Eugene Geist

Associate Professor

Bachelor's Degree: University of Cincinnati

Master's Degree: University of Cincinnati

PhD: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Phone: (225) 578-2045


Office: 223H Peabody Hall



Dr. Geist is active researcher with a long record of publications. Dr. Geist’s is currently part of a research team that includes music therapists, neurologists, nurses, physicians and psychologists studying music’s effect on the emotional wellbeing of infants, toddlers and their caregivers. With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the team has developed an intervention and analyzed hair and spittle samples to assess stress levels. Future plans include the use of EEG skull caps and fMRI among other assessments.

His major research focus is how young children (birth to 3rd grade) learn and think mathematically and how integrated curriculum and child centered approaches can be used to foster cognitive growth and understanding in children from birth through age 8 and beyond. Dr. Geist’s research on mathematics and learning is grounded in the theoretical framework of Piaget’s Constructivism. Much of his scholarly work has been devoted mainly to understanding how children develop mathematical knowledge from birth through early elementary school and how mathematics can be integrated into other aspects of the developing child’s such as the arts and music. This belief in the efficacy of a constructivist approach also drives my university classroom teaching pedagogy. In 2009 Dr. Geist published one of the only Mathematics textbooks for early childhood to take a developmental approach from birth through age 8.This led to a number of other publications and international presentations. In 2005 and 2006, he was invited to give a keynote presentation in Valladolid, Spain. In 2007 he presented at the 1st World Conference and 7th International Summit of Early and Preschool Education sponsored by UNESCO, The Organization of American States and The World Bank in Monterrey, Mexico. These were followed by other invitations from Guanauato, Morelia and Teziutlán in Mexico and Cartegena, Colombia. He has also been asked to present at the prestigious Science of Student Success Conference sponsored by Human Performance Lab at The University of Chicago, the Neuroscience Lab at Northwestern University and the John Hopkins University School of Education. He has published discovery research, integrative articles, and publications about pedagogy. Geist has conducted qualitative and quantitative research and has published in very respectable journals in his  field. He has published books, chapters in books, peer-reviewed articles and invited works. Geist is well respected as an expert on early mathematical development in young children and am often called upon by NAEYC to publish guest articles about mathematics in their publications. Dr Geist has taught and directed the dissertations of many doctoral students in his over 25 years in the field of early childhood education. He has taught and developed courses such as Dynamics of Human Learning, Writing for Publication, The Constructivist Theory of Jean Piaget and a course on Democratic Education, de-schooling and unschooling.

Selected Publications


Geist, E. (2009), Children are Born Mathematicians: Supporting Development in Young Children. Pearson: Upper Saddle River, NJ

Book Chapters:

Geist, E. (In Press). Recess is Essential for Children in Pathways to Research in Education. EBSCO

Franklin, T., Sun Y., Yinger N., Anderson J. & Geist, E. (2013), The Changing Roles of Faculty and Students When Mobile Devices Enter the Higher Education Classroom in Pedagogical Applications and Social Effects of Mobile Technology Integration. Keengwe (ed.) IGI Global:Hershey, PA


Geist, E. & Jung, J. (2022) Growth Patterns: Flora, Fauna, Fractals and Fibonacci in the Children’s’ Garden. Childhood Education Innovations. 98(5) P 70-75

Jung, & Geist, E. (2022) One Male Student Teacher's Perception and Experiences of Student Teaching in an Infant Group Care Setting. International Journal of the Whole Child. 7(1) p. 34-44

Geist, K., Zoccola, P., Andary, N., Geist, E., Dogbey, G., Williams, L., & Tuttle, B. (2021). A Randomized Pilot Study of Rhythm-Based Music with Movement Strategies on Stress and Interaction Behaviors of Infant Caregivers. Music and Medicine, 13(1), 7-19.

Liu, Y. and Geist, E. (2019) Learning through dramatic play in infancy: A case study in a Reggio Emilia-inspired child development center Academic Journal Educational Research 7(9): 286-294. (7) Available from:

Geist, E. (2019) Reducing Anxiety in Children: Creating Emotionally Safe Places for Children to Learn. Archives of Neurology & Neuroscience. 5(2). ANN.MS.ID.000610. DOI: 10.33552/ANN.2019.05.000610.

Geist, K. O., Geist, E. (2019). Keep a beat: The impact of a rhythmic intervention on caregiver/infant attachment behaviors. Edinburgh: Conference Proceedings of the 22nd ISME Commission on Special Music Education and Music Therapy.

Selected Presentations

Geist, E., Geist, K. O., Zoccola, P., Timothy, L., Godwin, D., Nathan, A.,“The Potential of Music-Based Intervention Infant/Caregiver Research For At-Risk Families in Rural Appalachia, United States, as a Public Health Determinant for Families Impacted by the National Opioid Epidemic” International Association for Music and Medicine (IAMM), Boston, Mass. (June,2020)

Geist, E., Geist, K. O., Zoccola, P., Timothy, L., Godwin, D., Nathan, A., Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Research Day. "The impact of music and movement on parent or caregiver stress levels: Pilot cortisol and DHEA results," OU HCOM, Ohio University. (April 4, 2018).

Geist, K. O., Geist, E., Special Music Education and Music Therapy Pre-Conference Commission Seminar, "Keep a Beat: The impact of a rhythmic intervention on caregiver/infant attachment behaviors," ISME, Salzburg Austria. (July 14, 2018).

Geist, E., Geist, K. O., NAEYC Professional Institute, "Music in the early childhood curriculum: Using music to support developmentally appropriate practice in the preschool classroom," NAEYC, San Francisco. (June 2017).

Geist, E., Geist, K. O., COMMISSION ON SPECIAL MUSIC EDUCATION & MUSIC THERAPY, "Keep a Beat: The Impact of Rhythm on Attention Behaviors of Children in the Classroom Group Setting," ISME, Drake School of Music, Edinburgh Scotland. (June 21, 2016).

Selected Grants and Funded Projects

Geist, K., Geist, E., Zoccola, P., Timothy, L., Godwin, D. (2020-Present) The Impact of Music-Based Interactive Strategies on Caregiver Stress Levels and Caregiver/Infant Attachment Behaviors: Demonstrating Feasibility Among At-Risk Families, $59,000, National Endowment for the Arts (April 2020)

Geist, K., Geist, E., Zoccola, P., Timothy, L., Godwin, D., Nathan, A.,(2019-2021) The Impact of Music-Based Interactive Strategies on Caregiver Stress Levels and Caregiver/Infant Attachment Behaviors: Demonstrating Feasibility Among At-Risk Families, $7950, Ohio University Research Council (December 2019- December 2021)

Geist, K & Geist, E. (2015) ARTSLab Planning Grant: $20,000.00, Ohio University Office of Research. Develop a multidisciplinary research lab with a focus on how the arts effect learning and health.

Ottley, J., Geist, E., Jung, J., Helfrich, S. Johnson, L. (2015) (FUNDED) Blended Master’s Program: Early Childhood Education/ Early Childhood Special Education at Ohio University: $218,575.00, Ohio Deans Compact on Exceptional Children. Develop blended ECE and ECE Special Education program