About RCSA

Board of Directors - Elizabeth McCormack, Ph.D.

Elizabeth McCormack, Ph.D.
Elizabeth McCormack, Ph.D.


Elizabeth F. McCormack received her bachelor’s degree in astronomy and physics from Wellesley College in 1983 and her Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 1989.


In her research she investigates fundamental aspects of molecular excited state-structure and dynamics using a variety of laser spectroscopy techniques. Her interests include Rydberg and ion-pair state dynamics, photoionization, autoionization, predissociation, and photodissociation. Her techniques include resonant multiphoton excitation and detection, time-of-flight mass spectroscopy, and resonant, four-wave mixing in the frequency and time domains. Her work has been supported by the NSF and NASA.

She also has a strong interest in institutional leadership and development, including: stewardship in higher education, strategic planning, managing change, fostering organizational learning, shared governance, and formal and informal leadership development. She is committed to promoting the societal value of a liberal arts education, including topics in the education of women and the adoption of effective learning practices in the STEM fields.


In 1989 she joined the Laser Photophysics and Photochemistry program at Argonne National Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. In 1990 she was awarded an Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 1991 she accepted a permanent staff position in the Laser Photophysics and Photochemistry program, and in 1993 she was promoted to the position of Physicist. In 1995 she joined the faculty at Bryn Mawr College and began a research program in molecular physics with funding from a CAREER award from the NSF. She was promoted with tenure to the associate rank in 2001 and in 2005 was promoted to Professor. In 2006-2007 she served as Chair of the Faculty and in 2007 she received the College’s McPherson Prize for Faculty. She served as Director of the Center for Science in Society from 2006-2008 and the Dean of Graduate Studies from 2008-2011. She is currently Dean for Academic Affairs at Bowdoin College in Maine.

In 2005-2006 she was a Fellow of the American Council on Education at Lesley University, in Cambridge, MA. She was a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar and Visiting Professor, University of Paris XI in Orsay, France in 1998 and an ERCOFTAC Guest Scientist at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland in 1999. She served as a curriculum consultant for Effat College in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2001 and as a law consultant, for Montgomery McCracken Walker and Rhoads LLP in Philadelphia, PA in 2003.

She is a member of the American Physical Society, the Association for Women in Science, the American Association for Physics Teachers, and a Faculty 21 member of Project Kaleidoscope. In 2005 she was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. She is an active reviewer for the NSF, DOE and numerous scientific journals. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of The Research Corporation for Science Advancement, she chairs the Board of Advisors to Project Kaleidoscope at the Association of American Colleges and Universities and is a consultant to the Scientific Equipment Program at the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.


She has published over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles on her research and issues in science education.