Dr. Yana Weinstein applies cognitive psychology to education; the goal of her research is to help students make the most of their academic experience. Dr. Weinstein’s research interests lie in improving the accuracy of memory performance and the judgments students make about their cognitive functions. Dr. Weinstein poses questions with direct applied relevance: How can we help students choose optimal study strategies? Why are test scores sometimes surprising to students? And how does retrieval practice help students learn? This year, Dr. Weinstein started the very popular Learning Scientists Blog (learningscientists.org/blog) with former colleagues from Washington University in St. Louis.
Location: University of Massachusetts Lowell
Current Gig: Assistant Professor
One word/phrase that describes your work style: distracted
Current computer/mobile device: MacBook Air/iPhone
What apps/tools/software can you not live without?
Social Media (particularly Twitter and Facebook). I recently deleted the apps on my phone in an attempt to be more “present” at home, but it’s an addiction.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
What’s your workspace set up like? I work best in coffee shops (or at least I think I do). While Starbucks is not my favorite establishment by any stretch, I begrudgingly return there almost every day in the summer, because of all the conveniences I can rely on (i.e., sockets and wifi).
How do you keep track of things you need to do (any to-do-list apps)?
I use Omnifocus, although I’m now using an old, unsupported version because I don’t like the look of the latest one. It’s great for keeping track of multiple projects across multiple contexts. I’ve also tried Asana, but that didn’t really stick.
Besides your phone or computer, what gadget can’t you live without, and why?
This is going to sound really basic, but those sticky card holders you can get for your phone (usually free because they have a logo on them and get handed out at events). I keep my University ID in it, which I used to lose all the time.
What everyday thing can you do better than most people? What’s your secret?
I can write faster than most people (if I put my mind to it, which I rarely do – I’m usually too distracted).
What do you listen to while you work?
Background noise and whatever music someone else wants to listen to (I never select my own).
What are you currently reading?
Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t by Patricia Papernow.
How do you recharge?
By going on vacations by myself.
How do you balance your work life and your home/family life?
By constantly feeling guilty, or trying not to, and then feeling guilty that I don’t feel guilty (in other words, I don’t).
What’s your sleep routine like?
Terrible – I do literally all of the wrong things: work in bed, screen time right up until I turn the light off (and sometimes even after that), inconsistent bed-time, don’t go to bed when I’m tired, need caffeine in the morning to function…basically, I’m the poster child of how not to do a sleep routine.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t write a textbook before you have a job/tenure (I didn’t take the advice, of course).