A world-class institute of changemakers in the deaf and signing community.
Since 1864, we have been investing in and creating resources for deaf and hard of hearing children, their families, and the professionals who work with them.
Over 50 degree programs, with online and continuing education for personal and professional development.
Innovating solutions to break down barriers, and using science to prove what does and doesn’t work.
We make it easy for you to apply and enter here.
Ready to take the next step toward a college education?
Make lasting memories and grow in ways you never thought possible.
Program Director: Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto and Dr. Melissa Herzig
Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC) (202) 250-2660
The PhD Program in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) was founded at Gallaudet University by Dr. Laura-Ann
Petitto (Chair, PEN Steering Committee), Dr. Melissa Herzig (Assistant Director, PEN), and Dr. Thomas
Allen (Director, PEN). Students in our pioneering PEN program gain state-of-the-art
Cognitive Neuroscience training in how humans learn, with a special strength in the neuroplasticity of
visually guided learning processes. While Cognitive Neuroscience includes studies of learning and higher
cognitive processes across the lifespan, its sister discipline, Educational Neuroscience, includes
intensive study of five core domains that are crucial in early childhood learning, including language
and bilingualism, reading and literacy, math and numeracy, science and critical thinking (higher
cognition), social and emotional learning, and includes study of action and visual processing. PEN
students become expert in one of the world's cutting-edge neuroimaging methods in the discipline of
Cognitive Neuroscience (e.g., fNIRS, EEG, fMRI, and beyond), study Neuroethics, gain strong critical
analysis and reasoning skills in science, and develop expertise in one of the core content areas of
learning identified above. While becoming experts in both contemporary neuroimaging and behavioral
experimental science, students also learn powerful, meaningful, and principled ways that science can be
translated for the benefit of education and society today.
Our students benefit from access to an in-house, research-dedicated neuroimaging facility in the Brain and Language Laboratory for
Neuroimaging (BL2), founded and directed by Professor Laura-Ann Petitto. Here, students can also choose to become certified in one of
the world's most advanced neuroimaging technologies that is ideally suited for the study of young
children and individuals across the lifespan, fNIRS (functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy). Students
graduate from the program prepared to become groundbreaking scientists!
The PEN program was approved by the Gallaudet Board of Trustees on May 17, 2013 and opened its doors to
the first class of PhD students in fall 2013 (Adam Stone and Geo Karthesier). The PEN program is thrilled to recognize its
three new Assistant Professors, Dr. Clifton Langdon (language, reading, learning in deaf
blind individuals and children with cochlear implants, and the brain), Dr. Lorna Quandt (action
perception and the brain), and Dr. Ilaria Berteletti (math, numeracy, and reading, and the brain). This
is Gallaudet's first interdisciplinary PhD program, and it includes Gallaudet University's National
Science Foundation Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning, VL2 (the PhD
program's administrative home) and VL2's four national resource hubs (Petitto Brain and Language
Laboratory for Neuroimaging, BL2, Motion Light Laboratory, ML2, Early
Education and Literacy Lab, EL2, and the Translation in the Science of Learning Lab, TL2. It also includes the
Departments of Psychology, Linguistics, Interpretation, Education, and Hearing Speech and Language
Gallaudet University has committed to providing financial support to PEN students for four years of study
in the form of full tuition waivers and stipend ($21,000/year). Students in this program can expect to
receive fellowship support from the university, direct mentoring support from advisors, and PEN students
may have access to the VL2 student dedicated $25,000 research and training funds.
For more information, email us at EdNeuroscience@gallaudet.edu
Gallaudet University is a federally chartered private and premier university for the deaf and hard of hearing since 1864.
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Spring 2021 – Dec 12Fall 2021 – May 15