Russell Shilling

Executive Director of STEM Initiatives, U.S. Department of Education

Russell Shilling is the executive director of STEM Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education, overseeing the Department’s policies to drive innovation in STEM education and enhance interagency coordination. Previously, Shilling served as a Navy Captain, retiring after 22 years of service as a Navy Aerospace Experimental Psychologist focusing on education, training, and psychological health. Shilling held a variety of leadership positions, including program management positions at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He has served as an associate professor at both the United States Air Force Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School. Shilling was an early pioneer in the “serious” games movement and was responsible for award winning games for STEM education, medical training, and psychological health. He pioneered research to treat post-traumatic stress with virtual reality and graphic novel storytelling tools, and developed programs with Sesame Street Workshop that have helped military children adapt to traumas caused by deployments, injury, and grief. These programs have won numerous awards, including Emmy nominations and Parents' Choice Awards. Shilling also advocates for improved resources for autistic students and adults. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wake Forest University and a doctorate in experimental psychology/neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Shilling grew up in West Virginia and currently resides in the Washington D.C. area with his wife Elaine and their two sons.