Susan Magsamen is the director of Interdisciplinary Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Brain Science Institute. She works across the university to collaborate on programs that bring evidence-based brain science knowledge and practice to a range of communities. Susan is the president of the Ultimate Block Party and Publisher of LearnNow. Susan is an award-winning writer and advisor on family and children’s issues with a special interest in creativity and learning. She is founder of Curiosityville, FamilyStories and Curiosity Kits. Her body of work has earned hundreds of national awards and recognition from child development experts and parenting associations, including Oppenheim Awards, Parents’ Choice, Family Fun, National Association of Parenting Publications Awards, Hearthsong, and the prestigious Canadian Toy Council Award. Susan was the chair of the Wondertime magazine Editorial Advisory Council, a national child development magazine for families that shares relevant research in practical ways. Susan’s books and programs have been called “a beautiful celebration of family life,” empowering parents and children to connect with each other, with other families and with the world around them. Susan’s work is widely recognized as fostering and enhancing the ways we learn, play, create and grow as individuals, families and communities.
Susan’s approach to creating enriching learning environments at home, after-school and in the community combines interdisciplinary, evidence-based research with practical, applicable ideas and programs. She regularly brings together scientists, educators, parents, psychologists, advocates, policymakers, educational media and others to share their perspectives on topics that matter including education, family life, careers and more. Then, through a series of communications platforms—from books to videos, radio to speaker series—Susan brings this knowledge, insight and ideas to those who need it to inform, inspire and educate. In her capacity as director of Interdisciplinary Programs at Johns Hopkins University’s Brain Sciences Institute, she fosters dialog among educators, families and researchers in the brain sciences. Susan is president of the Ultimate Block Party and codirector of the Center for Re-Imaging Children’s Learning and Education (CiRCLE) and one of the founders of the Ultimate Block Party and LearnNow. She cofounded the Neuro-Education Initiative at Johns Hopkins School of Education and serves on national and international boards for several organizations, including AEMS (Arts Education in Maryland Schools). Susan is a recent guest editor for the IMBES (International Mind, Brain and Education Society) on arts, creativity and learning. Author of seven books for families, Susan recently published with National Geographic The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonders. Susan received a master’s degrees in communications and business from Johns Hopkins University. Susan and her husband, Rick Huganir, professor and director of the Department of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University, live in an old, converted mill with their two gentle and loving lab dogs and big cats. Their four children are all amazingly creative, including Nikki, a graphic designer; Sam, a composer and musician; Adam, a self-described renaissance and gadget guy; and Ben, a creative writer, musician, athlete and college student.