Before Dr. Jesse Payne ’06, MA ’09 became the Director of Undergraduate Teacher Education at Corban University, and the Director of Education at the Amen Clinics, he was someone who witnessed the power of brain disorders and mental illness firsthand. Some researchers have the fortune of selecting an area of study simply due to interest, or on the advice of an advisor. For Dr. Payne, the complexity and pain associated with brain disorders seemed to choose him. Growing up, his parents who showered him with love and support, also revealed mental illness through issues such as schizophrenia, depression, and ADHD before his father took his life. The mystery of the developing mind wasn’t a far off concept; it was something that hit close to home.
In addition to being a professor and researcher, Dr. Payne recently released Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Before 25), and it has quickly received powerful feedback. The book, a follow-up to fellow Vanguard alumnus Dr. Daniel Amen’s ‘78 NY Times Bestseller, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, shows students, parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors how they can unlock the ability to shape the developing mind. What many parents and students don’t realize is that the brain continues to develop into the mid to late 20’s. By taking care of the developing mind and optimizing it now through lifestyle changes and training, you can help unlock your chances of achieving your most aspirational dreams.
As Jesse’s own mind was being shaped, it was his time at Vanguard that helped him refocus and push forward in his academic pursuits. He came to Vanguard as a transfer student from community college, where he had grown frustrated with higher education. It was at Vanguard where he felt like more than simply a student, he felt like a valued member of a community. Completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Vanguard’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS), he knew he wasn’t alone – that there were others including professors and students who wanted him to succeed.
Vanguard was a place where he valued a diversity of viewpoints from professors and classmates alike. In the SGPS programs, he appreciated the diversity of thought, race, and faith backgrounds, all under the context of a Christian faith community. He contrasts his time at Vanguard, with his other schooling, including his doctoral degree from another institution. Professors at Vanguard bring real world experience, but they don’t just lecture and leave, they are open to connecting outside of the classroom – desiring to see students succeed.
During his master’s program, when considering what might be next, a transitioning coworker with multiple advanced degrees offered one piece of advice, “Keep learning, and keep happy.” The advice wasn’t a simple recipe for success, but rather advice from someone who recognized that Dr. Payne has an inquisitive mind. At the time, Dr. Payne wasn’t sure whether he should pursue a doctoral degree, but the advice helped him recognize his aspirations.
Spending time with Dr. Payne, you quickly realize he is a passionate and driven individual. More than anything, he hopes his research and book provides insights for young people who may be struggling, and adults who want to see their young person thrive. Never lose hope! The current reality does not need to be the long-term reality.
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Before 25) is available wherever books are sold.