Mensa Foundation ColloquiumGiftedness Across the Lifespan: The Talent and Potential of Neurodiversity

A composite illustration of tree, a starry night sky, and silhouettes of people young and old

Whether via livestream or in-person, we invite you to the 2023 Mensa Foundation Annual Colloquium in Baltimore on July 4. This year, the Colloquium focuses its topic on The Talent and Potential of Neurodiversity. We aim to assemble a panel of renowned advocates from the neurodiversity movement and expert researchers within the fields of intelligence and giftedness, ecology, neuroscience, and neuropsychology.

You’ll join the panel as it blends hard science with personal anecdotes that deconstruct the unconventional mind's intellectual abilities. You’ll also consider the different frameworks of the neurodiversity movement. You’ll leave with a greater appreciation for the uniqueness of the human experience and its connection to the brain.

With your support, the Mensa Foundation is committed to broadening the understanding of intelligence and giftedness while we continue to unleash intelligence for the benefit of humanity.

Registration Rates

Registration for the in-person event is $139; registration to attend via livestream is $99.

Both registration options include a full day of learning from and connecting with leading global experts in their fields, a live panel discussion and Q&A session, and access to a private online community just for Colloquium registrants. In-person registration also includes the opportunity for face-to-face networking with attendees who share your interests and a plated lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

Colloquium 2023 Speakers

Don Ambrose, Ph.D.
Educator and editor

Don Ambrose headshot

Don Ambrose is professor emeritus of graduate studies at Rider University and editor of the Roeper Review, an international research journal serving the fields of gifted education and creativity studies. He serves on the editorial boards of major journals in creative intelligence fields and for several book series.

Dr. Ambrose has initiated and led numerous interdisciplinary scholarly projects involving eminent researchers and theorists from various fields including gifted education, general education, creativity studies, cognitive science, ethical philosophy, psychology, political science, economics, law, history, sociology, urban planning, architecture, theoretical physics, and critical thinking. Examples of topics addressed by the many books he has published include interdisciplinary explorations of creative intelligence; the moral-ethical dimensions of giftedness; 21st-century globalization and its effects on creative intelligence; innovative, holistic education for the gifted; applications of complexity theory to high ability, transformational giftedness; and panoramic overviews of the gifted education field.

Honors include the Distinguished Scholar award from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC); Hall of Fame award from the New Jersey Association for Gifted Children; Creativity Award from the International Center for Innovation in Education; selection to the Routledge/Taylor & Francis Educational Expert Panel; Outstanding Book Chapter award from the American Creativity Association; the Research Briefs article of the year award from the Research and Evaluation Division of the NAGC; the Iorio Research Prize for outstanding scholarship; and the Frank N. Elliott Award for outstanding university service.

Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.
Author and teacher

Thomas Armstrong headshot

Thomas Armstrong is an award-winning author and speaker with more than 30 years of teaching experience from the primary through the doctoral level and more than 1 million copies of his books in print on issues related to learning and human development. His 13 books include The Human Odyssey: Navigating the Twelve Stages of Life, The Best Schools: How Human Development Research Should Inform Educational Practice, Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Child's Natural Genius, 7 Kinds of Smart, The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, and Awakening Genius in the Classroom.

His books have been translated into 24 languages. He has written for Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle (where he received awards from the Educational Press Association, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals), Parenting (where he was a regularly featured columnist), Mothering (where he was a contributing editor), and more than 30 other periodicals, journals, and edited books. Articles featuring his work have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Investor's Business Daily, Good Housekeeping, and hundreds of other newspapers and magazines around the country.

Dr. Armstrong has given more than 800 keynotes, workshop presentations, and lectures in 42 states and 16 countries in the past 19 years. He has appeared on several national and international television and radio programs, including NBC's The Today Show, CBS This Morning, CNN, the BBC, and The Voice of America. His clients have included Sesame Street, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the European Council of International Schools, the Republic of Singapore, and several state departments of education.

Lawrence Fung, M.D., Ph.D.
Scientist and psychiatrist

Lawrence Fung headshot

Lawrence Fung is a scientist and psychiatrist specialized in autism. He is the father of a teenager on the autism spectrum.

Dr. Fung is the director of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, which strives to uncover the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilize their talents to increase innovation and productivity of the society as a whole. He directs the Neurodiverse Student Support Program, Neurodiversity at Work Program, and Neurodiversity Clinic at Stanford.

Dr. Fung is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. His lab advances the understanding of neural bases of human socio-communicative and cognitive functions by using novel neuroimaging and technologies. His team devises and implements novel interventions to improve the lives of neurodiverse individuals by maximizing their potential and productivity. He is currently conducting a study to demonstrate that specialized employment programs such as Neurodiversity at Work program will result in higher retention rates and quality of life.

Shawn Anthony Robinson, Ph.D.
Social entrepreneur

Shawn Anthony Robinson headshot

Shawn Anthony Robinson is a social entrepreneur, co-founder of the award-winning graphic novel Doctor Dyslexia Dude, and serves on the advisory council of Benetech. Robinson graduated from high school (New Trier) reading at an elementary level, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (UWO) with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services, a Master’s in Education from DePaul University, and a Ph.D. in Language and Literacy from Cardinal Stritch University.

Dr. Robinson has over 40 publications and has received several distinguished honors throughout his early career, including the 2017 Alumni Achievement Award/New Trier High School Alumni Hall of Honor, the 2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from UWO, and the 2005 “Educator of the Year” from All-State Insurance (Chicago). He is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Nicole Tetreault, Ph.D.
Neuroscientist, author, and meditation teacher

Shawn Anthony Robinson headshot

Nicole Tetreault is a compassionate neuroscientist, author, meditation teacher, and international speaker on topics of neurodiversity, neurodevelopment, creativity, mental health, and wellness. Her book Insight into a Bright Mind explores groundbreaking research examining the experiences of unique, creative, and intense brains through interviews, storytelling, and literary science, while advocating for new directions of human diversity and neurodiversity.

Dr. Tetreault received her Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in biology specializing in neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disorders. As the founder of Awesome Neuroscience, she translates the most promising neuroscience and positive psychology for people to live their best life, and she has authored numerous academic papers on intelligence, autism, brain evolution, neuroinflammation, and behavior. Dr. Tetreault is a professor at Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education and teaches the complexities of neurodiversity, meditation, and neuroscience.

Dr. Tetreault leads a new generation of meditation practices by fusing novel discoveries in neuroscience with the ancient lineage of Asian meditation. A recipient of the Milton Career Exploration Prize from Caltech, she founded the novel non-profit Beyond the Cell, a transformative program to rehabilitate incarcerated women through guided meditation, neuroscience, literature, and expressive writing.