Brain Fitness Online

Summer 2024

Quick Links for Brain Fitness Online

About the class

Brain Fitness Online is a class which focuses on brain health, by education as well as learning tools which may enhance cognitive functioning as we age. This class combines a brain healthy curriculum with practice using a brain training tool, BrainHQ.  There are several features of this class:

Summer 2024 flyer

Improve your mental health this summer

Brain fitness summer 2024 final .pdf
Sloan Psyc summer24.pdf

Diversity Principles Statement

View the driving principles behind SDCCD

The roles of your Brain Fitness instructors

Brain Fitness is organized as a team.  Team members all teach classes, using the same lessons.  But each team member is unique in the way they teach, how they teach, and/or in the additional responsibilities they carry.  Here is a look at them.  If you want to learn more about each of your instructors, scroll down to "About Us".  

Image of instructor

Mindy Sloan   

Image of instructor

Mary Burns 

Yael Lorberfeld 

Erika Peralta 

Weekly Zoom Sessions

There are multiple Zoom sessions for Brain Fitness students.  You are welcome to attend any of these sessions for your class (basics or topics).  If you like, attend more than one to hear a different perspective on that week's lesson.  

To find more, and to see the Zoom link for your class, visit our Zoom page on this site,  The Zoom Classroom

Brain HQ website

The Basics class introduces you to the online brain training website, BrainHQ.  This program has been used in multiple studies and has found to have a positive effect on cognition including improvements in brain speed, recognition and memory.  While we cannot predict your personal improvement, we can say that it has helped many students, and is what keeps them coming back time and again.

Access the BrainHQ website at:


Watch this short video tutorial on how to log in to your BrainHQ account and get access to the exercises (2 minutes).

Learn more

Use the BrainHQ site to learn more about this activity and how it can affect your brain.  

Why BrainHQ?

The science behind the program 

Resources for further study

Emeritus Student Website

A site JUST for Emeritus Students

We have a website just for Emeritus students.  You can access it by going to  (  On this site, you will find:

Syllabi:  Official syllabus 

BrainFitnessSyllabus.Summer 2024.pdf

About us 

Mindy Sloan: Topics (   )

Mindy's career focus has been on using education to make the world a better place. She has served learners of diversity as a school psychologist for PK-12 school districts and the California Youth Authority, and as a faculty member and administrator at institutions of higher education. As a faculty member and administrator, Mindy pioneered several strategies to effectively engage at-risk learners, established an online Library, Writing Center, and Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, provided 24/7 learning supports that increased students success, created predictive models to diagnose and prescribe specific interventions that improved student learning, and was elected as a faculty senator and faculty body President. Her graduate degrees are in Educational & Counseling Psychology, and she has been licensed as a school psychologist, clinical psychologist, school administrator, and special educator.  Dr. Sloan's first career was as a greeting card illustrator and writer.  She is a minister of metaphysical sciences.  Last and most importantly, Mindy is a mother of four amazing adults and Nene to a grandson and granddaughter. 

Yael Lorberfeld:  Basics ( 

Yael Lorberfeld has been teaching Brain Fitness since 2019. She is now the coordinator for Brain Fitness Basics Class. She holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology by the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She has been working since 1997 in Mental health as a Psychotherapist, School Psychologist and teaching topics related to Mental Health and Wellbeing, in Spanish and in English. She has a certificate on Family Leadership Coaching by The San Diego University for Integrative Studies.  She is the cofounder of a nonprofit organization and an active volunteer in her community, working as an educator for children to develop social responsibility. 

Mary Burns: Topics (

Mary Burns has been an instructor with San Diego College of Continuing Education (SDCCE) since 1987.  She holds a Master’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology.  She has been teaching online since 2007, and was one of the original online instructors at SDCCE.  She has developed curriculum for multiple subjects, including Health, Communicating with Technology and Brain Fitness.  She has created websites using a variety of platforms (Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas and Google Sites).  She enjoys learning and teaching about technology, and provides classes for older adults in the community.  Besides teaching, she is the technology Assistant Program Chair at SDCCE, focusing on meeting the technology needs of faculty, and the training and support of online instructors.  Besides technology, she enjoys running, working in the yard, walking the dog and spending time with her husband, Kim.  

Minoo Pakgohar: Topics (
I have a PhD in Gerontology with over 15 years of higher education teaching and developing curriculum. I got my equivalency as master’s degree in midwifery and Ph.D. in gerontology in USA. I have a strong passion to work with older adults, and I love teaching. So, I did switch from midwifery to gerontology at one point in my career. Currently I teach a very diverse older population as an older adult instructor at College of the Canyons.

I volunteered as a case manager in long term care setting for three years while I was assistant professor at university. As a part of civic engagement activity, I volunteer to present in retirement communities.

My husband and I have one 29 years old daughter, and I enjoy baking, gardening, and volunteering in my community.

Anjali Patel: Topics ( )

Anjali Patel is a Registered Dietitian (RD) specializing in public health, research and community nutrition.  Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, and after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences, Anjali moved to a small town in Kumamoto, Japan where she taught English and spent her free time on grassroots internationalization projects centered on food and culture. It was during this work her passion for community nutrition was born. She returned to school to pursue her RD and Master of Public Health, and on the side worked in nutrition research, nutrition communications and public health programs and strategy. In 2011, Anjali moved to the United States and worked with the restaurant industry on environmental change and consumer behavior change research funded by the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health. Anjali is a food and nutrition educator who hopes to inspire and support individuals and communities with knowledge, tips and tools in healthy cooking and eating behaviors for their overall wellbeing.  She believes that food holds much more power than nourishment to the body — it’s identity, belonging and what connects us. Anjali enjoys skiing, swimming and traveling. When she is not working, you can find her with her family somewhere around the world trying different foods or in her kitchen playing with food.

Sharon Gregory: Topics and Basics (

Sharon Gregory is active in the Health and Fitness Community. She has a bachelors in Food and Nutrition from San Diego State University and is CPR certified. She has 15 years of experience working for SDCCD Emeritus Program. Sharon has taught Body Dynamics, Health Education and nutrition cooking classes at a variety of off campus locations.

At an early age, Sharon became a caregiver for her grandparents. During this time, she discovered the passion she had for helping older adults. She became very interested in keeping her grandparents active with physical exercise and brain stimulation. Now Sharon shares that information with her current students discussing fall prevention, healthy bones, better balance, and overall nutrition for optimal health!

Sharon has volunteered for over 8 years providing support in the community in a variety of outreach programs. She is a volunteer for CERT (Certified Emergency Response Team) in Poway. She is actively helping with emergency preparedness, drive-thru-food distribution events, vaccination efforts, and assisting with picking up groceries and medication for those who can't go out.

Sharon and her husband have 3 grown children that are also into exercising and staying fit. Her hobbies include traveling, gardening, hiking, biking, working out at the gym, and spending time with her family, friends and her dog Cabo.

Mari Rios-O'Brien: Topics and Basics (

My name is Mari Rios-O'Brien and I am thrilled to be a part of SDCCD, Continuing Education/Emeritus Program, where I will be teaching Brain Fitness and other related courses. I am a San Diego native, a first-generation college graduate and proud of the drive, dedication and determination that my hard-working parents instilled in all 6 of their children, which was to "get a college education and do better".  I completed both my undergrad and graduate degrees from USD, was self-employed for over 25 years as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, college/career readiness counselor and mental health counselor. I worked primarily with underserved, high-risk, disabled young and older adults, helped them set and achieve academic, personal and career goals and objectives. My students' primary focus was to graduate high school, obtain a GED, pursue post-secondary education or obtain/retain suitable employment within their academic aptitudes, physical and intellectual abilities. I enjoy giving back to my community and connecting my students with valuable resources so they can strive to live meaningful lives.  As a parent ambassador for UCI, CSUF & USD, I helped students and their families get acclimated with the school community, and provide on-going support. 

My husband and I enjoy being empty nesters, traveling, being outdoors, biking, swimming, camping, cooking, dancing and watching various sporting events. We have two amazing kiddos both college grads but realizing living on their own is quite costly LOL. I also teach cycling at my local YMCA & work with members in the PEARLS Program (programming to encourage active & rewarding lives for seniors and I absolutely LOVE IT!! 

Erika Peralta: Basics ( 

Erika Peralta is a passionate advocate for public health, with a master’s degree in public health (NU) and a bachelor’s degree (UCSD) in public health. Her commitment to health education is underscored by her certification as a Health Education Specialist, reflecting her dedication to promoting wellness and preventing diseases. 

Erika's professional journey is fueled by a profound interest in intergenerational work and infectious diseases within the realm of public health. She believes in the power of bridging generational gaps to create sustainable health solutions that resonate with diverse communities. 

As a first-generation college graduate, Erika brings a unique perspective to her work, prioritizing the needs of underrepresented communities. Her mission is rooted in fostering inclusivity and dismantling health disparities. Erika's approach is characterized by a genuine care for the well-being of diverse populations, recognizing the importance of tailored interventions to address the unique challenges they face.  She highly cares for people, being social, and loves teaching with empathy.  

Join her in the pursuit of well-being, as she continues to champion intergenerational collaboration and tackle infectious diseases head-on. Together, let's build a healthier world, one community at a time.