Melvin S. Marsh is a parent, researcher, artist, clinician, entrepreneur, public speaker, educator, and most recently an author.
Melvin is innately curious about the world and is incredibly passionate about what makes humans human and how to use humanity’s potential to do great things. With people like Leonardo da Vinci (and truthfully also James Hyneman from Mythbusters) as role models, Melvin is always pushing himself to learn and to experience the world, he never stops learning and tries to constantly be the best at whatever is placed in front of him and does not say no to a challenge. If someone says he can’t do something, he will try twice as hard to not only do it, but to be the best there is. Melvin is the winner of the Nepris trailblazer teaching award (2021) for his work with 9-12 graders, has won multiple clinical awards for his work in hypnotherapy, and his first book “Leaving Bacon Behind” became an Amazon best seller and has been nominated for the Nonfiction Book Awards. Melvin is also a member of Actor’s Equity Association, having been both an actor as well as stage manager as well as an accomplished scientist with publications in Nature Human Behaviour and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Melvin (born Melinda) Marsh grew up an only child in sunny South Florida and enjoyed going to work with his parents in the broadcasting industry. His mother, Laura Marsh, was an actress/musician, camera operator, stage manager, and traffic director for the local television and radio stations as well as some of the local theaters. His father, Richard Marsh, was a broadcast technician for Channel 7 (WSVN) and worked live sporting events doing senior video (In Richard’s own words when asked what he does… “I make the sky blue and the grass green.”) Melvin himself started working as an actor and performer in childhood at age 3 likely due to his comfort in front of the camera and his general good behaviour on set allowing him to secure roles. After all, he usually had at least one parent working there and was likely already there anyway!
Melvin often would sit backstage or in the engineering department of WSVN and read. He probably spent more time reading than working that is for sure. And it was rarely standard fiction books as would be expected for an elementary school student, but instead he also was heavily into non-fiction. He was probably the only 9 year in existence who was reading the nearly a thousand page “World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics.”
Despite this love of reading, he was labeled as having a mental disability when in school and his fourth grade teacher once told him that he was so stupid that he would probably not even graduate elementary school. It would turn out to be an unknown condition, later identified as Asperger Syndrome (now just part of autism spectrum disorder) in combination with ADHD causing memory gaps. ADHD was not a female diagnosis so it would not be issued at the time. His IQ was not as she believed. However, the damage was done. Using the fictional role model of Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap as an example of a high IQ person with memory issues, he decided then that he was going to go not only to college, but to get a PhD and become a polymathic individual just to prove her wrong.
Middle School Years
Middle school is stressful for everyone. It’s even more so when you are thrown into a Gifted class in the middle of the school year against your wishes and your parents knowledge and being required to make up the entire semester of a completely different curriculum. That lasted 2-3 weeks and the ulcer lasted longer. >< So became Melvin’s lifelong fascination with stress and stress reduction techniques.
The next year, they put him in the gifted program from the start with a different teacher who loved actually nurturing the students. Or at least wasn’t boring. Prior year, she had only taught Gifted and regular 7th grade social studies, but this time she taught Gifted English and Social Studies (and some 7th grade social studies too). Melvin blames her (and her “simulations”) for the time he would eventually spend as a historical reenactor.
High School Years
Melvin claimed he retired from acting when he was 13 and attended high school at a science magnet school after being recruited by nearly every magnet high school in the area, ironically with the notable exception of Dillard, the performing arts magnet high school. Melvin is still periodically insulted by the oversight.
His retirement didn’t last long as despite being in a science magnet program, his primary extracurricular was still theater although this time, he went into technical theater finally doing jobs that were more like what his parents were doing, but primarily taking the stage manager role as he realized it would be a leadership position for college. Melvin never could have imagined how useful the project management and time management skills this would have taught him including.
Melvin became a part time professional stage manager at 16 years old while going to high school full time (honors, AP, and a dual enrolled course through Broward Community College), working on his school productions, and then for two years working 30+ hours a week at the local renaissance festival as their youngest stage manager. He would also win awards in, of course theater, but multiple other awards including history, science, and writing, and would have several poems published by the time he turned 18.
A month after high school graduation, Melvin married his husband and automatically inherited a family with three step-children.
The College Years
Melvin attended Oxford College of Emory University which introduced him to anthropology, a field he still loves, and graduated from main campus in 2003. He wanted to triple major, however due to computer limitations, he was only able to double major (Anthropology and Human Biology / Medieval Renaissance Studies) and minor (Theater). He would later realize he could add a second “free” minor (History). Of course due to thoughtful planning, Melvin nearly graduated with an unofficial minor in English (one poetry course away) and was within two courses of at least three more minors not that it mattered as the computer was maxed out anyway.
It was during this college time where Melvin started his first company with his husband, started his research career by working at a Zoo, came out as transgender officially, still worked in theater part time, and after being told he (still a she at that point) was infertile, nature surprised him and he had his own child which the state of Georgia stated he was unfit to parent due to being transsexual. It was a busy time.
The Grad School Years
After applying for PhD programs in anthropology and not getting in, he would apply to University of North Dakota’s Space Studies program which he graduated from in 2007 specializing in Space Life Sciences with a concentration in aerospace psychology/human factors. He was set to take a position with NASA when changes brought about by the Lisa Novak (astronaut in diapers) incident required him to change plans and attempt to get further education of either a medical license or clinical psychology license. Sigh…
The Drifting Years
After graduate school and when he was still trying to figure out how he was going to be able to return to his research along with having a young child as well as developing epilepsy, he worked a variety of jobs and founded a number of microcompanies which included working as a book reseller (now called book flipping), working as a copy editor, working as a production assistant for a space business podcast, working as various forms of consultant (i.e. technology transfer, DEI, space consulting) when needed. Anything to attempt to help with the bills. He also medically transitioned during this time as well as completing a conversion to Judaism, something he had started back in high school but took the back burner. During this time he was also homeless four times.
He eventually overcame his severe medical phobia and on his fourth round he won an acceptance to medical school.
The Clinical Years / Grad School Years Part 2
In 2015, Melvin started medical school at Medical College of Georgia where it was very clear that between being Jewish and being transgender, that he was getting more abuse than was expected. This included multiple attacks and break-ins leaving a psychological scar.
The one good thing was the acquisition of his EMT license in a pre-matriculation program when he should have gone to the one for students who had been out of college for a few years (they received extra tutoring and exposure to the two hardest modules), they enrolled him into the EMT program. He didn’t realize how useful that would be until he signed up for various disaster response organizations which seemed so similar but yet so far from the space industry which he loved so much.
Due to the anxiety and PTSD from medical school, he decided to become a hypnotherapist since a local hypnotherapist took away more of the anxiety and trauma than any of the multiple pharmacological treatments. And thus, Melvin started After Hours Hypnotherapy and obtained multiple hypnotherapy certifications and decided to refocus on clinical psychology, the only other license one could have and return to the original aerospace research.
After a post-bac and his 10th round of PhD applications, Melvin would get an acceptance into a MS only program in Psychology at Georgia Southern University specializing in teaching psychology. While there, he would regain his love for theater and then while overloading in Spring 2020, Covid hit. Despite having to work 24 hour shifts every day for 4 months through the lockdown while he was a credit overloaded graduate student, he considered it a blessing and his productivity increased. Melvin would work on multiple projects which would lead to publications including in Nature Human Behaviour, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and many others. He would also win the “Nepris Trailblazer Teaching Award” for distance work with K-12 schools.
Nine months after graduation and having failed to obtain a regular position, a friend invited him to apply for an EMS position, which unfortunately he would be injured on the job and acquired cauda equina syndrome which caused significant medical problems including a lifting restriction, being unable to walk, and various other difficulties. It is unclear how this will affect his future.
Where we are now
In 2023, Melvin published his book, “Leaving Bacon Behind” which became an Amazon best seller.
He still lives in Augusta, Georgia. His daughter Teagan is a missing person.