“Education helps one cease being intimidated by strange situations.”
Maya Angelou

The Company

About The BrainWare Company

The BrainWare Company is a Chicago-based company that develops and markets programs and tools that further the application of sound neuroscience principles to the teaching and learning process.  Its software programs combine neuroscience with motivating video-game technology, and include BrainWare SAFARI, the leading cognitive skills development software in the education market, and SkateKids and Ramps to Reading cognitively based reading programs. The Company also offers professional development programs for educators under the Brains On brand.

The BrainWare Company's innovative approaches make the application of neuroscience research practical and effective for consumers, educators, and clinicians, and in the workplace. 

Mission and Vision

The BrainWare Company is committed to helping each individual develop his or her cognitive ability as far as it can be developed.  We support each person in becoming the most effective learner, thinker, and problem-solver he/she can be.  The foundation for programs we develop relies on sound neuroscience principles, the power of entertaining and motivating digital game-based technology, and demonstrating the effectiveness of our programs through research.  We envision a world where every child and every adult has the ability to succeed academically and in life because they have developed the cognitive capacity to do so.

Management Team

Roger Stark, Founder & CEO

Roger Stark is an accomplished entrepreneur and founder and CEO of The BrainWare Company. For the last decade, he has championed the effort to bring cognitive skills development within reach of everyone.  He started with a very basic question:  What do we know about the brain?  From that initial question, he proceeded to pioneer the effort to build an effective and affordable cognitive skills development program. He led the team that developed BrainWare SAFARI, which would become the leading cognitive skills development software program in education, winning many awards including the prestigious CODiE award as best education game or simulation.  He was the first person ever invited to deliver a Congressional briefing on the application of neuroscience in education (Neuroscience in the Classroom), and was the stimulus for a policy brief published by the National Association of Directors of Special Education that put special education and neuroscience in the same sentence for the first time., His vision of combining clinical therapy with video-game technology has been validated by peer-reviewed published research and field studies, demonstrating both cognitive gains and transfer of cognitive improvement to academic and workplace performance.  A world-renowned academic in the field of brain and education recently said to Roger, “Your research is so powerful, we just can’t ignore you anymore.”

Priot to founding The BrainWare Company, Mr. Stark was CEO and founder of S.P.A. Worldwide, an international interactive marketing communications company specializing in the creation and design of integrated marketing programs, interactive new media, and live interactive events. He partnered with Brain Wink to form WinkStar, which developed e-Commerce sites, website development and interactive design for live corporate communication events. With Wink/Star/S.P.A. Worldwide, he was instrumental in the new design launch of PC Magazine, Computer Shopper and PC Sources for Ziff Davis Publishing, and he supported product launches for TerraGlyph Interactive Studios (including Steven Spielberg’s first interactive new media game for Tiny Toons); Electronic Arts (EA Sports); and Namco Cybertainment, Inc.

Betsy Hill, President & COO

Betsy. Hill is an experienced educator and business leader who serves as The BrainWare Company's President and COO.  Early in her career she taught world languages and realized how little science could explain about how the brain acquires and uses language.  Since then, she has studied the application of neuroscience to the teaching and learning process with Dr. Patricia Wolfe and other experts in the field.  She has presented nationally and internationally, educating teachers, clinicians, administrators and corporate managers on how the brain learns and how the rapidly developing discoveries of neuroscience research can help solve some of the most long-standing and perplexing problems in our education system, including closing the gap for historically underperforming students.

From 2002 to 2005, Ms. Hill was President of Marketing Pro Tempore, consulting with a wide range of businesses regarding strategy and marketing.  Prior to that, she worked in a variety of marketing, strategy and product commercialization roles in companies developing advanced e-commerce and energy information services.  She spent 14 years at The NutraSweet Company, beginning as a business analyst and ending as the director of the company’s fat substitute business. 

Ms. Hill is past-chairman of the board of trustees of Chicago State University.   She teaches strategy in the MBA program at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and at the University of Illinois Chicago.    She holds both a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and an MBA from Northwestern University.  

Sara Sawtelle, Ph.D., Director Scientific Affairs

Dr. Sawtelle, Ph.D. is the Director of Scientific Affairs for The BrainWare Company.  She has served many roles in education prior to her current work—from instructional technology coordinator & chemistry teacher to training director to college chemistry professor at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN and the University of Memphis.  Dr. Sawtelle received her Ph.D. from Boston College.  Her career is focused on helping people learn, which includes the value of neuroscience-based tools in education at all levels, and helping people understand the value of field research. She has studied with Dr. Patricia Wolfe, the author of Brain Matters, and other neuroscience experts, tracks neurocognitive research on an ongoing basis, and has served as a lead contributor to the Software and Information Industry Association guidelines on technology implementation in education.  She has an extensive track record in training teachers, administrators and other educational staff on cognitive skills development, how the brain learns and best-practices for applying neuroscience in the classroom.  She has led the implementation and analysis of dozens of research studies, including both published and field studies in authentic educational settings.

Dr. Sawtelle is a member of the International Society of Technology in Education and the Learning and the Brain Society.  Dr. Sawtelle received her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Boston College.

Karen Buccola, Director Customer Service

Ms. Buccola is The BrainWare Company's Director of Customer Service.  Previously, she served as Account Manager for the Abbott Laboratories account with EduNeering, a company that provides custom computer–based training programs in support of regulatory compliance.  Previously, Ms. Buccola spent twenty years with the NutraSweet Company, working as a consumer service representative and managing the consumer response center.  She also managed the company’s consumer database and developed the online sales program. Ms. Buccola earned a B.S. Ed. degree.

Scientific Advisory Board

Allen Bragdon

Mr. Bragdon has researched and written extensively on the practical applications of neuroscience in the development and maintenance of mental fitness.  He is the author of many books on the subject, including Building Mental Muscle, Use It or Lose It: Keeping Your Brain Fit, and Exercises for the Whole Brain.  He developed the Time-Life Books series “Family Creative Workshop”, was founding editor of “Games” magazine and editor and publisher of "The Curious Mind" a periodical on cognitive skills.  He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the International Council of Active Aging as well as other professional and scientific organizations.

Jean-Claude Dutes, Ph.D.

Dr. Dutes has substantial experience working with people who have developmental and emotional problems that require special care beyond the range of most traditional therapy or education.  He serves as Psychology Section Leader in the Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University.  He is also an adjunct Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at Central Michigan State University.  His area of expertise is neurological and psychological assessment and group counseling.  Dr. Dutes earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Counseling in 1985 from Michigan State University.

Jeffery Gilger, Ph.D.

Dr. Gilger’s multidisciplinary research spans the educational, clinical and neuroscience disciplines, focusing on normal and abnormal neuropsychological development, genetics, and the etiology of learning-language disorders, especially dyslexia. Recent research projects include the neurology/genetics of the gifted-learning disabled individual, the use of virtual reality for spatial skills analysis, and a multi-site project on the efficacy of reading remediation programs in not-for-profit clinics.  Dr. Gilger was among the first investigators to describe the genetic patterns for inherited learning and co-morbid disorders in families and to suggest that the genes for dyslexia may be part of the normal continuum of reading variation. Most recently, Dr. Gilger has served as Associate Dean for Discovery and Faculty Development for the College of Education at Purdue. Dr. Gilger is president and program chair for the Brain and Neuroscience SIG of the American Educational Research Association, a former officer and board member of the International Dyslexia Association, and an advisor or editorial  board member for a number of grant agencies and professional journals. He holds memberships in the American Psychological Association, the American Society of Human Genetics and the Behavior Genetics Association.

Peter Kline, M.A.

Mr. Kline is an accomplished author of more than 20 books and numerous articles on education, literature and the arts.  For the past 20 years, he has been involved with integrative-accelerative learning.  Mr. Kline worked with Eastman Kodak and the New York Public Schools to develop and implement programs for teacher training and corporate culture change.  He also developed an integrated whole language and phonics program that has been used in a number of schools to help students make rapid improvement in reading skills.  Mr. Kline founded The Thornton Friends School in the Washington D.C. area, and has worked with school systems in Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Brooklyn, Queens, Rochester, Utica, Detroit, Arlington and Washington D.C.  Mr. Kline’s books include:  Why America's Children Can't Think, Ten Steps to a Learning Organization, The Everyday Genius and The Genesis Principle.  For the past 20 years, he has been actively involved with integrative-accelerative learning which effectively blends creativity and critical thinking.  Mr. Kline earned a B.A. from Amherst College and a M.A. from the Catholic University of America.

Sheldon Margulies, M.D.

Dr. Margulies is a board-certified practicing neurologist in Silver Spring, Maryland, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Margulies currently holds the rank of clinical assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  Previously he was a clinical assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Maryland and the University of Alabama. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1966, and Stanford School of Medicine in 1971, completed an internal medicine residency at McGill University in 1973, and completed a neurology residency at the University of California, San Francisco, in 1976.  Dr. Margulies is an inactive member of the Maryland Bar, having graduated from the University of Baltimore - School of Law in 1988.  Dr. Margulies is also the founder of Fascinating Education (www.fascinatingeducation.com), a company dedicated to making a difference in the way science is taught.
      

Marion Perlmutter, Ph.D.

Dr. Perlmutter is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she has previously worked as a research scientist in the Center for Human Growth and the Institute of Gerontology.  Dr. Perlmutter has received numerous grants in her work in gerontology, memory and early cognitive function.  She received her M.S. in Educational Psychology at State University of New York and her Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in Developmental Psychology.

Theresa Rosen, Ph.D.

Dr. Rosen is a cognitive enhancement researcher.  She received her doctorate in the Educational Psychology Doctoral Program at Texas A&M – Commerce, where she also received her Master’s Degree in Education Psychology.  In 1981, she received a BGS from Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan.  After graduating she ran her own medical transcription company before becoming a pharmaceutical representative for Reid & Carnrick. 
      

Gary Vogel, O.D.

Dr. Vogel's practice has focused on low vision and vision therapy and he has developed his own vision therapy software programs.  He has been in the private practice of optometry since 1977 and serves as a clinical instructor at the University of Missouri - College of Optometry.  He graduated from the Ohio State College of Optometry, and is a member of the American Optometric Association and a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.  Dr. Vogel has published articles in the Journal of the American Optometric Association and the Journal of Behavioral Optometry.
      

Patricia Wolfe, Ed.D.

Dr. Wolfe is an international authority on the educational implications and application of current neuroscience, cognitive science and education research to teaching and learning.  In her capacity as an independent consultant, she has trained thousands of administrators, teachers, boards of education, and parents in schools and districts throughout the United States and in over 50 countries internationally.  She is an award-winning author and has appeared on numerous videotape series, satellite broadcasts, radio shows and television programs.  Her books include Brain Matters: Translating the Research to Classroom Practice and Building the Reading Brain, PreK-3 (co-authored with Dr. Pamela Nevills).  She is also the author of numerous book chapters and articles. www.patwolfe.com.  Dr. Wolfe holds a B.A. from Phillips University in Oklahoma, and an Ed.D. from The University of LaVerne.  She received the Early Intervention for School Success Educator of the Year Award in 2002.
      

Deborah Zelinksy, O.D., F.C.O.V.D.

Dr. Zelinsky specializes in neuro-optometric rehabilitation in her practice, The Mind-Eye Connection, where she works with patients with traumatic brain injury, autism, developmental delays and processing, learning and memory difficulties.  Previously she worked at the Ft. Lauderdale Eye Institute and the Director of the Clinic for Macular Degeneration at the Schwartzman-Steinberg Low Vision Clinic.  Her numerous papers, workshops and seminars on Visuospatial and Motor Planning Skills are recognized worldwide.  She created the Macular Connection Visual Rehabilitation Course for the Blind Service Association.  Her publications include “An Insight to Vision: A Guide to the Neurological Effect of Lenses” and “Bridging the Gap between Neuroscience and Eye Care.”  She is also the regional director for the Optometric Extension Program, as well as a Charter Member of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association.  Dr. Zelinsky received her Doctor of Optometry and Bachelor of Science in Visual Science degrees from the Illinois College of Optometry.  She is a fellow in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

 

Success Stories from Our Users

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Homeschooling Parents Say ... One Product That Can Help All Three Sons

by Lisa M., Homeschooling Mother of 3 Boys

"I am so glad I purchased BrainWare Safari! My three sons can each work at their own pace, challenging themselves to do better at each level! It is helping one son with attention span, another with patience and diligence, and another with his focus and attention to detail. What a great thing to have one product that can help all three of my very individual sons! And, by the way although my oldest has not yet admitted to having fun, I find him smiling while working on the program!"

Parents Say ... I Don’t Have to Repeat Myself

by Julie B. (Nicholas, Age 9)

"I'm happy with BrainWare Safari and I've watched Nick's progess. His attention is better. I think his memory is better too. But what I really notice is that I don't have to repeat myself 20 times to get him to do something."

Kids Say ... My Teacher Was Very Impressed

by Rachael H. (Age 7)

"I think it was fun and it helps me with my memory. When I had Chinese class, I got all of them right. The teacher was very impressed."

Kids Say ... I Think I’m Smarter

by Tim S. (Age 8)

"You learn and you have fun at the same time. I think I'm smarter because I do BrainWare."

Adult Users Say ... I Am Very Aware of How Specific Exercises Help Me in My Job

by Sam Kline, Construction Field Engineer

When I interviewed for my current job as a Construction Field Engineer, I was asked to take an aptitude test. I was told that very few people got halfway through the test. I completed 49 out of 50 questions and received one of the highest scores ever. Having used BrainWare Safari, I was able to process and respond quickly. I am very aware of how specific exercises help me in my job role. The directionality and visualization exercises have made it is easy for me to direct a co-worker right or left to set up instrumentation in the field even if I am not facing the same direction. And the scanning exercises help with noticing small details in drawings. To me, BrainWare breaks down the basic building blocks of thinking and learning."

Parents Say ... Equip Them for Life

by John Y. (Kendall, Age 11, and Clay, Age 8)

"We've definitely seen some improvement with our children. Parents will do pretty much anything to help their kids and equip them for life later on. This is definitely a tool to do that."

Clinicians Say ... Like Calisthenics for the Brain

by Jean-Claude Dutes, PhD, Michigan State University

"BrainWare Safari is like calisthenics for the brain. The exercises 'tone' mental faculties just like physical exercise tones muscles. The brain like a muscle responds to graduated exercises designed to stretch but not overwhelm it. While muscles gain in strength, agility, and endurance as they are conditioned, methodical use of brain-toning activities leads to stronger concentration, faster thinking speed, keener reasoning, and greater mental stamina. BrainWare Safari is toning for the intelligent brain."

Educators Say ... It Was Rewarding to Watch Students Overcome Obstacles to Their Reading Development

by Gaby Chapman, English Teacher, CA

"As an English teacher in a small charter school (6th through 12th grades), I had students with a variety of levels of difficulty with reading and dyslexia. They had challenges with decoding, visual tracking, short-term memory, and/or timing. One was reading six levels below grade. I learned about BrainWare Safari and it seemed to be something we could easily incorporate into our program. The four students who used it were able to make significant progress. One 6th grader who was highly motivated moved from the lowest in the class to a strong reader. The 8th grader improved her reading fluency and also gained a lot of confidence from the program, volunteering to give a speech at 8th grade graduation. It was very rewarding to watch these students overcome some of the obstacles to their reading development and become more engaged in their books."

Kids Say ... I Beat It!

by Adam K. (Age 12)

"It was really fun. Some levels were really easy, but others got harder and harder. I didn't think that I could beat the last level of one of the exercises, but I worked on it and beat it!"

Kids Say ... Go at the Pace That Is Right for You

by Andrew T. (Age 11)

"BrainWare Safari taught me that if you are rushing in math you can get a lot of questions wrong, but if you go at a certain pace that is right for you, can get the problems right."

Credibility Counts

  • CODiE Award
    CODiE Award
    Best Education Game or Simulation, Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA).
  • American Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Award Winner
    American Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Award Winner
    Quality and innovation that embody the 21st Century classroom with technology as a hallmark.
  • Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval Winner
    Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval Winner
    Quality products and services with assurance of product excellence as evaluated by unbiased parent consumers.
  • Teachers’ Choice Award Winner
    Teachers’ Choice Award Winner
    Products of exceptional quality and outstanding performance in the classroom and at home.
  • Mom’s Choice Award Winner
    Mom’s Choice Award Winner
    Excellence in family-friendly media, products and services.
  • EdNET Rookie of the Year
    EdNET Rookie of the Year
    Awarded by Quality Education Data/The Heller Reports to the start-up with the most promise for becoming a major future force in the education industry.
  • Parents’ Choice Award
    Parents’ Choice Award
    The Parents’ Choice Foundation honors the best material for children.
  • District Administration Top 100
    District Administration Top 100
    One of the top 100 products of 2011 as chosen by readers of District Administration Magazine.
  • Academics’ Choice Mindspring Award
    Academics' Choice Mindspring Award
    Recognized as one of the best thinking-based products on the market.