Student: Liz Harris

Liz Harris is combining her love for educating and neuroscience to research and teach others.

She chose to attend East Carolina University after a friend from her hometown of Greensboro, Maryland, decided to attend. Harris did not take an official tour of the campus; she visited during her senior year of high school and “automatically loved it” and knows she made the right choice because of all the opportunities ECU offers its students.

“Through high school I had an interest in psychology, so I took a class, and then realized I was more interested in the science side of it,” Harris said. “I ended up deciding on neuroscience.

“I’ve always been interested in the brain,” she said. “I was always the person who asked, ‘Why?’ People never really had answers to my questions before I went to college.”

Harris has been able to find her own answers through her work in research labs through ECU. “I had big dreams and wanted to be a neurosurgeon, but then when I got into the lab with Dr. (Tuan) Tran I just fell in love with research,” she said.

Liz Harris works in the dean’s office of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

After she graduates with undergraduate degrees in neuroscience and psychology in spring 2023, Harris plans to continue her education by attending graduate school.

“He (Dr. Tran) is really the sole reason why I decided to take the Ph.D. route and then come back and teach students,” she said. “I want to give back what he gave me.”

Harris is excited about teaching others. This summer, she is a teaching assistant for high school students interested in science fields like neuroscience. “It can be challenging,” Harris said. “But I know that I want to research and teach in the future.”

She feels completely prepared to attend graduate school. “The rigor of my courses, especially from professors like Dr. Tran, has helped me to feel very prepared to continue my education,” Harris said. “I don’t feel like I am going to be a fish out of water.”

Harris is a student employee with the dean’s office in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the Harriot College IMPACT Team and is a member of Tri Beta and the biology honors society.

As part of the IMPACT Team, she represents the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at campus events such as new student orientation and admitted students days, and she also helps with other events such as commencement.

In Tri Beta, Harris creates and gives presentations, volunteers at events such as the Neuroscience Conference in Greenville and continues to research with other students and faculty.

Harris hopes to travel — Iceland is first on her destination list — and to write a book about her future research. She credits THCAS Dean Allison S. Danell and Senior Teaching Instructor Timm Hackett from the English Department with being “incredible people to learn from and amazing sources of encouragement” throughout her time at ECU.

Even with a double major in neuroscience and psychology and a minor in biology, Harris still finds time to fulfill her passions outside of academics. Harris loves cats, so you can find her volunteering at the Humane Society of Eastern North Carolina, playing volleyball with friends, or baking.

This Pirate wants to give back and teach others.


Name: Liz Harris

College: Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Majors: Neuroscience and psychology

Age: 21

Classification/Year: Senior

Hometown: Greensboro, Maryland

Hobbies/interests: I love nature and I am a huge collector of plants! I also love animals and spend a lot of my free time volunteering at the shelter. Another interest of mine is volleyball, whether on the beach or the court. I also like to bake whenever I have free time.

Clubs and Organizations: TriBeta Honor Society, Neuroscience Student Association, and Innovative, Motivated Pirates who Act, Communicate, and Think (IMPACT) Team


Favorite hangout: The greenway

Favorite place on campus: ECU mall

Favorite place to eat: Pirate’s Deli

Favorite class: Psychology of Personality with Dr. Michael Baker

Professor who influenced you the most: Dr. Tuan Tran

Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds”

Favorite band/musician: Harry Styles

Favorite movie: “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

Favorite app: TikTok


Dream job: Neuroscientist, professor, or cat café owner

Role model: Mayim Bialik — She is a strong female role model who got her degree in neuroscience, then explored a bunch of other interests such as acting and producing!