Professor Paula Olszewski-Kubilius


Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius is currently the director of the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University and a professor in the School of Education and Social Policy. Over the past 34 years, she has created multiple programs for diverse groups of gifted learners from preschool through high school. The Center for Talent Development now serves 10,000 students annually with supplemental (weekend, summer and online) educational programming and assessment. Dr. Olszewski-Kubilius speaks and writes extensively on conceptual models of giftedness and talent development, issues in talent development across the lifespan, best practices regarding the identification and  programming for under-represented gifted students and outside-of-school,  and accelerative models of gifted education.  She has published over 100 articles and book chapters. Her most recent theoretical work is a monograph written with Rena Subotnik and Frank Worrell, “Rethinking Giftedness and Gifted Education: A Proposed Direction Forward Based on Psychological Science”, published by the Association for Psychological Science, which received the Award for Excellence in Research in 2013 from the Mensa Education and Research Foundation of Mensa International, Limited, She has served as editor of Gifted Child Quarterly, co-editor of the Journal of Secondary Gifted Education and on the editorial review boards of Gifted and Talented International, The Roeper Review, and Gifted Child Today. She currently is on the board of trustees of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and the Illinois Association for the Gifted (IAGC), and president elect of IAGC. She also serves on that advisory boards for the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary and the Robinson Center for Young Scholars at the University of Washington. She is the past- president of the National Association for Gifted Children from whom she received the Distinguished Scholar Award in 2009 and the GCQ Paper of the Year Award in 2011 and in 2018. 

enlightenedKeynote Title:

Moving Childhood Potential to Adult Creative Achievement: The Psychology of High Performance

enlightenedKeynote Description:

In this session, the presenter will discuss findings from a forthcoming book, The Handbook of High Performance: Developing Human Potential into Domain Specific Talent, co-edited with Rena Subotnik and Frank Worrel, and published by the American Psychological Association. Drawing on psychological science research, interviews with key gatekeepers, and best practices within domains, we explore talent development in five varied domains: sport (golf and team sports), art performance (dance and acting), art production (culinary arts and drawing), academics (psychology and mathematics), and the professions (software engineering and medicine). For each domain, we address the following: what are the early manifestations of talent and their implications for talent mining and identification; what are the psychosocial skills that are essential for transitioning through developmental trajectories of the domain; are there benchmarks that demonstrate critical transitions to a next stage of talent development and significant progress in talent development; and what are the inhibiting factors that can derail a promising trajectory. We also address the proportion of knowledge about talent development within the domain that is based on research versus professional judgment and/or tradition. The presenter will highlight the unique aspects of talent development in each domain as well as commonalities found across domains.