Students Chart a Career in Psychological Science

The APS Student Caucus (APSSC) held a host of events designed to get aspiring psychological scientists engaged and connected. It began with the Student Social held at Uptown Tap House in Washington, DC, during which students enjoyed drinks, music, dancing, and an opportunity to mingle with their peers before the start of the 25th APS Annual Convention. Despite the heavy rain, it was a great sensation with a turnout of more than 350 students.

The following morning, APSSC Membership and Volunteers Officer Andrew S. Sage (University of Missouri, Columbia) led a productive meeting with Campus Representatives. In an effort to increase communication with student affiliates and to “put a face” on APSSC, the APS Campus Representatives create a network of liaisons at many colleges. The meeting provided an opportunity for active discussion about new and exciting directions to take the Campus Representative program and further expand student involvement in APSSC. There are now 8,100 APS student members (75 percent graduate student members, 25 percent undergraduate student members), representing more than 52 countries around the world.

Getting Published

Student notebook editor Kathryn R. Klement (Northern Illinois University) chaired “How to Get Published: Guidance from Journal Editors,” the first of the series of APSSC symposia. This event featured publishing advice from researchers and journal editors, including Deanna Barch (Washington University in St. Louis), editor of Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience; Eric Eich (University of British Columbia, Canada), editor of Psychological Science; and Rebecca Saxe (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), who has published widely and served as guest editor for multiple journals. Among the most popular of the APSSC symposia series, this symposium provided students with multiple perspectives on how to successfully navigate the process of publishing in peer-reviewed journals. The diverse topics included determining authorship, selecting appropriate journals, and tips for structuring manuscripts so that they are more likely to be well received by editors and reviewers.

The Naked Truth

The Naked Truth panels are a series of symposia designed to provide students with information about the process of going from an undergraduate psychology major to a PhD. The first in this series, chaired by APSSC Undergraduate Advocate James Hodge (University of Vermont), provided information to young aspiring psychologists about how to get into graduate school. This panel included an international group of graduate students, including Allison D. Cantor (Duke University), Alyssa Fritz (University of Florida), Tatiana Rojas Ospina (University of Connecticut), and Jessica Schubert (Binghamton University, State University of New York). The discussion was divided into two sections: applying to graduate school and navigating the interview process. The portion  on graduate school application included tips for making oneself a competitive applicant, how to determine where to apply, and how to craft a personal statement. The other discussion covered common interview questions, what to do in preparation for interviews, and how to make the best impression by dressing and interacting professionally with potential advisors, other faculty, and graduate students.

The second of the Naked Truth panels, chaired by APSSC Graduate Advocate Ian Hussey (National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland), offered graduate students an opportunity to hear the perspectives of advanced graduate students. Panelists Laura C. Wilson (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), APSSC Past President Jessica T. Wong (University of Chicago), and Stephen T. Slota (University of Connecticut) provided their perspectives on how to survive and thrive in graduate school, including how to manage relationships with advisors, strategies for honing one’s writing skills, and managing work-life balance.

The Naked Truth series concluded with a panel focused on navigating the job market after graduate school, which drew a large and enthusiastic crowd. Wong chaired this session providing perspectives on four types of postgraduate positions. Andrew Leynes (College of New Jersey) provided information on faculty positions at liberal arts institutions; Ian McDonough (Center for Vital Longevity, University of Texas at Dallas) commented on post doctoral research positions; Wendy Berry Mendes (University of California, San Francisco) shared her perspective on faculty positions at research institutions; and Jennifer Wright (Altisource Solutions) provided information on opportunities outside of academia (in industry). Each of the panelists shared personal information on the path that led him or her to his or her current position and provided insight into the many factors to consider when determining a career path. The panelists also provided tips for securing each of these positions and thriving in them.

RISE and Student Research Awards

Saturday morning’s APSSC programming began with the RISE Research Award symposium, chaired by APSSC President Kris Gunawan (University of Nevada, Las Vegas).  The RISE award recognizes outstanding student research focused on socially and economically underrepresented populations, and provides award winners the opportunity to present a talk on their award-winning research. This year’s talks included an investigation of obesity and early substance use (Jennifer C. Duckworth, Indiana University), parental involvement and exposure to violence (Taralee Hamner, Georgia State University), evaluations of non-traditional (i.e., interracial and same-sex parents) families (David Kille, University of Waterloo, Canada), and mental health among dementia caregivers (Megan E. Sutter, Virginia Commonwealth University).

The Student Research Award Address recognizes outstanding research conducted by student members of APS. Student Research Award recipients each presented a brief talk on her findings. The talks included an investigation of the relationship between extremity of beliefs and perception superiority (Katrina Jongman-Sereno, Duke University), the effect of mindfulness and induced hypocrisy on intentions to text while driving (Kristen A. Soforic, North Central College), the role that negative affect and effortful control play in anxiety and depression (Amber Turner, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), and the relationship between psychopathic traits and preferred social distance (Joana Vieira, University of Porto, Portugal).

Meeting the Champions of Psychological Science

This event, chaired by Wong, concluded the lineup of APSSC convention programming. It provided students with the opportunity to meet and speak informally with some of the world’s leading psychological scientists. This year’s champions, representing a variety of psychological fields, included Susan A. Gelman (University of Michigan), Elizabeth F. Loftus (University of California, Irvine), Brenda Major (University of California, Santa Barbara), Hal E. Pashler (University of California, San Diego), Robert S. Siegler (Carnegie Mellon University), Bethany A. Teachman (University of Virginia), and Elaine F. Walker (Emory University). Small groups of students joined the tables of each of the champions, creating a relaxed environment for students to ask questions and discuss topics related to research in the champion’s field of expertise.

Looking Ahead

After a great round of APSSC programming at the APS Annual Convention, we are looking forward to an exciting and productive year. There are numerous ways in which APS student members can increase their involvement with APS, and we are always looking for enthusiastic young psychological scientists to join our ranks. The APSSC has many opportunities to get involved, from contributing an article to the Student Notebook to becoming an APS Campus Representative. Interested students should see the APSSC webpage for more information about these and other opportunities.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.
In the interest of transparency, we do not accept anonymous comments.
Required fields are marked*