Call for Nominations for Positions on the IMBES Trainee Board

The IMBES Trainee Board is pleased to announce the opening of nominations for our annual Trainee Board elections. Nominations will be accepted from October 12, 2020 until November 9, 2020. All graduate students, post-docs, or pre-service teachers who are members of IMBES and are interested in getting involved in MBE are encouraged to self-nominate. There will be an opening for the following positions: Co-President, Policy and Practice Chair, Social Media Chair. For a description of the duties of these positions, see here.


To self-nominate, please email and include the following in your email:

  1. Desired position(s);
  2. A brief statement (no more than 500 words total) that will be included on the ballot, with
    1. One-paragraph about yourself and your relevant experience.
    2. One-paragraph statement of interest, which should include your vision for ways to improve the IMBES student community and how you will be able to do so in the position for which you are running.

Nominate a Trainee:

If you know of a graduate student, post-doc, or pre-service teacher who you think would contribute meaningfully to the board, please nominate them! Send an email to with their name, email address, and the position for which you think he/she would be best suited. We will contact that person to say that he/she has been anonymously nominated and invite them to submit the election information described above.

All eligible nominees will be included on the ballot that will be emailed to trainees in November. Please note that nominations for Co-President must be approved by IMBES to be included on the ballot.

Positions are for two years. New board members will begin their term on January 1, 2021 and end their term on December 31, 2022.

To learn more about the trainee board or a particular position on this year’s ballot, please email questions to us at You may also direct your email to a specific board member below.

The Trainee Board values diversity within IMBES, recognizes that diversity is essential for IMBES to reach its full potential, and prioritizes diversity within the trainee board and the larger trainee community. The Trainee Board fosters an environment within the board and in the larger community that represents, includes, and supports trainees across diverse personal demographics of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, marital status, and disability. The Trainee Board also fosters inclusivity based on diverse ideas, topics, and methodologies within the broad scope of MBE work.

IMBES has a vibrant and burgeoning trainee community that supports all trainees and the IMBES community. Among many initiatives, the Trainee Board helps to organize IMBES conferences, puts on trainee-focused events, runs the IMBES listserv, and manages IMBES' social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.

We hope you consider nominating yourself or others for a position on the IMBES trainee board! If you’d like to get involved, but are not able to run for a position at this time, please email us to discuss other options.


The IMBES Trainee Board
Rich Daker and Elien Bellon, Co-Presidents
Matthew Shackley, Secretary
Yunji Park, Research Chair
Rene Grimes, Policy and Practice Chair
Alexa Ellis, Social Media Chair
Jeci Younger, Past-President

Trainee Board

IMBES is also very pleased to have a Trainee Board. Richard Daker and Elien Bellon serve as the co-trainee representatives to the IMBES Board and co-presidents of the IMBES Trainee Board. In these roles they articulate a vision for the trainee board and manage it, liaise between the Trainee Board and the main IMBES board, serve as the voice for the trainee community, and promote the interests and engagement of trainees.


Richard Daker

Rich Daker is a PhD student in the Psychology Department at Georgetown University working with Dr. Ian Lyons and Dr. Adam Green. His research uses a combination of behavioral, psychophysiology, and neuroimaging methods to understand the role that anxiety about math, creativity, and spatial reasoning plays in shaping academic achievement and is broadly interested in exploring ways that psychology and neuroscience can help students succeed. Before starting graduate school, Rich worked at ideas42 where he helped apply findings from psychology to improve graduation rates among community college students. He completed his undergraduate studies at Princeton University with concentrations in psychology and neuroscience.


Elien Bellon

Elien Bellon is a PhD student at the Parenting and Special Education Research unit of the KU Leuven, Belgium, working with Prof. Dr. Bert De Smedt (KU Leuven) and Prof. Dr. Wim Fias (Ghent University). With her doctoral dissertation, Elien aims to further our understanding of individual differences in children's mathematical skills and the neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie mathematical skills and development. Her research primarily focuses on the role of metacognition in arithmetic and she uses both behavioral and neuroimaging methods to answer her research questions. Eventually, based on her research findings, Elien aspires to design targeted training and/or intervention for primary school children who struggle with mathematics.


Matthew Shackley

Matthew Shackley is a PhD student in Education with an interdisciplinary emphasis in Cognitive Science at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara, working with Dr. Julie Bianchini. His research applies educational psychology to better understand student perceptions of climate change mechanisms, and student willingness to engage in pro-environmental behavior. He hopes to use this work to inform the development of environmental science curricula, more effective at promoting environmental stewardship and sustainable development. Prior to graduate school, Matthew worked as a middle school science teacher in his hometown of Las Vegas, NV after receiving his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and M.S. in Teaching and Learning from Colorado State University.

Research Chair

Yunji Park

Yunji is a PhD student in the educational psychology department at UW-Madison working with Drs. Percival Matthews and Edward Hubbard. Her PhD work focuses on understanding children’s structural and functional brain development and how it interplays with learning. Currently, she is also collaborating with Drs. Douglas Dean III and Andrew Alexander in the medical physics department of her university for her diffusion MRI work. She is particularly interested in understanding developmental changes in the relationship between white matter connectivity and math learning. Yunji’s research is all about attempting to bridge the fields of mind, brain, and education!

Policy and Practice Chair

Rene Grimes

Rene is a former early childhood educator, and currently a doctoral candidate in the department of Special Education at the University of Texas, Austin. Her current work focuses on at-risk-for math learning disability populations (preschool through first grade). Her doctoral work has also included supporting middle school teachers providing mathematics interventions, supervising and supporting pre-service teachers in their field experiences, and as a liaison-advocate for students with chronic health care needs during hospital stays and as they return to school.

Social Media Chair

Alexa Ellis

Alexa Ellis is a doctoral candidate in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan, advised by Drs. Pamela Davis-Kean, Fred Morrison, and Ioulia Kovelman. Her research focuses on the development of children’s early math skills and understanding the contribution of the home and school contexts to those early skills. She is currently conducting her dissertation data collection in schools and is excited to be part of the IMBES trainee board. Be sure to tag @IMBESoc on twitter to spark fun conversations!

Past President

Jessica Younger

Jessica Younger is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Neuroscape Research center at the University of California, San Francisco, where she works with Dr. Melina Uncapher. She uses a variety of neuroimaging and behavioral research methods to understand the roots of individual differences in learning and academic achievement. As a member of the Education Program, she uses mobile technology to do large-scale in-school assessment and intervention to understand the core cognitive skills underlying learning and whether training these cognitive skills can result in improved academic outcomes. Jessica completed her doctorate in Communication Sciences and Disorders at University of Texas at Austin where she researched the neural correlates of sound-symbol learning under the direction of Dr. James Booth.

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