top of page
Sian Beilock Original.jpg

Sian Leah Beilock, Ph.D.

President, Barnard College, Columbia University

Sian serves as the eighth President of Barnard College at Columbia University. One of the most selective academic institutions in the world, Barnard is devoted to empowering exceptional women to change the world and the way we think about it.


Since becoming Barnard’s President in July 2017, Sian has raised the College’s eminence in STEM to parallel its renown in the arts and humanities; notably 34% of the Class of 2021 were STEM majors. She has also led the College to record fundraising, increased applications for admission, and diversity among students, faculty, and staff. Half of Barnard students identify as women of color.


Before joining Barnard, Sian spent 12 years at the University of Chicago, where she was the Executive Vice Provost, an Officer of the University, and the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology. There, she oversaw several major academic centers and created and led UChicagoGRAD, a University-wide initiative designed to prepare its 10,000 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for leadership roles in academia, government, industry, and the nonprofit sector.


One of the world’s leading experts on the brain science behind “choking under pressure,” Sian is the author of the critically acclaimed Choke and How the Body Knows Its Mind, which have been published in more than a dozen languages. She works closely with individuals, Fortune 500 companies, sports teams, and government organizations to help them build high performance teams and use research-driven strategies to create environments that attract, retain, and get the best out of their talent.


Sian’s research has been featured in media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, and CNN. She was chosen as one of 25 “Women to Watch” by Crain’s Chicago Business and has won several awards from national and international societies devoted to psychology, sports psychology, and education. Most notably, Sian is the recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and, in 2017, she won the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences for her “fundamental contributions to our understanding of human skill learning and performance breakdowns in high-pressure and anxiety-provoking situations.” Her 2018 TED Talk has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.


Sian received a B.S. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego and PhDs in Psychology and Kinesiology from Michigan State University.

bottom of page