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BALTIMORE May 28, 2013 -- Elaine Tuttle Hansen, Executive Director of the Center for Talented Youth (CTY), and David Andrews, Dean of the School of Education (SoE), announce the appointment of Amy Shelton to a dual role as Director of Research at CTY and professor in SoE, starting July 1, 2013. 

The appointment reflects a new and deeper collaboration between the two Johns Hopkins institutions. It will offer a significant opportunity to bridge the gap between basic research on learning and educational practice. SoE’s specific interest in personalized learning will provide a strong framework for building on CTY’s expertise in identifying and meeting the needs of the most highly advanced pre-college learners. 

Together, under Professor Shelton’s leadership,  CTY and SoE will create a question-driven research collective that links basic research to classroom application in order to advance  understanding of the conditions under which exceptional academic ability arises and flourishes, how intelligence can be nourished and strengthened, and the factors that most powerfully unleash and sustain creativity.  An ultimate goal is to partner in the development of a more concerted, thorough, and systematic approach to understanding talent in order to strengthen the capacity for learning in all students.

Professor Shelton brings a strong background in psychological and brain sciences to her new role. Since 2002 she has served on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences with joint appointments in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Department of Neuroscience, first as an assistant professor and since 2008 as an associate professor. Her research interests include spatial cognition as it relates to learning and memory, individual differences, spatial skill development, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Professor Shelton’s research has been supported through grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Aging, and her work has been widely published in books and journals including The Journal of Neuroscience and the Journal of Experimental Psychology. 

Before coming to Johns Hopkins, Professor Shelton completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University and earned her M.A. and PhD in cognitive psychology from Vanderbilt University. She graduated summa cum laude from Illinois State University, where she majored in psychology and minored in chemistry.

As Director of Research at CTY and SoE Professor of Education, Professor Shelton will apply her deep understanding of spatial cognition to better understand the importance of spatial abilities among advanced learners. She is hopeful that what she learns about spatial abilities among bright students will tell her more about the spatial abilities of more typical learners and that this work will one day lead to new spatial literacy curricula designed to help maximize the spatial cognition of students so that they can be more successful in school. 

“We already have an amazing capacity to learn,” she says. “I have this vision that with some very simple improvements we could enhance that dramatically.” 

Read more about Professor Shelton’s background and research interests in the Spring 2013 issue of the Johns Hopkins Arts and Sciences magazine: . #