APS Student Caucus: Midterm Report

APSSC President

At this year’s Fall Meeting of the APS Student Caucus Executive Board, I became even more aware than I already was of the incredibly dedicated and hard-working students the APSSC has working on its behalf. This year’s Board, comprised entirely of new members – aside from myself and Past-President Michele Borynski – has worked to improve the many functions of the Student Caucus, and has developed numerous new, incredibly creative, and important ideas for the coming year.

Earlier this year, the annual student survey asked Student Affiliates to provide feedback on our many convention and other activities throughout the year. Overall, the satisfaction ratings were extremely positive. The commentary you provided will allow us to improve student events to meet your needs.

During the past year, Board positions were restructured in order to more efficiently conduct our operations. Our campus representative, travel grant, and hotel match-up programs were consolidated under one position so that they could operate in conjunction. Further, we reserved one position exclusively for marketing, to aid us in making our services more widely known to students.

In 2006, our Annual Convention events will be repeated, including the very popular “Workshop with Editors,” in which experienced editors offer advice on getting published in peer-reviewed journals, and “Champions of Psychology,” at which students have the opportunity to interact with some of the biggest names in psychology. In addition, we will be continuing our undergraduate event, the “Naked Truth,” at which panelists disclose information about graduate school that can’t be found in the books. This event was enormously popular, and as such, we will be providing more time for questions from the audience, as well as dividing the event into two sessions, one exclusively for undergraduates, and the other of interest to graduates as well.

One topic that received very positive feedback and of which we are very proud is our new, online elections. This procedure was implemented this past year, and offered all Student Affiliates the opportunity to vote for each position. These positions, except President, are open to all dedicated APS Student Affiliates. If you are interested in a particular position, contact the current board member in that position. If you have questions about the process of running for a position, please write to me (jen.s.thorpe@gmail.com).

Activities outside the convention were highly rated as well. The “Student Notebook” and e-News were highly valued by the respondents. We encourage anyone with advice for students to send ideas or submissions for the “Notebook” to the Notebook Editor, Teresa Levine (tlevine714@yahoo.com). To supplement these communication methods and increase the information we offer students, Undergraduate Advocate Fran Chumney is making efforts to start a newsletter designed to address issues of interest to undergraduates. Our research competitions, including the Research on Socially and Economically Underrepresented Populations (RiSE-UP) Competition and Student Research Competition, produced interesting symposia that addressed very important research questions being investigated by your peers.

Not all of the feedback was positive, however. You asked us to clarify the standards by which research competition submissions are judged, and we will provide that information for you this year. Many of you requested additional travel assistance, and we will make every effort to make you more aware of the assistance programs already in place (travel assistance and hotel match-up), as well as try to offer additional assistance within those programs. We also will work to improve our convention booth to better provide you with needed information about our activities during and after the convention. Finally, we will work to make our ever-popular Friday night Student Social even better by addressing concerns such as making directions to the location more apparent, encouraging mingling among members, and ensuring that APSSC has its own space for the entirety of the night.

We have big things planned for the coming year. We will be opening up avenues by which students can more directly interact with us and each other, as well as making efforts to consolidate our image with that of APS. We are very excited about what is to come, and hope that you are too. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at jen.s.thorpe@gmail.com. I hope to see you at the 18th Annual Convention in New York City!

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