variety of backgrounds and educational goals and truly see first-hand the difference I get to make in my students' lives each day.
As a Professor, not only do I get to share my years of experience and accumulated knowledge, but I also get to wake up my performing skills....yes, I have been known to bring out my tap shoes in class and I certainly love to get a good laugh out of my students, especially during a very technical (aka. boring) lecture.
And finally it was...
So, how did Be Well with Dr. Hayley arise? After becoming a mother, I embarked on my own personal health journey and call it Mothers Intuition or simply just my fascination with the unknown, but I realized there were just some things I couldn't explain from my many years of studying and research. So, I started researching more holistic approaches to health and wellbeing and practicing more self-care. Not only did I become more healthy, inside and out, but other people started to notice a change in me too and asked for advice. So, the natural educator in me started teaching and sharing what I learned and offered suggestions and guidance along with encouragement for friends and family who were looking to improve their wellbeing too. However, I saw a greater need for collaboration between the traditional Western approach to health and wellness and a more holistic philosophy. So, Be Well with Dr. Hayley was founded as a way for me to be that bridge and connector.
In addition, through my love of working with helping professionals (wellness providers, coaches, therapists, teachers, counselors, etc) who are ready to stand apart and show up as true leaders in their field I founded The Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. By learning easy-to-swallow knowledge of how the brain works in real-life situations, my clients and students are armed with an education in a subject they can use literally every single day. Not only that, they gain the power to serve their clients better. This allows them to create an environment for their communities to thrive
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