2017 APS Mentor Award

Phoebe C. Ellsworth

University of Michigan


Phoebe Ellsworth has made pioneering contributions to the field of psychology and law over the past four decades. This work includes research on jury decision making, attitudes toward capital punishment, jury death qualification, and eyewitness identification. But she is also known and beloved as a nurturing advisor, mentor, consultant, and counselor to her students, many of whom have themselves become leaders in the field of psychological science.

Ellsworth’s mentoring approach focuses on her equipping her mentees with the skills and confidence to be independent researchers. She encourages them to choose their paths themselves, offering suggestions while challenging them to make their own decisions. As one student puts it, “Using the fisherman metaphor, she has never directly handed me a fish — rather, she challenges me to be clear about my goals and evaluate my options for their attainment. After arriving at the best plan together, we cast our nets in a collaborative effort.”

Another illustration of Ellsworth’s exemplary mentoring is her job market seminar for graduate students. She works with each student to hone their job application materials, share resources for job openings, and develop specialized resources for students interested in different types of jobs. Her students describe her as that rare type of mentor who allows young researchers to share their self-doubts and helps them reappraise those feelings, encouraging them with empathy and a widely appreciated sense of humor.