Meet Our Alumni
Sam McDougle

Sam McDougle

Bank Street School for Children '01

I was taught many excellent pedagogical lessons about learning different types of material… It really helped form a large set of interests for me, and more specifically it helped me interpersonally in understanding the importance of communities.

Currently in academia, Sam McDougle’s, SFC ’01, story begins with him being a musician after studying neuroscience at Vassar College. A musician for many years, he played the fiddle and guitar for two Bluegrass bands: The Powder Kegs and Tumbling Bones. Though he loved music, Sam was tempted to return to academia. He had a particular interest in the way he was learning to play musical instruments, such as the fiddle, banjo, and guitar, and joined with his interest in neuroscience, he decided to study the psychology of motor skill learning. Sam is currently an assistant professor at Yale in the Department of Psychology and presently runs the Action, Computation, and Thinking (ACT) lab. The ACT lab uses psychophysical, computational, and neurophysiological techniques to investigate human learning, memory, and cognition. Recent work has focused on how skill learning involves an interaction between executive functions and low-level processes, on mapping and modeling this interaction, and on exploring its effects on decision-making and reinforcement learning.

Learn more about Sam in the video below, in which he references his life, work, and his former Bank Street teacher David Wollkenberg’s 5/6s Discussion on Family (video)

Educational Background

University of California, Berkeley, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2020
Princeton University, PhD, Psychology & Neuroscience, 2018
Vassar College, BA, Neuroscience & Behavior, 2009
Ethical Culture Fieldston School, 2005
Bank Street School for Children, 2001