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Veraksa Nikolay
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Brief biography

Nikolay was born on December 19th 1946 in Bryansk, Russia. His father, Evgeniy Veraksa, was a military pilot and his military service obliged him to relocate from one military town to another, thus giving little Nikolay an experience of attending different schools. There was a tender bond between Nikolay and his mother, Tamara, whom he had been cherishing dearly in his heart for all his life. A caring and a kind-hearted person, she devoted her life to her family and was always eager to help and support anyone in need. Tamara’s geniality drew many family friends to her home and a warm welcome awaited them whenever they dropped in.

Nikolay’s younger sister Tanya treasured her big brother and they both kept their relationships cordial in their adult life. Nikolay was held up as an example to follow and Tanya knew that from her early school years. He was table tennis school champion, was engaged in basketball, football, boxing and weightlifting, and was local library’s honorary reader since his first school years. Nikolay was a steady competitor in various science competitions and once had won first prize in nationwide mathematical competition. After graduating from high school, he entered energy faculty of Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, later transferred himself to technical cybernetics faculty of Moscow Institute of Chemical Engineering, and it’s only then when he entered Moscow State University where he took evening classes at psychology faculty.

Family

Nickolay met his future wife in 1961 at school where they both studied. Olga Diachenko was two years younger and went to the same class as Tanya, Nickolay’s younger sister. In 1972 Alexey, their first son was born.

After graduating with excellence from high and musical schools, Alexey entered biological faculty of Moscow State University. On his next to last year in university Alexey went to continue his education in Amherst. Afterwards Alexey took post-graduate courses in Yale and continued his education in San Diego, USA. In 2000 he got his Ph.D. in Developmental Biology and entered Harvard Medical School, was accepted at Central Massachusetts Hospital in Boston, USA, where he worked until 2005. Since 2005 Alexey is an assistant professor at University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Nikolay spent three years (from 1980 to 1983) at Cuba teaching psychology to teachers of a pedagogical university at Santiago-de-Cuba. Thinking of that time still brings back the warmest memories to him. It is there where his adventurous side took over, bringing him unforgettable experiences of horseback riding, underwater hunting and traveling across Cuba. Still and cozy atmosphere of those places allowed Nickolay to deliberately work out a program of his scientific activities. He had mastered Spanish language and became acquainted with Spanish literature and culture. But the greatest gift this Cuban life-span gave Nikolay was a birth of his second son, Alexander, on October 7th 1983.

Aleksander went to and successfully graduated from the same advanced English language and musical schools as his older brother Alexey did. After that Aleksander graduated with excellence from psychological faculty of Moscow State University and took post-graduate studies at the same university. In 2006 Aleksander graduated with excellence from Moscow School of social and economic sciences, where he got his MA in counseling degree from The University of Manchester. In 2008 he successfully defended his PhD dissertation. From 2009 he works at the faculty of psychology of Moscow State University.

Philya, an adored pet, was another true member of Nickolay’s family. The dog came into the house thanks to Olga and because of her kind heart. Owner of one-year-old basset hound left it to a friend of Olga’s to watch for until he returns. And, as it commonly happens, he never did. Olga took the abandoned pet and that was how the dog entered their family. Philya had his own distinctive character, a true personality, and was dearly loved for 15 years. It was truly touching to watch Philya and Nikolay together, as he was the only man Philya eagerly obeyed.

In 2000 Nickolay became a grandfather as his oldest son had his first daughter Dasha. On December 16th 2006 Nikolay’s first grandson, Artem, was born.

Science

Professional formation of Nikolay took place within the walls of Psychological faculty of Moscow State University, the Institute of preschool education APS USSR (Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of USSR. Was reformed in 1992 into Russian Academy of Education), where he held a post of an engineer, laboratory assistant, junior research assistant, and Psychological Institute APS USSR. At that time psychological faculty had such renowned scientists as A.N. Leontyev, A.R. Luria, P.Y. Galperin, A.V. Zaporozhets, V.. Davidov, D.B. Elkonin, V.P. Zinchenko and others. Working at the Institute of preschool education gave Nikolay precious time communicating closely with A.V. Zaporozhets, L.A. Venger, N.N. Poddyakov and many other researchers in the field of children development both at his work and during their classes in the university. Discussions, often lasting all night through, concerned various psychological problems, experiments and research plans.

Nikolay’s way in science went by the road of dialectics, on which the first steps, in a sense, were made in Nikolay’s Ph.D. thesis, successfully defended in 1977. It clearly showed that besides temporal and spatial notions, preschool children possess special class of temporal-spatial notions, which, in fact, can be viewed as form of mediation of those two relationships with the help of reference frame.

In 1991 Nikolay successfully defends his doctoral thesis “Origin and development of preschool children’s dialectic cognition”, which described mechanisms of children's dialectic cognition.

Since 1998 professor Veraksa is the Head ofDepartment of Psychology and Pedagogical Abilities in Research Institute of Preschool Education (Russian Academy of Education).

In 2003 professor Veraksa becomes the head of Russian Psychological Society’s structure-dialectical developmental psychology section.

Since 2004 he is also the Head of Moscow City University of Psychology and Education Social Psychology Faculty’s Department of Social Developmental Psychology.

Since 2009 prof. Veraksa is a scientific advisor of Research centre of education and upbringing of children (UNESCO, Moscow City Department of Education)

Since 2011 prof. Veraksa is a dean of Faculty of Psychology of Education of Russian State University for the Humanities.

Nikolay’s merits in the field of educations were honored by the Moscow government and he was many times awarded Governmental prizes.

Under his supervision, over 30 PhD theses were defended.

Professor Veraksa is an author of more than 100 books and articles (some of which were written in collaboration with professor Diachenko) on problems of developmental psychology, psychology of personality, education and social psychologies.