Dr. Anne Cleary is a Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University who has lived in historic Old Town Fort Collins since 2006. Her area of specialization is Cognitive Psychology with a particular focus on human memory and learning. From 2013-2015, she served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, directing the Perception, Action and Cognition Program.
At CSU, she has been involved with science of learning initiatives on campus that are aimed at applying the science of learning to helping students perform well academically, including teaching a university-wide course on the science of learning as it applies to good study habits and skills. Though primarily a memory researcher, she has done some research in the area of music cognition and has collaborated with musicians in this work.
Her excitement about Off the Hook Arts stems from an interest in the intersection between music and human cognition. There is a scientific literature that points toward a benefit of musical training on brain and cognitive development in children. In particular, some studies suggest that childhood musical training, such as through community music classes, may induce neuroplasticity in children in ways that benefit other aspects of cognitive processing. Such benefits may increase the likelihood of success in many domains, including STEM disciplines. This makes free and low-cost community music education programs for youth important for reasons beyond exposure to musical instrument playing itself—such lessons may help to prepare students for a multitude of skills and career opportunities in later life.