Testimonials

“DISI was an incredible opportunity for sustained conversations about the fundamental nature of intelligence and its many manifestations. The faculty and participants all clearly loved the intellectual exchange.“          
   — Jon Atwell, Data Science Scholar, Northwestern University

“DISI was a once in a lifetime experience to meet established researchers across a range of disciplines, and forge new interdisciplinary collaborations with like-minded individuals from around the world. I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 weeks at St. Andrews and learned a great deal from it.”           
   — Amalia Bastos, PhD Student, Animal Minds Lab, University of Auckland

“At DISI, I gained insight on how other disciplines approach their problems, many of which have some resemblance to problems in my field. This was an inspiring and enjoyable experience, and one that had both concrete near-term benefits for my research, as well as broader ones that I hope will come to fruition in the future. Among the immediately useful things I learned was an information-theoretic method that was relevant to an unfinished project that I had set aside about a year ago. I had all but abandoned that project because I thought the difficulties it was facing were insurmountable—but now it looks like a slight change of perspective might make it into a readily answerable question. And, on the longer term, my experience at DISI gave me enough first-hand experience with researchers in other fields that I now have a new confidence in being able to find a common language across disciplinary boundaries. This makes even far-afield interdisciplinary collaborations seem both beneficial and achievable.”
   — Andrei Boutyline Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Michigan

“This was an amazing experience! Having two weeks with other people allowed us to make connections that would be difficult at a weekend conference. There was a very positive atmosphere towards many diverse types of research, which is a rare and wonderful environment to be in.” 
   — Rachel Bristol, PhD Student, Cognitive Science, UCSD

 “Interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration are (at least in this enthusiast's humble opinion) one of the primary (if not the primary) forces moteurs driving modern, innovative science. Combine diversity of opinion with diversity of experience, disposition and circumstance and you have yourself a winning formula for the manufacture of new ideas, potent partnerships and (perhaps most importantly) fruitful friendships. No individual is an island, no discipline a panacea, and no single idea autonomous enough to be realized on its own.  That's what makes an effort like the Diverse Intelligences Program indispensable.”     
   — Colin Conwell, PhD Student, Psychology, Harvard University

“DISI 2018 proved to be an extremely valuable and successful experiment.  With nearly forty young, bright minds given the time and space to develop unique connections and insights into Diverse Intelligences, I think everybody walked away very grateful for the opportunity and pleased with what we could accomplish in so short a time.  As for me personally, I already have ongoing plans for collaboration with one of the other participants and two of the grantees (to say nothing of the other wonderful new relationships and potential future work we may do), and these collaborations may very well change the direction of my academic and professional plans.  This could never have happened without the generous funding to make these connections possible.”                    

   — Steven Michael Crane, MS Student, Community Health & Prevention Research, Stanford University;          Boundaries of Humanity Project , Stanford University

“It was extremely important to my professional development.”                                                    

   — Jake Hanson, PhD Student, Astrophysics, Arizona State University

“This experience was unparalleled to any other I’ve ever had. DISI provided me with a platform to meet others outside my field and develop procedures to answer questions beyond my expertise. I would recommend this program to anyone with an open mind and a fervent curiosity for all questions related to diverse intelligences.”       Josephine Hubbard, PhD Student, Animal Behavior, UC Davis

“This was a wonderful opportunity to connect with other scholars who have taken unconventional routes into intelligence research.”                                       
   — Bleu Knight, Research Scientist, New Mexico State University

“DISI 2018 was a deeply enriching and inspiring event for me. I frequently felt like I was taking part in the synthesis of a new intellectual paradigm that transcended traditional disciplinary boundaries. I expect that the transformations in my thinking and the new collaborators I have gained by virtue of this experience will stay with me throughout my academic career.”                                                                                                              

   — Lynette Shaw, Michigan Society of Fellows, Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan

 

“DISI was an extraordinary event that not only brought together young scholars from a broad range of disciplines, but also created an environment that made it easy for us to start talking across the disciplinary borders and develop novel ideas. I met so many people that I wouldn't have met otherwise at any of the conferences I regularly attend. By the time we wrapped up two amazing weeks, we had three interdisciplinary projects developed in collaboration among 8 people working in psychology, animal cognition, plant behavior, and computational modeling (and we were even able to collect very promising pilot data during the institute, so I can't wait to continue working on these projects). I am very grateful to have been selected to attend this institute—I am certain that all the academic and personal connections I built during DISI will continue shaping my academic career, helping me become a better researcher, thinker, and an active member of broader academic—and non-academic—community. Hats off to Erica, Jacob and Stephanie who spectacularly pulled off organizing an extremely successful event at such a large scale!”                                                                                

   — Nadya Vasilyeva, Postdoctoral Scholar, Psychology, UC Berkeley

 

“The DISI summer institute was one of the most intellectually engaging experiences I have had during my graduate career. The lectures helped me become more comfortable with reading literature outside of my area of expertise and the project development component allowed me to pursue a fascinating research topic with fellow scholars who I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to work with. DISI also gave me the unique opportunity to meet, learn from, and collaborate with fellow scholars with a wide range of research interests. The supportive environment of DISI encouraged both friendship and long standing collaborations with other scholars and faculty. From this experience I have become more open to engaging in cross disciplinary collaborations and am less likely to shy away from topics that I am unfamiliar with. This was an incredibly positive and memorable experience.”                                                           

   — Haleh Yazdi, PhD Student, Developmental Psychology, UCSD

“As a doctoral student who embarked on the journey of scientific research only recently, DISI 2018 established for me a prospect of what science I want to do and what kind of scientist I want to be. I used to care only about the very few topics that are immediately related to my dissertation project (i.e., the cognitive and neurological mechanisms underlying human coordination and building human-like machines accordingly), but now I know these topics could and should be considered within a broader spectrum of knowledge and intelligence (e.g., animal coordination, human coordination and collaboration on the sociological level, collective decision making, using information theory to explain human coordination, reverse-engineering, etc.). DISI transformed (at least a considerable part of) my "unknown unknown" (to quote my friend Amalia who also participated in DISI 2018) into "known unknown," which has become a powerful incentive for my learning and research both theoretically and methodologically.”
   — Chen Zheng, PhD Student, Cognitive Science, Columbia University

“It was fantastic to see how involved the students were with the lectures, the discussion sessions and their projects.  There was a lot of enthusiasm and good ideas floating around.  It was very refreshing to see how well they connected with each other despite possessing very different academic and cultural backgrounds. The organizers should be commended for putting together an exciting academic program, selecting a terrific venue, and bringing together a remarkable group of very talented and motivated students.”

   — Josep Call, Professor in Evolutionary Origins of Mind, University of St Andrews

 

“Cheers and gratitude to the amazing team of multi-talented scholars who organized the truly outstanding summer institute on diverse intelligences I had the privilege to participate in. In addition to the careful thought and work that went into facilitating productive and stimulating discussion between disciplines, providing faculty with the opportunity to interact with an incredibly talented group of graduate students and early career scholars, and putting time and effort into accommodating everyone, including implementing a code of conduct based on principles of ethical behavior in professional settings, they also planned delightful social events (Scottish square dancing, whiskey tasting) and evening salons to discuss the complex scientific, social, and ethical challenges facing the global population. Bravo!”

   — Cristine Legare, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Texas-Austin; TWCF Grantee

 

“I was very pleased with the event. The event brought disparate people from different backgrounds and took on the challenge of uniquely bringing the disciplines together - there are very few forums that I have seen that do this in the intelligence field.”

   — Ronjon Nag, AI Entrepreneur; Distinguished Careers Institute, Stanford University

 

“DISI 2018 magnified possibilities for grappling with the intricacies of intelligences not simply in the presence of but, more unusually, in concert with scholars with vastly different domains of expertise. A week together allowed a few critical windows to be opened across paradigms, modeling out of the box thinking for DISI participants.” 

   — Elinor Ochs, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Emerita, UCLA; MacArthur Fellow

 

“This was one of the most stimulating experiences I've had in the past decade. There is so much lip service about interdisciplinarity but this conference was truly interdisciplinary in a deep way. I got tons of new ideas for my own work and am now collaborating with one of the participants on a paper on social interaction among baboons. I can confidently say this never would have happened without DISI!”

   — Stephen Vaisey, Professor of Sociology, Duke University