Our Founding

Student Experience Research Network (SERN) was founded following a 2013 summit about academic mindsets hosted by the White House and the U.S. Education Department and sponsored by the Raikes Foundation. Summit organizer Maya Shankar asked researchers David Yeager, Dave Paunesku, Greg Walton, and Carol Dweck to develop a white paper to summarize the state of scholarship in this area, which built upon early research on growth mindset led by Carol Dweck and research on stereotype threat led by Claude Steele.

The summit addressed the potential for mindset research to advance student learning and well-being and the need for innovative cross-disciplinary scholarship in this area. Following the summit, the Raikes Foundation funded an interdisciplinary research network that could support the application of research in the education sector and initiate collaborative studies to move the field forward – such as the National Study of Learning Mindsets and the multi-site study on which the College Transition Collaborative (now the Equity Accelerator) was founded.

Initiated under the scientific leadership of scholars Carol Dweck, Claude Steele, and David Yeager, the network was incubated at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University. The project was championed and directed at CASBS by Ellen Konar and Margaret Levi and then formally launched in 2015 under the name Mindset Scholars Network, with David Yeager and Barbara Schneider as co-chairs and Lisa Quay as managing director.

As our work has evolved and our scholarly community has expanded over time, SERN has remained committed to advancing interdisciplinary scholarship and building a just and equitable education system informed by what we know from research. Today, SERN is a fiscally sponsored project of New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization.

Our Team

Lisa Quay

Executive Director

Scott Sears

Operations Associate

Chloe Stroman

Senior Associate, Communications and Outreach

Staff Alumni

Hanna Campbell

Chief of Staff, Director of Operations and Strategy

Marisa Goldstein

Senior Research Officer

Kaleen Healey

Director of Strategic Outreach and Partnerships

Jess Hennessey

Manager, Communications

Imani Kane

Manager, Strategic Outreach and Partnerships

Haley McNamara

Research Associate

Shanette Porter

Director of Research and Senior Fellow

SERN Scholars

SERN scholars have diverse expertise in computer science, economics, education, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and statistics, spanning developmental stages from early childhood through adulthood. They are affiliated with 24 institutions across the nation.