Cathy, the founder of MindScience, has worked in media, wellness and education. Her work in media spanned many years in Los Angeles, New York and Milan, Italy. Her credits include Cosmos with Carl Sagan, media consultant for Dungeons and Dragons, on-air correspondent for RAI Italia, Historical Consultant on the Cosmos series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “The Healing Has Begun” with Richard Gere and Jonathan Cott and several productions for PBS, HBO and network television. She also published articles in several magazines as well as for Bantam Books.
Cathy received her Masters Degree in South Asian Studies from Columbia University and developed a curriculum on Asian Humanities for her thesis. She entered the classroom for five years and designed a science vs. religion interdisciplinary program, the Jedi Mind Training curriculum for K-5, Teen Mindfulness Workshops focused on anxiety, stress, depression, implicit bias, compassion, social skills and more, and a robust Professional Development Program for teachers and administration.
Cathy was the Managing Director of MNDFL ED, the not-for-profit arm of MNDFL and was responsible for operations, fundraising, hiring teachers, outreach, as well as teaching in classrooms.
Cathy has been meditating for over 25 years and is a certified Mindfulness and Meditation Instructor from the Compassion Teacher Training at Nalanda Institute and The Path, the teacher training and advanced teacher training at MNDFL, as well as several courses with Mindful Schools. She teaches meditation privately, in corporations for Journey Meditation and at the MNDFL studios in New York. Cathy is a DOE Vendor.
I am inspired and guided by these exceptional thought leaders and friends …
The Holistic Life Foundation
A Baltimore-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, The Holistic Life Foundation is committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. Through a comprehensive approach which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care HLF demonstrates deep commitment to learning, community, and stewardship of the environment. HLF is also committed to developing high-quality evidence based programs and curriculum to improve community well-being.
Brothers Ali and Atman Smith met Andres Gonzalez at the University of Maryland College Park. During their last semester there, the trio spent a lot of time reading books on spirituality, philosophy, modern history, religions, ancient history, politics, astronomy, and other related topics. They all saw some things wrong with the world, but it was not until Andres said,“So what are we going to do about it?”that all knew they had to do something. What that something was, they had no idea. During this time they also began their journey on the path of yoga practice. They began learning more yoga and developing their practice under the guidance of Ali and Atman’s godfather. As young children, Ali and Atman actually grew up with yoga in their home, with their father having them meditate every morning before school. As Atman says, “Our parents were big hippies. They were into yoga, vegetarianism, and all that kind of stuff.”
At the end of that summer, they moved back into the house that Ali and Atman grew up in, in West Baltimore. Ali and Atman immediately noticed that the sense of family that was present in the neighborhood when they grew up there was gone. The Smith brothers remembered when they were living there as children, the neighborhood was like one big family, and the “older guys” in the neighborhood served as mentors and big brothers to all of the younger kids. They saw that as an important factor in their growth and development. They knew that they wanted to do something to help bring that feeling back to their neighborhood.
During this time they began the planning and development for the formation of a non-profit organization. They also began to delve deeper into their practice and study of yoga. After months of hard work, on December 19th, 2001, the Holistic Life Foundation was officially incorporated.
Sharon is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher and NY Times bestselling author. She has played a crucial role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practices to the West and into mainstream culture since 1974, when she first began teaching. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and the author of ten books including NY Times bestseller, Real Happiness, her seminal work, Lovingkindness and, Real Love, her latest release by Flatiron Books. Acclaimed for her humorous, down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them instantly accessible. She is a regular columnist for On Being, a contributor to Huffington Post, and the host of her own podcast: The Metta Hour.
Often cited as the one of the pillars of the ever-popular meditation movement, Sharon has been interviewed by Time Magazine, the New York Times, The Washington Post, CBS News, Huffington Post, The Irish Times, and many more. Sharon continues to teach internationally, and her books have been translated into Spanish, German, Italian, French, Vietnamese, Dutch and Chinese. Past retreat venues have included England, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, Poland, Ireland, Israel and Sweden, as well as across the United States.
Sharon has emerged as a featured speaker, panelist and meditation teacher at cutting edge events, such as the Skoll Foundation World Forum, TEDx, Mind and Life Institute conferences with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the State of the World Forum; the Peacemakers Conference (sharing a plenary panel with Nobel Laureates the Dalai Lama and Jose Ramos Horta), Wisdom 2.0 Conference, and Jerry Brown's inauguration as mayor of Oakland. She has delivered keynotes at Tricycle’s Buddhism in America event, Yoga Journal, Kripalu and Omega conferences, the Gethsemani encounter (a Buddhist-Christian dialogue including the Dalai Lama and various Christian dignitaries), and at Washington National Cathedral’s Sacred Circles women’s interfaith conference in DC. She has conducted in-house training for mainstream organizations interested in utilizing meditation, including Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, the Fetzer Foundation, the Yale law school (for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society), and the Garrison Institute’s initiative for transforming trauma (working with domestic violence shelter workers and supervisors). She has also offered meditation training to families of 9/11 victims and war veterans. Sharon resides in Barre, Massachusetts and New York, New York. Sharon graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY at Buffalo in 1972.
Heidi Hayes Jacobs
Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs is founder and president of the Curriculum Designers Group, providing professional services to schools and organizations internationally to upgrade curriculum and support teaching strategies to meet the needs of 21st century learners. Dr. Jacobs’s models on curriculum mapping and curriculum design have been featured in her eleven books and are the basis for software solutions used throughout the world. She is the author of twelve books. Working with a range of organizations, Jacobs has online courses with PBS Teacherline and PD360 and has consulted to groups ranging from international, national, state and provincial education departments, professional organizations such as ASCD, NAESP, Learning Forward, the European Council of International Schools, the Near East School Association, the College Board, ADK International Sino-Canadian Schools in China, New Zealand’s Learning Network, the Kennedy Center, the Peace Corps World Wise Schools, Carnegie Hall, Australia’s EduTech,, and the United Nations Council on Teaching about the UN, the Near East School Association, the International Baccalaureate, the NY State Higher Education Commission, the CCSSO workgroup on Global Competencies, and AASA’s Collaborative Project focused on innovation. In 2014 she received the MAIS International Educator Award in Seville, Spain. Dr. Jacobs has served as a program development advisor to Amazon Studios’ children’s programming division.
Her more recent work appears in her book, co-authored with Marie Alcock, Bold Moves for Schools: How We Create Remarkable Learning Environments was published by ASCD is a recent best-seller. Active Literacy: Active Literacy Across the Curriculum: Connecting Print Literacy with Digital, Media, and Global Competence, K-12, was released by Routledge. Her four book series on Leading the New Literacies, Mastering Digital Literacy, Mastering Media Literacy, Mastering Global Literacy, were by Solution-Tree are seminal works. Her best selling, Curriculum Mapping: Tools and Templates and Curriculum 21 both with ASCD have been the basis for a wide range of professional services provided by a talented faculty and a robust clearinghouse giving educators resources to upgrade classroom life. Her education career began as a high school, junior high, and elementary teacher in Utah, Massachusetts, and New York. Heidi and her husband make their home in Rye, New York.
Maria Tan is a Bronx high school science teacher devoted to instilling her students with mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion. She holds a Bachelors in Science and Masters in Education.
Her contemplative practice started in 2013 with yoga and the intimate experience of the mind-body connection. In 2017, she deepened her practice with traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachings and meditation under Venerable Thupten Phuntsok at Three Jewels in Manhattan.
Maria is passionate about mindfulness and today's youth. She constantly infuses mindful practices into her classrooms and leads meditations and workshops. Topics range from mindful breathing to dealing with difficult emotions. Using her science based background, she supports this work by combining the benefits of mindfulness and its scientific causes.
Maria truly sees this work as a cornerstone of culturally responsive teaching and believes if we can teach students how to recognize their emotions and respond skillfully, then we are equitably teaching.
Maria is in charge of School Outreach for MindScience.