2017 APS Mentor Award

Randall W. Engle

Georgia Institute of Technology


Randall Engle is best known for his influential research on individual differences in working memory capacity and their associations to domain-general aspects of cognitive ability. Engle’s work is particularly valued for its converging-operations approach to the study of working memory, which exploits experimental, psychometric, developmental, intervention, neuroimaging, and behavioral-genetic methods, often in combination. Engle is also deeply appreciated by the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students who have benefited from his mentorship, wise counsel, and sincere encouragement.

An astonishing number of these mentees have become accomplished scholars, educators, and advocates for psychological science, and attribute their success to Engle’s guidance. Many former students confess to imperfect credentials when applying to graduate school, but Engle didn’t prejudge their potential based on academic pedigree—he attends to the merits of students’ ideas and their commitment to, and enthusiasm for, psychology. His effectiveness thus derives from an abiding optimism about what people can accomplish if they dedicate themselves to a cause and work for it.

Most of Engle’s students will also acknowledge that he can be tough, uncompromising, and brutally honest in evaluating their ideas and efforts. But, as one said so well, “Randy always means what he says, so you know you can believe him – even when he’s telling you that you’re better than you think you are.”