Student Events Inspire, Impress at the 2017 Convention

APS Student Caucus (APSSC) events at the 2017 APS Annual Convention in Boston offered students a wide array of topics, including how to apply to and survive graduate school; how to navigate the job market for both academic and nontraditional jobs; and how to get your manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals. Students also had the exciting opportunity to meet and talk with some of the leaders in the field of psychological science in an intimate setting during the “Champions of Psychological Science” event.

The student programming began on Friday with a forum on “How to Get Published” chaired by APSSC Student Notebook Editor Elise Goubet of the University of Kansas. The panel featured four editors from prestigious journals, including APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Stephen Hinshaw (University of California, Berkeley), APS Fellow Jennifer Tackett (Northwestern University), APS Fellow Nnamdi Pole (Smith College), and APS Fellow Linda Skitka (University of Illinois at Chicago). Students walked away with valuable tips for drafting a manuscript that will get published, deciding which journal to submit a manuscript to, and navigating the review process.

The events continued with four “Naked Truth” panels designed to cover the entire graduate school experience, from applying to graduate school to searching for jobs in both academia and nontraditional settings. “The Naked Truth I: Getting Into Graduate School,” chaired by APSSC Undergraduate Advocate Alexis Brieant of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, had a standing-room-only turnout to start the series. Four graduate students shared their experiences with the application and admission process. Angela Marie Pisoni (Duke University), Natalia Van Doren (The Pennsylvania State University), Andrew G. Triplett (Loyola University Chicago), Margarita Zeitlin (University of Washington), and Toria Herd (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) provided tips and tricks for undergraduates, including how students can set themselves apart during their undergraduate years, how to prepare for the GRE, how to compile an application, and how to survive and thrive during the interview process. Throughout the panel, the speakers urged students not to underestimate the importance of finding the right fit in a graduate program. They advised students to seek out multiple research opportunities so that they can be sure of what they want to focus on in graduate school.

“The Naked Truth II: Surviving Graduate School,” chaired by outgoing APSSC Graduate Advocate Marlissa Cristina Amole of the University of Pittsburgh, provided students with information about how to get the most out of their graduate school experience. Jeffrey Girard (University of Pittsburgh and incoming APSSC Communications and Marketing Officer), Hannah McKillop (Case Western University), Shelagh Freedman (Concordia University, Canada), and Joshua Guyer (Royal Military College of Canada) focused on how to manage time and maintain a healthy work/life balance, how to get the most out of a mentor–mentee relationship, and how to cultivate productive writing habits. Girard’s advice to not “let perfect get in the way of good” captured the essence of the panel. The panelists suggested students learn when to say no to opportunities, pace themselves, collaborate to increase productivity, clearly define their expectations for a mentor–mentee relationship, and schedule self-care time.

“The Naked Truth III: Navigating the Job Market after Graduate School” focused on how to pursue a job in academia. APSSC Past President Gal Slonim (University of Bamberg, Germany) moderated a discussion with three former graduate students: Dylan Gee, an assistant professor at Yale University, Christopher Conway, an assistant professor at the College of William & Mary, and Katrin Rentzsch, a lecturer and chair of Personality Psychology and Psychological Diagnostics at the University of Bamberg, Germany. The panelists spoke about how to find and choose the right academic position, how to craft a CV, and how to mold an application to fit different schools and departments. They also highlighted the importance of networking, not underestimating the impact of teaching and research statements, and preparing for all aspects of the job talk and interview process.

The Naked Truth panels closed with a brand-new event, “The Naked Truth IV: You’re Working Where?,” moderated by incoming APSSC President Amy Heard (Loyola University, Chicago), who is also the outgoing APSSC RISE Coordinator. This unique event featured four panelists working in careers outside of academia: K. Andrew DeSoto from the Association for Psychological Science, Coreen Farris from the RAND Corporation, Cynthia Null from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Joanne Walsh from the New England Institute of Technology. These speakers emphasized connecting with people beyond higher education, applying for internships and fellowships offered by nonacademic research organizations, and seeking out extracurricular activities during graduate school — such as running for election to serve on the APSSC!

The final student event on Friday was the annual Campus Representatives meeting, led by outgoing Membership and Volunteers Officer Meghan Pierce of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Representatives discussed their experiences serving their universities and suggested ways to improve the program and get more students involved. More information for interested students can be found here.

Saturday’s events began with 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. Khadijah Ahmad (The Graduate Center, City University of New York) discussed how the role of comfort in expressing emotions is differentially associated with suicidal ideation in Asian American versus European American young adults. Musya Herzog (Columbia University Medical Center) presented her research on disordered eating and psychopathology in an urban sample of bariatric surgery patients. Emily Leitzel (Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania) examined the effects of race and sexualized dress on the interpersonal attraction of women to men. Finally, Andel Nicasio (University of Central Florida) demonstrated how the attitude–behavior discrepancy in familism affects symptoms of depression among Latinos. The RISE award will now be open to students from underrepresented populations regardless of their research interests, as well to any student studying an underrepresented population. More information can be found here.

The Student Research Awards are given annually to recognize outstanding research conducted by APS Student Affiliates. Raffles Cowan (Northwestern University) discussed how core beliefs differ between healthy adolescents and youth at high risk for psychosis. Hyesung Hwang (Washington University in St. Louis) explained how pupillary reactivity to social exclusion is a potential mechanism underlying the detection of social exclusion. Adrienne Romer (Duke University) presented on structural alterations within cerebellar circuity and their association with general liability for common mental disorders. And Stephanie Wemm (University of Albany, State University of New York) demonstrated research on the common patterns of hormone responses in problem gamblers and heavy smokers. Students interested in applying for next year’s awards can find information here.

The APSSC student events closed with the annual “Champions of Psychological Science” meeting. The event offered students the opportunity to talk in a personal setting with leaders in psychological science about topics ranging from how to find your passion in research to how to be successful in academia. This year’s champions included APS President Susan Goldin-Meadow (The University of Chicago), APS Past President Mahzarin Banaji (Harvard University), APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Robert DeRubeis (University of Pennsylvania), APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Phoebe Ellsworth (University of Michigan), and APS Fellow Laurie Santos (Yale University). Banaji also is the recipient of the 2016 APS William James Fellow Award.

The APSSC board thanks all of the panelists and attendees for making this year’s events a success. Don’t forget to check out our events in San Francisco at the 2018 APS Annual Convention!