Mays views education as an opportunity to empower, heal, and transform individuals and communities. She approaches the classroom as a learning sanctuary where students can feel supported, challenged, grounded, and connected so they can continue to learn, about their inner and the outside world, despite challenges they may face.

She received her undergraduate training from the University of Michigan–Dearborn in philosophy and earned her doctoral degree in Cellular & Clinical Neurobiology from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. She completed a National Institute of Health-Funded postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at the University of Arizona. She then joined the department of life & physical sciences at Pima Community College in Tucson in 2009. During her tenure at Pima, she taught Physiology, Pathophysiology, Genetics, Biotechnology, and Biomedical ethics. She also founded Pima’s Teaching and Learning Center. Mays now teaches in the biology department at Connecticut College and conducts equity pedagogy research.

Mays is a Gardner Institute Fellow for Undergraduate Education and an AAC&U Senior Fellow within the Office of Undergraduate STEM Education. Her research focuses on stress, trauma, self-awareness, biofeedback, and self-regulation, and how these impact student learning and success. A nationally-recognized expert on trauma-informed teaching and learning, she passionately advocates for institutions to make mental health a top priority and to systematically support the education of the whole student.

Outside of the classroom, Mays works with faculty across disciplines at her institution and across the country to promote inclusive, equitable, reflective, and contextual education–all rooted in the latest research on the neurobiology of learning. Through her teaching and research, she seeks to provide people with transformative opportunities that are grounded in the aesthetics of learning, truth-seeking, justice, and self-realization.

This profile was last updated on February 14, 2023