Arthur Zajonc, PhD


Advisory Board

Arthur is the former President of the Mind & Life Institute. He is also emeritus professor of physics at Amherst College, where he taught from 1978 to 2012.  He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and a Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck inAustria.  His research has included studies in parity violation in atoms, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between sciences, the humanities and meditation. He is author of the book: Catching the Light, co-author of The Quantum Challenge, and co-editor of Goethe’s Way of Science.  Since 1997 he has served as scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue with H.H. the Dalai Lama whose meetings have been published as The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama (Oxford 2004) and The Dalai Lama at MIT (Harvard UP, 2006). He currently directs the the Center for Contemplative Mind which supports appropriate inclusion of contemplative practice in higher education.

Cathy Cornell, MSW


Advisory Board

Cathy Cornell is a licensed clinical social worker, currently serving as the clinical director of the Oasis Program at the Canopy Center in Madison, WI, a program that provides treatment and support services to children who have been sexually abused and to their families. She has a Master of Arts in Humanities from Xavier University (1995) and a Masters in Social Work from Ohio State University (1998). Her social work service has been primarily in community mental health, particularly with victims of family violence and sexual abuse. A longtime Buddhist practitioner, she seeks to integrate contemplative practice into her social activism and into her clinical work with others, especially those who have suffered from traumatic experiences. She is the mother of two children and married to Paul Knitter.

During the early 1980s, Cathy accompanied Salvadoran refugees and worked to reform immigration policies and practices through the Sanctuary Movement in Cincinnati, OH where she served as the Cincinnati Santuary coordinator from 1985-87. She has worked with CRISPAZ, Christians for Peace in El Salvador, as a Board member since 1987, currently as secretary of the board.

John D Dunne, PhD


Advisory Board

John is at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he holds the Distinguished Chair in Contemplative Humanities, a newly endowed position created through the Center for Healthy Minds. He also holds a co-appointment in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is participating in the creation of a new department in Asian Languages and Cultures. He was previously an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion and the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University, where he co-founded the Collaborative for Contemplative Studies.

John’s work focuses on Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice, especially in dialogue with cognitive science. His publications range from technical works on Buddhist epistemology to broader works on the nature of Buddhist contemplative practices such as mindfulness. He speaks in both academic and public contexts, and he occasionally teaches for Buddhist communities, most notably the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to serving as a faculty member at the Center, he is a Fellow of the Mind & Life Institute, where he has previously served on the Board of Directors. John also serves an academic advisor for the Rangjung Yeshe Institute.

Cheryl A Giles, PsyD

cheryl giles

Advisory Board

Cheryl A. Giles, PsyD, is the Francis Greenwood Peabody Senior Lecturer on Pastoral Care and Counseling at Harvard Divinity School (HDS) and has been a member of its faculty since 1997. Cheryl is a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience in the treatment of children and adolescents and their families who have significant mental illness, high-risk behaviors, and traumatic stress. She has been a consultant at the Department of Youth Services, the Department of Children and Families, and many area schools, hospitals, and non-profits in Massachusetts. Prior to Harvard Divinity School, Cheryl was Director of the Lighthouse Program, a residential facility in Brighton, MA, that treated adolescents who where newly discharged from psychiatric hospitals and needed time for stabilization before returning home. At HDS, Cheryl teaches courses on spiritual counseling, contemplative care of the dying, and anti-racism practices for ministry, and she mentors students who are preparing for healthcare chaplaincy and social justice work. Her primary research interests are identifying the role of risk and resilience in developing healthy adolescents, exploring the impact of contemplative care for the dying, and increasing awareness of healthcare inequality for African-Americans. Cheryl is a core faculty member of the Buddhist Ministry Initiative at HDS. She received certification in end-of-life care from the Being With Dying Program and G.R.A.C.E.: Training in Compassion-Based Interactions in the Clinical/Patient Encounter at Upaya Zen Center. She is the co-editor of The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work (Wisdom Press, 2012) and has authored articles on contemplative care of the dying and preparing clinicians to become compassionate caregivers. She is a student of Lama Willa Miller and serves on the Board of Directors of Natural Dharma Fellowship.

Bobbi Patterson, PhD

Bobbi Patterson

Advisory Board

Bobbi is a Professor of Pedagogy in the Religion Department and the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. She has served with others for more than forty-five years across a range of settings and positions, many of which she created, organized, and directed. During those years, she also trained in and taught Christian and Buddhist contemplative practices. An ordained Episcopal priest, she is a forty-year Associate of the Fellowship of the Society of St. John the Evangelist and an active member of the Drepung Loseling Monastery. She is a member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education and has presented several times at the Mind and Life Institute.

Bobbi founded the Theory-Practice-Learning Program at Emory University and offered workshops, trainings, and placement coordination for faculty and community leaders. She continues to serve as a consultant for Engaged Learning and Community-Based Learning Programs and Curricula. Professor Patterson led numerous workshops at national meetings and chaired the American Academy of Religion’s Teaching Committee as well as Teaching and Learning Section. She currently serves on the Board of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion and is a consultant for them co-leading an 18-month workshop on Community-Engaged Pedagogies. She has won numerous teaching prizes and in May 2015 was awarded Emory’s Thomas Jefferson Award. The award specifically recognizes contributions in the areas of teaching, research and scholarship, university advancement in relation to the entire university, as well as community or educational service on the local, state, national, and international level.

Lama Willa Miller, PhD

Interfaith Council
Willa is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston, MA and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH. She is Visiting Lecturer in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. Her books include The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work (2012), Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You (2009), and Essence of Ambrosia (2005). She is also published in a number of anthologies (most recently Dancing with Dharma: Essays in Movement and Dance in Western Buddhism) and journals including the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Buddhadharma, and the Tibet Journal. Willa’s teaching interests include compassion, non-dual embodiment and contemplative care. She leads meditation retreats and workshops throughout the United States, especially in the Northeast. Website:

Robert W Roeser, PhD

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Advisory Board

Rob is a Professor of Psychology and Human Development in the Department of Psychology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. He received his BA with honors in Psychology from Cornell University and his PhD from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Roeser also holds master’s degrees in religion and psychology, developmental psychology and clinical social work. In 2005 he was a United States Fulbright Scholar in India, and from 1999-2004 he was a William T. Grant Foundation Faculty Scholar. He has also worked with the Mind and Life Institute (Boulder, CO) as the Senior Program Coordinator and member of the Mind and Life Educational Research Network (MLERN). Dr. Roeser’s research focuses on school as a primary cultural context of child and adolescent development; and how students’ experiences in classrooms and schools, with teachers and peers, affect their identity development, social-emotional well being, motivation to learn, and academic achievement. His current research is focused on bringing mindfulness and compassion training to teachers and students in early childhood and early adolescence to improve teaching and learning.

Harold D Roth, PhD

Hal HeadshotAdvisory Board

Hal is professor of religious studies and founding director of the contemplative studies initiative at Brown University. He is a specialist in classical Chinese philosophy and textual analysis, the Daoist tradition, the comparative study of contemplative practices and results, and a pioneer of the academic field of contemplative studies, in which he created the first Arts and Sciences concentration and co-created the first medical school concentration in North America. He has published six books and more than 50 scholarly articles in these areas including Original Tao (Columbia, 1999), a translation and analysis of the oldest text on breath meditation in China, and “Against Cognitive Imperialism” (Religion East and West, 2008), a critique of conceptual bias in Cognitive Sciences and Religious Studies. He has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.

Pamela Seigle, MS

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Pamela is the Executive Director of Courage & Renewal Northeast at Wellesley College, an affiliate of the national Center for Courage & Renewal. She co-leads the Leading Together Initiative for the Center for Courage & Renewal, a program that brings teams of principals and educator-leaders together to experience and learn reflective and mindfulness practices and to build relational trust amongst the adults in their school community. Pamela is the founder of the Open Circle® Program based at the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College. Open Circle is a leading provider of evidence based curriculum and professional development for social and emotional learning (SEL) in kindergarten through grade 5. Since its inception in 1987, Open Circle has reached over two million students and trained more than 13,000 educators. Pamela is currently a Trustee of the Conservatory Lab Charter School, a music-infused elementary school in Boston that has implemented El Sistema as a whole school initiative, and a former Trustee of the Boston Public Library. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Syracuse University.

Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD


Advisory Board

Judith is Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she has taught since 1978.  She is an Acharya, senior dharma teacher, in the Shambhala lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Naropa’s founder. Judith founded the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education at Naropa University, and serves as senior advisor. The Center builds on Naropa’s forty-plus years’ heritage as the pioneering higher educational institution in contemplative learning, and fosters collaborations and trainings for faculty in best practices. She is the lead for Naropa’s Compassion Training program that joins compassion practices with neuroscience, social science, and humanities. Her book, Dakini’s Warm Breath (Shambhala 2001), comes from her academic specialty in tantric Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. With Fran Grace, she edited a collection of articles called Meditation in the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (Religious Studies Series, State University of New York Press, 2010).

Carol M Worthman, PhD

Worthman2013Advisory Board

Carol is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology at Emory University (Atlanta), where she also directs the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology. After taking a dual undergraduate degree in biology and botany at Pomona College, Dr. Worthman took her PhD in biological anthropology at Harvard University, having also studied endocrinology at UCSD and neuroscience at MIT under Jack Geller and Richard Wurtman, respectively. She joined the nascent anthropology faculty at Emory University in 1986, and established a laboratory pioneering the use of biomarkers in population research.

Professor Worthman takes a biocultural approach to pursuit of comparative interdisciplinary research on human development, and biocultural bases of differential mental and physical health. She has conducted cross-cultural biosocial research in thirteen countries, including Kenya, Tibet, Nepal, Egypt, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and South Africa, as well as in rural, urban, and semi-urban areas of the United States. For over 20 years, she collaborated with Jane Costello and Adrian Angold in the Great Smoky Mountains Study, a large, longitudinal, population-based developmental epidemiological project in western North Carolina. Current work includes a study of the impact of television on adolescent sleep/wake patterns in the context of a controlled experiment with Vietnamese villages lacking both television and electricity. She has led development and implementation of the neuroscience component in the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative since its inception in 2008. Roll-out of the program in the regular monastic curriculum in India now is now in its third year.