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Headshot of Elizabeth Marsh

Elizabeth Marsh

Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring

Professor and Associate Chair
Psychology and Neuroscience


After earning her Ph.D. from Stanford University and completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, Elizabeth Marsh came to Duke University as an assistant professor in 2003. Marsh now serves as professor and associate chair for psychology and neuroscience. She has supervised 11 honors theses, 9 Ph.D. students, and 3 postdocs. Additionally, Marsh has taught a variety of courses at Duke, from Cognitive Psychology to Myths & Mysteries of Memory to a first-year seminar course for entering Ph.D. students through which she is able to reach nearly every student in the psychology and neuroscience program to set them up for success.

Marsh’s research interests center around learning and memory and how people acquire, maintain, and update their knowledge, with particular interests in false beliefs and the correction of misconceptions. Marsh's interests go beyond basic science and include translation to real-world situations, especially in education. She has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Google, the National Science Foundation, and several foundations. Her contributions were recognized with the 2010 Langford Lecture Award and she was designated a Rising Star in 2007 by the Association for Psychological Science.


“Graduate school really should be about community … students have to get depth in a lab and they have to develop very careful ideas and test them and everything but at the same time, they need to go to talks that aren’t related to things they’re interested in … they need to know who to go to when they have a question about stats or who to go to when they need advice about a particular conference. Anything you can do to encourage graduate students to have a larger community and to feel like they can ask questions is a good thing.”

On the Importance of a First Authorship 
On the Importance of Celebrating Graduate Students 


Excerpts from Marsh's Nomination

“One of Beth’s strengths as a mentor is that she is both deeply involved in her students’ progress and yet allows them to take the lead and develop their own projects and interests.”

“I believe her best quality as a mentor is her commitment to the professional development of her students. She encourages us to attend job talks, colloquia, and conferences, and she directs us to potential funding and award opportunities. Additionally, she ensures we have exposure to the grant-writing process and the article-reviewing process.”

“Professor Marsh has been an extraordinary mentor to an impressive number of Ph.D. students, not only by accelerating the careers of her own students but also by mentoring essentially all of the students in our (large) program through her leadership of our first-year course. She has shaped our students as a research supervisor, as a course instructor, as the primary guide for their NSF fellowship applications, and as a sympathetic colleague who deals with difficult and personal issues with tact and sympathy.”

“What may not be as widely known, because it is inherently less visible, is that Beth was particularly skilled in identifying and supporting students in crisis. Beth is known among students as the person to go to for advice on sensitive and difficult issues. She has helped many students find ways to assert their needs in their TAship and mentoring relationships, and in a few instances, she has helped people find ways to stay in the program rather than drop out.”