How do I learn

Partners and organizations

The How Do I Learn project represents the contributions of collaborators across disciplines, institutional boundaries, and personal beliefs. We are proud and grateful to represent the following groups, principal investigators, and primary contributors:

UW School of NursingUW school of nursing logo

Susanna Cunningham, Ph.D, PI
Jenny L. Williamson, PI (2015-16)

and Project Director 
Trez Buckland, Ph.D.

UW Life Center HDIL-Life-Center-300x49

T. Kieran O’Mahony, Ph.D., Co-PI


Tim Stetter
Harry Matrone
Liahna Fuller-NoonHDIL-PSESD-Full-Color-Logo-For-Web-300x113

Puget Sound ESD

Conn McQuinn, Co-PI


This grant ‘How Do I Learn’ (1R25DA033002-04) was supported by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research and administered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

We are particularly grateful to the taxpayers who fund these organizations and make this work possible.


bio-cunninghamSusanna Garner Cunningham BSN, MA, PhD, FAAN
Susanna Cunningham is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington, School of Nursing. She is also the principal investigator of the How Do I Learn grant . Her educational history includes bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing with a PhD in physiology and biophysics and a post-doctoral year in public health. For the past 25 years she has been privileged to be part of a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and educators who have focused their work on translating scientific advances related to neuroscience for students, educators, judges and lawyers and the general public. She loves to take her grandchildren on nature hikes to introduce them to the amazing flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. She is also an enthusiastic biker, kayaker and ham radio operator when circumstances permit.

bio-williamsonJenny Williamson, MA
Jenny Williamson has been a science educator for over 35 years. She worked for a decade at Pacific Science Center, teaching informal science education at schools all over Washington State. For the past 25 years she has been privileged to be part of a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and educators at the University of Washington who have focused their work on translating scientific advances related to neuroscience for students, educators, judges and lawyers and the general public. She is the project director for the How Do I Learn grant. Her educational history includes bachelor’s degree in zoology, and a master’s degree in education. She is also a master naturalist and gardener and volunteers as a weed warrior in Clark County, Washington. When she is missing in action, her friends and family know to look for her in the garden or in some quiet corner reading a book.

bio-omahonyTimothy Kieran O’Mahony, PhD, FRGS
Kieran is a learning sciences fellow at the University of Washington College of Education LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments. The LIFE Center is the first Science if Learning Center funded by the National Science Foundation whose primary objective is to investigate social, cognitive and neuroscience of how people learn. Kieran is co-PI along with Dr Susanna Cunningham of the How Do I Learn project. Teacher professional development is a key component of Kieran’s career, where pedagogical models and processes are brought to new and incumbent teachers in their classroom settings. He is the primary motivator for the iterative learning and teaching model that is foundational to HDIL.

bio-mcquinnConn McQuinn
Conn McQuinn is Director of Technology Learning and Leadership at Puget Sound Educational Service District, a regional educational agency serving the K-12 schools of King and Pierce counties in Washington State. He acts as the technology lead for the project, identifying and coordinating the use of online systems for professional development and resources for the participating teachers, as well as acting as part of the professional development team. Conn has degrees in science and education and has 38 years of experience in science and technology education in both informal and formal settings including the Pacific Science Center and Puget Sound ESD. He has also served on the boards of the Washington Science Teachers’ Association, the Northwest Council for Computers in Education, and presented at numerous conferences. The How Do I Learn project has been an exciting opportunity to work with dedicated and talented colleagues to empower teachers and to develop a community of learners exploring how to apply neuroscience in classrooms.

bio-matroneHarry Matrone
Harry Matrone has worked in public education for the past 45 years. For 30 years he was in the classroom teaching high-risk students in Alaska and Michigan. For the past 10 years he’s managed professional development programs for K-12 educators with UW Professional & Continuing Education. Harry holds a master’s degree in special education of the emotionally impaired from Eastern Michigan University. He’s also completed the coursework for a PhD in K-12 Educational Administration at Michigan State University. Harry’s interests in supporting teacher learning extend back to the years he was a teacher-consultant for the Alaska State Writing Consortium, a member of the National Writing Project. He also has a background in classroom-based research. As a member of the HDIL team, Harry is involved with planning the annual summer institute for middle school teachers. Away from work, he spends time with his wife and playing soccer with his two grandsons. He is an enthusiastic Seattle Sounders supporter.

bio-wallisPeter Wallis, MEd
Peter Wallis is a doctoral student at the University of Washington’s College of Education and Instructional Designer at UW Information Technology. He balances his time and studies between neuroscience, open educational technology projects and the study of literature and memory. Currently, he is working with How Do I Learn’s websites and technology projects, the UW HR/Payroll Modernization Project, the Oral and Written Language Learners lab, and UW Professional and Continuing Education. He is constantly seeking alignment between areas of fascination, drawing on neuroscience to create open education projects, or thinking about the role of memory and stories in large-scale technology learning. In his spare time, Peter seeks other opportunities to learn though dance, martial arts and writing fiction and poetry.