Sian Leah Beilock is the President-Elect of Dartmouth, and currently serves as the eighth President of Barnard College at Columbia University. One of the most selective academic institutions in the world, Barnard is devoted to empowering exceptional women to change the world and the way we think about it.
Since Beilock became Barnard’s President in July 2017, she has raised the College’s eminence in STEM to parallel its renown in the arts and humanities; notably 34% of the Class of 2021 were STEM majors. Beilock has also led the College to record fundraising, increased applications for admission, and diversity among students, faculty and staff. Half of Barnard students identify as women of color.
Before joining Barnard, Beilock spent 12 years at the University of Chicago, where she was the Executive Vice Provost, an Officer of the University and the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology. There, Beilock oversaw several major academic centers and created and led UChicagoGRAD, a University-wide initiative designed to prepare its 10,000 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for leadership roles in academia, government, industry, and the nonprofit sector.
Beilock is one of the world’s leading experts on the brain science behind “choking under pressure” in business, education, and sports. In the last several years, her research has focused specifically on success in math and science for women and girls and on how performance anxiety can either be exacerbated or alleviated by teachers, parents and peers.
She works closely with individuals, Fortune 500 companies, sports teams, and government organizations to help them build high performance teams and use research-driven strategies to create environments that attract, retain, and get the best out of their talent.
Beilock is the author of the critically acclaimed Choke and How the Body Knows Its Mind (Simon & Schuster, 2010, 2015), which have been published in over a dozen languages. Her research has been featured in media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. She was chosen as one of 25 “Women to Watch” by Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine and has won several awards from national and international societies devoted to psychology, sport psychology, and education. Most notably, Beilock is the recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and, in 2017, she won the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences for her “fundamental contributions to our understanding of human skill learning and performance breakdowns in high-pressure and anxiety-provoking situations.” Her 2018 TED Talk has been viewed over 2.5 million times.
Beilock received a Bachelor of Science in cognitive science from the University of California, San Diego. She holds PhDs in both psychology and kinesiology from Michigan State University.