Pooja K. Agarwal

Assistant Professor
Affiliated Departments
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Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D., is a cognitive scientist who has been conducting research on how students learn since 2005. She is the author of the book Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning, and an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music, where she teaches psychological science to exceptional undergraduate musicians. Dr. Agarwal is also the founder of Retrieval Practice, a hub of strategies and resources based on the science of learning for more than 15,000 teachers around the world.

Dr. Agarwal's research has been published in leading journals; highlighted by the New York Times, NPR, and Education Week; and recognized by the National Science Foundation. Her love of learning formed at the outset of her career as a forth- and fifth-grade teacher in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Career Highlights
  • Published articles in Applied Cognitive Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Educational Psychology Review, Applied Cognitive Psychology, and Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Harry S. Truman Scholarship
  • Washington University Undergraduate Research Grants
  • Recipient of American Psychological Association (APA) Graduate Researcher Student Award
  • Recipient of Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) Alumni Titan Award
  • Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis
  • M.A., Washington University in St. Louis
  • B.A., Washington University in St. Louis
  • Teaching Certification
In Their Own Words

“I aim to transform education via evidence-based learning strategies and methods. As a scientist, I apply my expertise when translating cognitive science for educators, students, and the public. As a former K–12 teacher, I am familiar with the challenges that educators face, and accordingly, I strive to provide classroom recommendations that are practical and straightforward. Lastly, as a policy maker, I am mindful of the complexities that shape curricula, evaluation, classrooms, districts, states, and higher education.”

“Learning is successful when students are inspired to apply their knowledge gained from inside the classroom to their lives outside the classroom. Without this bridge from school to life, learning remains dormant and meaningless.”

“I am passionate about harnessing the science of learning to improve education. My research as a cognitive scientist informs my teaching and my teaching experiences inform my research. Although surprising to many of us, the science of learning exists. As educators dedicated to fostering learning, now is the time to unleash it.”