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Catching Up With a Postdoc

Former UNLV posdoctoral scholar Miesha Marzell credits her fellowship for helping her career as a professor. 

Research  |  Apr 21, 2017  |  By Vaneh Darakjian
Miesha Marzell

Miesha Marzell is now an assistant professor of social work at Binghamton University.

Landing a tenure-track position can be tough for new Ph.D. graduates. But completing a postdoctoral fellowship can help smooth the transition from student to professor.  

Miesha Marzell came to UNLV as a biobehavioral health postdoc from Pennsylvania State University. Her work with psychology professor Brad Donohue from 2013-14 set her career path as a professor. 

“You really need a bridge before you go into a tenure-track faculty position, and UNLV was a huge factor in my next steps as a researcher and faculty member,” Marzell said.

At the time Marzell was completing her postdoc, Donohue was leading a National Institute on Drug Abuse program called Evaluation of Family Behavior Therapy for Substance Abuse in Collegiate Athletes.

“The opportunity to work with Dr. Donohue, and his work with substance abuse and interventions, were what attracted me to UNLV,” Marzell said. “I hadn’t done intervention work before coming to his lab. Learning to conduct a family-based intervention was great experience for me.”

After completing her fellowship at UNLV, Marzell accepted an assistant professor position in the department of community and behavioral health at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health. She recently took on a position as an assistant professor of social work at Binghamton University in New York, working in its College of Community and Public Affairs.

“The beauty of a postdoc is it allows you the space to explore, get mentorship from your advisor, work on different projects, and do your research,” she said.

Marzell’s research interests are in the origin and prevention of high-risk substance use and the improvement of mental health among racial/ethnic minority youth, college students, and athletic populations. 

“I’m a huge supporter of postdocs,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t have postdoctoral experience. It really gave me a foundation where, when I stepped into a professor position, I was able to take off.”