Dr. Yarrow Dunham, Yale University

Assistant Professor Psychology
Ed.D., 2007, Harvard University

My lab focuses on intergroup social cognition. Humans are perhaps the most social species on the planet. One prominent form this sociality takes is the tendency to divide individuals into social groups. Most species do this in a very limited set of ways, forming groups on just a few dimensions such as biological relatedness and sex. By contrast, humans are driven to create groups based on myriad other properties including shared beliefs (e.g. religion), shared origins (e.g. nationality), shared traits (e.g. introverts), and shared affiliations (e.g. Yankees fans). Once we are in such groups, they systematically affect how we see the world, for example by biasing our attention towards positive features of the ingroup. Indeed, this tendency is so general that we will even start to immediately prefer previously unfamiliar groups to which we have been randomly assigned. What are the origins of this pervasive psychological tendency? My lab addresses this question by studying how knowledge of social groups is acquired, both in cognitively mature adults and in the developing minds of children. Out of the universe of properties along which people differ, how do we decide which to use as the basis of social groups? Do we have natural tendencies to partition the social world in certain ways? What is the role of cultural input in shaping the intergroup mind? We employ experimental and cross-cultural methodologies to gain purchase on these questions.


Dr. Nicole McNeil, University of Notre Dame

ACE Professor of Psychology and Director of Education, Schooling, and Society (ESS)
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Prof. McNeil studies cognitive development, with a primary focus on how children think, learn, and solve problems in the domain of mathematics. This work encompasses several interrelated areas such as numerical representation, symbolic reasoning, concept construction, skill acquisition, and problem solving. She asks questions like “What do children understand about math before they start learning it in school?” “How does children’s understanding of math change as the result of different environments?” “How does existing knowledge affect learning of new information?” and “How do children construct new problem-solving strategies”? Her research is funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). She is interested in theoretical issues related to the construction and organization of knowledge, as well as practical issues related to learning and instruction.


Dr. Christa Lynch, Arizona State University

Dr. Christa Lynch is an Educational Psychologist and Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University. She teaches statistics courses, as well as courses relating to learning, memory, and cognition. Her area of interests are in motivation; why individuals behave and think the way they do and what’s truly motivating them. She has studied motivation in novice teachers and elementary-age students. Dr. Lynch has contributed to interventions in local school districts, examining long-term effects of reading interventions for ELL students and behavioral programs for children on the spectrum. She grew up in Iowa and came to Arizona for the weather, but most importantly to earn her PhD. She has been part of ASU for 15 years, 11 of those years as a lecturer in psychology.


Peggy O’Mara, Thought Leader

Peggyomara.com continues the journalistic tradition of thought leader, Peggy O’Mara, who has been curating exceptional editorial content for over 30 years. Articles on the site are carefully chosen to bring you provocative ideas, excellent writing, and moving photography, all to help you make better decisions.In addition to articles on natural families and healthy living, peggyomara.com covers the over-arching issues of conscious living and social justice with a focus on solutions. And, for fun, we offer you food, media and DIY.

Peggy O’Mara was the Editor and Publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. In 1995 she founded mothering.com and was its editor-in-chief until 2012. Peggy’s books include Natural Family Living, Having a Baby Naturallyand A Quiet Place. She has presented at Omega Institute, Esalen, Bioneers and La Leche League, International.

She is the recipient of the La Leche League, International 2001 Alumnae Association award, the International Peace Prayer Day 2002 Woman of Peace award, the National Vaccine Information Center 2009 Courage in Journalism award, the Holistic Moms Network 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, and five Maggie Awards for public service journalism from the Western Publishing Association.

Currently, Peggy manages the Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort Facebook Page for Earth Mama and is on the advisory boards of Attachment Parenting International, Best for BabesHolistic Moms Network, Infant Massage USA, Intact America, and Oak Meadow. She is the mother of four adult children and grandmother of three. Peggy has lived in Santa Fe, NM for 34 years.


Zoe Weil, Co-founder and President of IHE

Zoe Weil (pronounced Zoh Wile) is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement that works to create a peaceful, healthy, and just world for all people, animals, and the environment through education. Zoe created IHE’s online M.Ed., M.A., and graduate certificate programs as well as IHE’s acclaimed workshops.

Zoe is the author of seven books including The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries (2016), Nautilus Silver Medal winner, Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life (2009), The Power and Promise of Humane Education (2004), and Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times (2003). She has also written books for young people, including Moonbeam Gold Medal winner, Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs (2007), about 12-year-old activists inspired by their teacher to right wrongs where they find them, and So, You Love Animals: An Action-Packed, Fun-Filled Book to Help Kids Help Animals (1994). She has written numerous articles on humane education and humane living and has appeared frequently on radio as well as television.

In 2010, Zoe gave her first TEDx talk “The World Becomes What You Teach” which became among the 50 top-rated TEDx talks within a year. Since then she has given five other TEDx talks: “Solutionaries” “Educating for Freedom” “How to be a Solutionary” “Extending our Circle of Compassion” and “How will you answer this question?”

Zoe received a Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School (1988) and a Master’s and Bachelor’s in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania (1983). In 2015 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Valparaiso University. Zoe is certified in Psychosynthesis counseling, a form of psychotherapy which relies upon the intrinsic power of each person’s imagination to promote growth, creativity, health, and transformation.


Robin Coarts

A lover of education, Robin has completed two Bachelors Degrees, psychology and gerontology. Shortly after graduating with her degree in gerontology she went to work on her Masters and began working in the field. After finishing up her degree in thanatology, Robin worked in the world of organ and tissue donation – working directly with families before, during, and after the death of a loved one. This work was not only fulfilling but incredibly humbling and really urged Robin to continue her love of education and to pursue her personal passions as a profession. Shortly after leaving her work, she graduated with her second Masters degree, this time in Education (focusing on Humane Education).

While working on her degree she completed a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition as well as a Health and Wellness Coach Certificate.  Robin’s passion is food and the amazing benefits of Plant-Based food.  During her time in the Humane Education program topics of Culture and Change, Human Rights, Animal Protection, and Environmental Ethics were covered with the goal being howto integrate these topics into an educational program and literature for our youth.  Out of this grew a web-based education series:  Plant-Based with Robin.

Currently, Robin presents on her passion topic – Plant-Based Eating – at local public libraries and hosts a Plant-Based Eating group on Facebook. Along with her presentations at the library, Robin is teaching a continuing education course focusing on Plant-Based Parenting and the challenges beyond food. Robin is married to her husband Randy and they are raising their two sons in Maryland.


Tessa McMahon

Tessa grew up in a small town outside Denver, CO. With a children’s librarian for a mother, she became an avid reader  at an early age.

Tessa holds a B.A. in International Affairs from CU Boulder, with a minor in Economics and an emphasis in Spanish. She studied languages, history and economics in Seville, Spain, before returning to Colorado where she taught middle school Spanish for five years. During that time, she developed a passion for connecting with children through language, and saw firsthand the power that books have in helping kids reach their potential.

In 2006, she joined her husband in opening a martial arts academy, where she worked with children on physical fitness, focus, self-discipline, respect and confidence. She is now a stay-at-home mom with two kids of her own. Tessa is committed to healthy family living and sharing her love of good books with her family.

Among her favorite authors are Agatha Christie, Alexandre Dumas, Kurt Vonnegut, Mario Vargas Llosa, Anne Patchett and Liane Moriarty. She is currently reading the Harry Potter series with her nine-year-old daughter, and anything about trucks or cars with her four-year-old son.