The Many Benefits of an APS Student Membership

January 2014 Student Notebook Announcements

  • The Student Notebook is seeking advanced graduate students to contribute articles on the following topics: (1) developing a programmatic line of research and (2) establishing a research lab. To find out more information or submit an article, contact the Student Notebook editor, Allison Skinner, at
  • Students submitting to the convention can also have their submission considered for the Student Research Award and RISE Award; apply for the awards when you complete your convention submission online. Please note, you can only be considered for one APS award per year.

My journey with APS began as a second-year undergraduate at Penn State University, Erie, when I presented a project at the 19th APS Annual Convention in Washington, DC. I left that weekend feeling a genuine excitement about my future as a student and the field of psychological science that I had never before experienced. I was inspired to immerse myself in psychological science. I eagerly read Student Notebook and Undergraduate Update articles in subsequent years as an undergraduate, presented my research at every APS Convention, and never missed a Naked Truth panel series. These experiences helped me successfully navigate my path to graduate school. When I became a graduate student at the University of Vermont, I decided to become more involved with the APS Student Caucus (APSSC). In my first two years of graduate school, I served as a Campus Representative and graduate student mentor in the Mentorship Program, wrote for the Undergraduate Update, spoke on a Naked Truth panel, and reviewed submissions for the Student Grant Competition and Student Research Award. Giving back to the organization that has given so much to me has afforded me an even deeper understanding and appreciation of APS and the APSSC. Most recently, I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving on the APSSC Board as the 2012–2013 Undergraduate Advocate, and currently the 2013–2014 President.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing I’ve learned as APSSC President is that APS — an international organization that is shaping the future of our field — genuinely cares about its student members and continually strives to help students become stronger psychological scientists. The depth of APS’s commitment to APSSC simply cannot be overstated; whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student affiliate, APS offers myriad opportunities to gain valuable experiences and resources in academia.

APSSC offers opportunities for student affiliates in three primary areas: grants and awards, outreach, and publications. The Student Research Grant Competition, designed to provide support for student projects in their initial stages of development, awards research grants to graduate (up to $500) and undergraduate (up to $300) student affiliates. The Student Research Award recognizes outstanding research conducted by student affiliates, while the RISE Research Award specifically recognizes outstanding research related to socially and economically underrepresented populations. All research award winners are formally recognized at the APS Convention and invited to present their findings in the APSSC Award Symposium. These grant and award competitions are all decided by peer-review, which means student affiliates have the opportunity to gain valuable reviewing experience by serving as reviewers for these competitions.

APSSC outreach opportunities include the Campus Representative Program and the Mentorship Program. The Campus Representative Program is a great way for students to gain leadership experience by acting as liaisons between APS and their respective institutions. Campus Representatives play an integral role in sharing information about APSSC programs and events at their colleges and universities. The Mentorship Program matches undergraduate mentees with graduate student mentors who have volunteered to answer questions and offer insights about various aspects of research and graduate school admissions. This program is an excellent opportunity for undergraduates with questions about research and graduate school, and for graduate students wanting to gain valuable mentorship experience.

Student affiliates are also invited to contribute to the Student Notebook and the Undergraduate Update. The Student Notebook, featured in the Observer, is a regular feature that consists of articles on research and practical issues relevant to graduate students in psychology, while topics in the online publication Undergraduate Update are intended for undergraduate students curious about the path to graduate school.

As I hope you can see, there is no shortage of opportunities to get (and stay) involved with APSSC, and I encourage you to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities. By getting involved with APSSC you will be investing not only in your own future, but also in the future of an international organization that strives to improve the academic lives of psychology students around the world. This mission is no small task: It requires constant member participation, monitoring, and enhancements to ensure that the needs of student affiliates are met.

At its annual Fall Meeting in Washington, DC, the APSSC Board discussed some potential enhancements to the caucus’s current and future directions. At the meeting, we reviewed feedback provided by student affiliates through the Annual Student Affiliate Survey and discussed some exciting initiatives and programs. I am confident that these developments will further strengthen and improve the APSSC, and I would like to highlight six such initiatives and programs that are particularly relevant for current and future student affiliates:

We approved a proposal to create a Mentorship Program listserv. The listserv will supplement the existing Mentorship Program by allowing undergraduate mentees to post questions about research and graduate school admissions and receive feedback from the perspectives of multiple graduate student mentors.

The Board discussed ways to create additional networking opportunities for undergraduate student affiliates at the APS Annual Convention, which we hope to implement at the 2014 Convention (May 2225) in San Francisco, California.

Data from the Annual Student Affiliate Survey revealed that funding for research projects was a major concern for students. Further, many students also indicated that traveling costs were a major obstacle to attending Convention. In response, APS and the APSSC Board will be working to identify ways to increase the number of Student Grant Competition awards and Travel Awards for Convention.

In an effort to better represent our growing international student population, the APSSC Board addressed the need to include more international students on the Naked Truth panels at APS Conventions, as authors for APSSC publications, and as Campus Representatives at institutions abroad.

We also strategized how to increase the relevance and impact of upcoming content for student affiliates in the Student Notebook and Undergraduate Update. For example, future articles will address “hot topics” in the field, such as data replication and good data practices, and content will become increasingly interactive.

We discussed how the Board can use social media to better serve our student members by sharing information about APSSC programs and events, the accomplishments of student affiliates, and psychological science in general.

As in previous years, the 2013–2014 Board is a team of bright and dedicated individuals devoted to creating opportunities for APS student affiliates in academia as well as to APS’s mission of advancing the field of psychological science. I would like to briefly thank Kris Gunawan (Past President), Kathryn Klement (Communications and Marketing Officer), Allison Cantor (Membership and Volunteers Officer), Allison Skinner (Student Notebook Editor), Gal Slonim (RISE Coordinator), Tatyana Kholodkov (Graduate Advocate), Jessica Schubert (Undergraduate Advocate), and Brendan Breen (APS Advisor), for their incredible service, enthusiasm, and commitment to APS and APSSC. It is an absolute pleasure working with this group.

If you are currently a student member of APS, I hope this article shows you how APS and the APSSC can help you and other students become stronger psychological scientists. If you are not currently a member, I encourage you to seize the many opportunities in front of you by joining APS. In addition to the many benefits described above, an affiliation with APS means you are supporting an organization striving to advance the field of psychological science by publishing cutting-edge research, leading the way in efforts on data integrity and replication, and creating many avenues for international collaboration. I am confident that, like me and many other psychology students around the world, joining or staying with APS will be one of the better decisions you make as an undergraduate or graduate student.

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