A Slice of Student Activities at the APS Convention in Chicago

APS Student Caucus (APSSC) events at the 2016 APS Annual Convention in Chicago provided students with valuable learning opportunities on topics including how to succeed in graduate school and navigate the job market and how to write for a targeted journal audience. Students also had the chance to meet and interact with APS President C. Randy Gallistel (Rutgers University) and other leaders in psychological science during the “Champions of Psychological Science” event.

The programming began with three “Naked Truth” panels, which were aimed at breaking down the overwhelming and often foreboding processes of applying to, completing, and moving on from graduate school. “The Naked Truth I: Getting into Graduate School,” chaired by outgoing APSSC Undergraduate Advocate Ashley Gillmor of Pennsylvania State University, had a great turnout to kick off the series. Five graduate students shared their experiences with the graduate school application and admission process. Nancy Jao (Northwestern University), Lisa Solinger (Washington University in St. Louis), Kelly Vaughn (University of Houston), Joshua Wright (University of Western Ontario, Canada), and Derek Novacek (Emory University) focused on best strategies for undergraduate students, including what classes students should consider taking to make themselves competitive applicants, how to approach professors about gaining research experience in their labs, how to prepare for the GRE, how to reach out to professors at prospective schools, and how to effectively navigate the interview process.

This is a photo of the RISE award recipients at the 2016 APS Convention in Chicago.

RISE Research Award recipients (from left) Patricia Hopkins (West Virginia University), Sunghyun Hong (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine), and Gabriela Lopez (University of New Mexico) with RISE coordinator Amy Heard (Loyola University Chicago).

“The Naked Truth II: Surviving Graduate School,” chaired by outgoing APSSC Graduate Advocate Nichol Castro of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, focused on how to navigate the workload while still making the most of the graduate school experience. Caroline Hornburg (University of Notre Dame), Blair Kaneshiro (Stanford University), Elizabeth Necka (University of Chicago), and Joel Sprunger (Purdue University) addressed concerns ranging from time management to the importance of self-care. The speakers highlighted strategies such as consistently scheduling time to write papers, taking advantage of networking opportunities, and finding the balance between work and relaxation. Some of the specific tips given were scheduling time to write as if it were a class, finding a writing partner or group, making time for activities outside of school, and networking with people across programs and departments at the students’ institutions, rather than just at conferences and events.

“The Naked Truth III: Navigating the Job Market After Graduate School” covered how to pursue a career in the academic, private, and clinically focused marketplaces. APSSC Past President Tatyana Kholodkov of Duke University led three former graduate students in the conversation: Michelle Patriquin, an assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and staff psychologist at The Menninger Clinic; Peter Vernig, the Chief Clinical and Innovation Officer at Friends Hospital; and K. Andrew DeSoto, APS Assistant Director for Policy. The panelists detailed each of their experiences with finding their first postgraduate jobs and answered questions from the audience.

Following the “Naked Truth” panels, outgoing APSSC Membership and Volunteers Officer Jonathan Waldron of Virginia Tech University led the annual Campus Representatives meeting. Current representatives had the opportunity to talk about their experiences serving their universities and to offer suggestions for ways to improve the program. Students interested in becoming representatives asked Waldron and the current representatives several questions that helped generate a discussion on additional ways for students to be involved. More information for interested students can be found here.

Friday’s events closed with a forum on “How to Get Published” chaired by outgoing APSSC Student Notebook Editor Amy Rapp of the University of California, Los Angeles. The panel featured editors from prestigious journals, including APS Fellow Margaret Clark (Yale University), Andres De Los Reyes (University of Maryland, College Park), Greg Hajcak Proudfit (Stony Brook University), and APS Past President Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger (Washington University in St. Louis). Among the topics covered were picking the right journal for your audience, tips for drafting a manuscript, and the journal review process.

Saturday’s events were kicked off by the RISE and Student Research Award presentations. The RISE Research Awards are given annually to acknowledge outstanding student research on socially and economically underrepresented populations. RISE Coordinator Amy Heard of Loyola University Chicago chaired the event that showcased presentations from three of the four RISE Research Award recipients. Sunghyun Hong (Northwestern University) presented her research on how social and environmental contexts influence the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among disadvantaged women with depression. Gabriela Lopez (University of New Mexico) discussed the associations among sexual victimization, coping strategies, and psychopathology in sexual minority women. Patricia Hopkins (West Virginia University) presented research suggesting that ethnic identity may be a protective factor against anxiety and depression in African Americans, but not in Caucasians. Mark Starr (University of Wisconsin-Madison) was not present, but his project, displayed at the Teaching Institute as well, focused on narrowing the achievement gap in introductory psychology courses.

The Student Research Awards are given annually to recognize outstanding research conducted by APS Student Affiliates. This year’s presentations were chaired by outgoing APSSC Student Research Award Coordinator Sheena Jeswani of Fordham University and highlighted presentations from the four award recipients. Delaram Asadzadeh Totonchi (Old Dominion University) discussed his work creating and validating a “sex guilt” Implicit Association Test. Cheryl Chow (McMaster University, Canada) presented her work concerning the comparison between sociable children and shy children with regard to their anxiety before and after surgical operations. Spencer Evans (University of Kansas, Lawrence) presented research showing that the vast majority of psychological dissertation research goes unpublished. Finally, Connor Patros (Oklahoma State University) presented a meta-analytical review of planning deficits in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Students interested in applying for next year’s RISE Research and Student Research awards can find information here.

The APSSC student events concluded Saturday with the “Champions of Psychological Science” annual meeting. This informal event allows students to meet and talk with leaders in psychological science about topics ranging from developing a research program to navigating the job market. In addition to Gallistel, this year’s champions were APS Fellow Robert B. Cialdini (Arizona State University), APS Past President Susan T. Fiske (Princeton University), APS Fellow Brian Nosek (University of Virginia), and APS Fellow Barbara G. Tversky (Columbia University).

The APSSC board thanks all of the panelists and attendees for making this year’s student events a huge success.

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