The time has come to select your 2016 GSC members. The SPSP Graduate Student Committee works to promote the interest of SPSP's graduate and undergraduate student members. This includes producing helpful student content, organizing events for student members at the annual convention, and much more. All current student members as of 10/15/2015 will be emailed a ballot to vote.
The Chair's main role is to serve as the head of the GSC and act as the liaison between the GSC and the Executive Committee. The Chair is elected for a 2-year term (1 year as Chair, 1 year as Past-Chair).
Jared Wymer, Seattle Pacific University (Second-Year Graduate Student)
My name is Jared Wymer, and in a position of leadership on the Graduate Student Committee I would continue my current efforts in advocating for student success. I found my way to a graduate program in Seattle specifically because my adviser studies mentoring. Paired with sponsorship, I can thank individuals who carried these two functions out for inspiring and motivating my own success. Bringing this back to you, the student, I view mentorship and sponsorship as central to the journey of a graduate student from day one of undergraduate studies, and will continually advocate and strive to provide enhanced opportunities around core events such as our annual conference mentoring luncheons, and after-hours mentoring events. Secondly, it is imperative that our outstanding students are recognized and sponsored by our guild as they progress along their academic and professional journey. I traveled the world for eight years, consistently achieving success and closing the loop on difficult tasks in multicultural and austere environments. With nearly a decade of project and program management experience and a Master of Business Administration to back it all up, I will ensure that all stakeholders and resources are combined to provide fruitful and valuable outreach and programming for undergraduate and graduate students alike in years to come. Any quantification of my potential success in this role rests solely on my ability to contribute to your success.
Andrew Triplett, Loyola University Chicago (Second-Year Graduate Student)
I would like this position because I know I can make a difference in the organization. I would strive to improve the organization to ensure a profound and everlasting effect on the scientific community and field of psychology. People should vote for me because I have a background in leadership and implementing ideas to bring about positive and lasting change. I was the Philanthropy Chair within my fraternity (Delta Chi) as an undergraduate and while in that position, I raised more money for The Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research than any previous Chair. Along with raising more money, I also had the most corporate sponsorship than any previous chair was able to obtain. I did this through hard work and face-to-face introductions and follow-up. While in this position I also implemented new events that had not been used in the past and developed a dedicated webpage for our philanthropic events that still is used to this day. I took this portion of our fraternity from what was previously thought of as lower tier of importance up to a shining cornerstone that is used for recruiting new members. I believe that I have the leadership experience and skills necessary to continue the efforts of the organization and leave a lasting positive mark for future Presidents.
Leigh Smith, University of Texas at Austin (Third-Year Graduate Student)
Hello! I’m Leigh Smith, and I’m a 3rd year PhD student at the the University of Texas at Austin.
The field of social psychology is evolving, which presents both special challenges and opportunities for SPSP graduate students. As president of the GSC I would aim to:
(1) Provide student members with more resources concerning how to best transfer academic skills to careers in industry. I worked in industry (at Google) for roughly 3 years. Some parts of my job included recruiting new employees, as well as acting as a liaison between industry and academic institutions. Google made sure its employees could operate in and contribute to the world of academia, and I would like our organization to work towards ensuring that its student members are competitive for and prepared to work in industry.
(2) Open a dialogue about how to increase the diversity of our student membership. As a bi-racial woman, I believe that we cannot talk about “increasing diversity” without also discussing ways to minimize the discrimination minority members of our organization may face (racial-, gender identity-, sexual orientation-, political-minorities, etc). I wrote an SPSPotlight article earlier this year about some of the unexpected challenges I’ve face as a racial minority in academia, with the hope of contributing my perspective to the dialogue on how to promote diversity. I believe that the more opportunities minority students have to be a part of this dialogue, the better positioned our organization will be to actually increase diverse perspectives, representation and leadership in SPSP.
Jennifer LaCosse, Florida State University (Fourth-Year Graduate Student)
I would like to be President of the SPSP Graduate Student Committee in order to serve both the students I would represent and the social and personality psychology community generally. I am highly dedicated and motivated individual with a passion for social and personality psychology. Our field depends on each of us contributing when we can, and I see this as one very important opportunity for me to do so. The SPSP Community would benefit from electing me as I am reliable, highly organized, and have experience leading in both research and non-academic contexts. During my experience as a lab manager in three different labs and my graduate training, I have developed the skills necessary to excel in this position—for example, I have experience coordinating faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates to plan meetings, dinners, and other events. I also have experience helping to organize and run the SPSP Diversity and Climate Committee Reception (2011). Moreover, as a fourth year graduate student I have helped organize my area’s recruitment weekend, served as a Co-Chair for a symposium (SPSSI, 2014), and will help organize our department’s Graduate Research Day. I have attended the last five SPSP conferences and every year I leave bursting with new ideas, knowledge, and acquaintances. However, as with all great endeavors, there is always room for improvement, and as President I intend to make such improvements. For example—I would organize a breakfast meeting for first generation college students to meet, share their experiences, and learn about resources available to them. First generation college students are often an overlooked group of students that could benefit from such informal community based meetings. In conclusion, I believe that everyone, regardless of whether they are a student, post doc, or faculty member, should feel like they have gained something valuable from attending the SPSP conference, and as President of the Graduate Student Committee I will work hard to ensure this happens.
The Vice Chair (1-year term) provides additional leadership support to the GSC and helps manage the various year-round and conference-specific programs.
Shelby Speegle, University of North Florida (Second-Year Graduate Student)
I am interested in this position because I am dedicated to social psychology and think I could do a great job. I have excellent organizational skills, and a lot of enthusiasm. I think I could add a lot to this community and look forward to the chance to make it even better. I currently am in my 2nd year of my masters degree and study sexism and gender roles. I want to spend my life making the world a better place, and would like to start by helping to make this organization even better!
Odilia Dys-Steenberg, Simon Fraser University (Second-Year Graduate Student)
I am very interested in this position as it would give me a chance to give back to the SPSP community. I have extensive leadership skills as I am a mature student (I used to work as a community outreach consultant before going back to school four years ago) and I have coordinated many large scale research projects (of which one is published and one is invited to be submitted to a special issue), organized a local conference on Prejudice and Culture (Pacific Conference on Prejudice and Culture -- PCPC, 2015), co-chaired a symposium on positive cross-group interactions at the Canadian Psychological Association conference (CPA, 2014), and co-facilitated the social area meetings at Simon Fraser University. I think that I will bring a unique perspective to the graduate student committee as I am able to offer both "real world" perspectives and academic excellence. I would be happy to take on any kind of available role within the committee. However, I take a keen interest in applying theoretical research to social issues and if possible I would be really excited to co-facilitate a workshop on social psychologists' role in informing public policy and ameliorating social problems.
As a person, I strive to be a leader who builds positive relationships and supports and empowers others. I communicate with people sincerely and effectively, and I try to always be receptive to feedback. I prioritize to achieve goals and aim to address obstacles in a pragmatic and strategic manner. In sum, my maturity and positive leadership skills, would make me an excellent SPSP graduate student committee member/vice-president.
Katy Krieger, Oregon State University (Second-Year Graduate Student)
I am a second year master’s student at Oregon State University and I will be applying to PhD programs this academic year. I currently serve on the SPSP GSC as the Member-at-Large for Undergraduate Affairs. I have had such a wonderful experience serving the members of SPSP and would be honored and excited to be part of the 2016-2017 team. I have attended and presented at the SPSP annual conference for five consecutive years and have truly enjoyed planning elements of the conference- I can’t wait to meet you all in San Diego! I also serve on the executive board for the Western Psychological Association which allows me to bring a new perspective to SPSP. I am passionate about undergraduate affairs, equality and diversity within the SPSP community, and creating new opportunities for the members of the organization. This past year on the committee I have dedicated time to writing monthly informational and advice pieces aimed at helping undergraduate and graduate students navigate the field of social/personality psychology. In addition, I will be chairing and talking on one of the professional development panels that will assist undergraduates in narrowing their research focus. My research interests include health and well-being, social skills and emotional intelligence, LIWC, and person perception. Thank you for your votes this past year and I look forward to representing and serving you in the future!
Eric Russell, University of Texas at Arlington (Third-Year Graduate Student)
My name is Eric Russell, and I would love to serve as your next GSC Vice President. Having attended SPSP for the past four years, I have developed a passion for working and networking with fellow graduate students and researchers in our field. As a member of the GSC, I aspire to continue forming connections and also improve our networking opportunities at the annual convention. In the past, I have served in various leadership positions in student organizations such as President of Texas Christian University’s (TCU) Psi Chi Honor Society chapter, President of Residence Hall Association, and Vice-President of TCU’s Gay Straight-Alliance. Your vote matters to me because I would like to create more professional development opportunities that will allow us to be more successful as young psychologists—wherever our paths may lead us! In light of the current difficulty for graduate students obtaining academic employment, I would like to implement programs that provide us the skills to navigate the non-academic job market. A few of these program ideas include having more discussion panels at the annual convention for industry employers, workshops geared towards transferring our research-related skills to a resume, and networking opportunities for students who are interested in applying for non-academic jobs after graduation. In all, it is my hope to provide all SPSP members with an extremely rewarding and engaging experience at future conventions in addition to providing useful resources year-round.
Luke Wilmshurst, University of London - Birkbeck College (Second-Year Graduate Student)
My name is Luke Wilmshurst and I’m a second year Masters student at the University of London, Birkbeck in the UK, and member of a cognitive affective neuroscience lab at the University of Toronto, with an undergraduate degree from Western University in Canada. The main thrust of my research is focused on management decision-making biases, with a strong secondary interest in well-being and executive function. The latter has been central to an applied project I’ve been working on with OSDC, a student run organization at Oxford, aimed at providing greater support to university students with learning and developmental disabilities.
Before starting graduate school, I worked for several years leading research teams at a Washington DC based think tank, and one of the top business schools in Europe. A major part of these roles involved organizing conferences for senior executives in England, Switzerland and the United States. I would love to share some new ideas I learned from managing these events, and do anything I can to be a good teammate to the rest of the committee, and an asset to the SPSP as a whole.
My inspiration for wanting to join the Graduate Student Committee was my experience as a first year SPSP member at the annual convention last year in Long Beach. While I had a fantastic time, and made many new friends by the end of the event, I did not know what to expect at the start. Because of this, I’m very sympathetic to students who might feel a bit shy or intimidated if this is their first event, or if they are based remotely and might be the only person in their program attending. One of the things I’d like to contribute is finding ways to help new members feel just as comfortable and welcome as people who are veterans of SPSP events. I’d also love to broaden the geographic reach of the committee, to help raise the profile of both the convention and SPSP in the UK and the rest of Europe. I’d be very excited to take on this role and hope you’ll give me the chance to do so.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, or even if you just want to say hi, feel free to get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on twitter @DecisionNeuro.
The Members-at-Large are primarily responsible for generating and implementing programs relevant to SPSP student member interests. These positions last 1 year, with the option to run for re-election for a second term.
Courtney Walsh, University of Texas at Austin (Second-Year Gradaute Student)
SPSP 2016 in San Diego will by my third trip to the inspiring, eye-opening, celebrity-researcher-spotting, and overwhelming conference. My first two years at SPSP were very different experiences, from learning to navigate symposiums and poster sessions while watching in awe as other students were networking, to understanding the value of a preconference, approaching posters and offering my own valuable insight, and personally meeting some of the most influential researchers in our field. I would like to help fellow graduate students share in the latter experience, but I know many are more familiar with the former. I thoroughly appreciated the resources that the Graduate Student Committee provided last year, such as the poster check and social opportunities; however, my first year, I did not even know those opportunities existed. Therefore, I want to continue to offer helpful resources and also promote the awareness of those opportunities that significantly (no p value here) improved my experience. As a second year graduate student at the University of Texas but a fourth year graduate student overall (M.S. Villanova University 2014) I feel that I am very aware of some of the issues which are impacting graduate researchers today, such as the Open Science discussion and increasing popularity of non-academic career paths. I would like to be a liaison between the students and professionals in our field, communicating their utmost needs and concerns. Therefore, I believe that I would both enjoy the experience as well as assist fellow students by being a part of the GCS, a group of inspired students who also believe that SPSP can be the most fantastic experience and want to promote that experience for as many other students as we can.
Nader Hakim, University of Kansas (Third-Year Graduate Student)
I'd like to connect with grad students around the country to learn what issues we share and to devote time to developing accessible resources. Ideas I'd like to implement include creating an online repository of job-seekers' experiences on the market through written narratives; a survey to understand one key issue for grad students conducted yearly at SPSP; and establishing a recycling program for the posters we throw together at the last minute to present at SPSP (because as of now I think all that high-quality paper goes into hotel trash bins).
Lameese Eldesouky, Washington University in St. Louis (Third-Year Graduate Student)
As SPSP continues to grow, I would like to join the GSC as a Member-at-Large to help meet the needs of its student members. I believe that my previous experiences on other committees make me fit for this position. As a member of the Diversity Committee for Washington University’s Graduate Student Senate, I plan an annual forum for administrators to engage in an open discussion with students on diversity issues they experience on campus. Similarly, as a member of the Diversity Committee for the university’s Psychology Department, I plan departmental events aimed at increasing awareness of diversity issues, including brownbag discussions and diversity training. To increase the presence of underrepresented students in psychology specifically, I also work with the university’s Young Scientists Mentoring Program to implement a social and personality psychology curriculum for youth. Lastly, as a member of the Social Media Committee for the Society for Affective Science, I identify various ways for students to share their ideas, resources, and research with each other online. As a member of the GSC, I would hope to increase diversity and an understanding of diversity issues within the field by establishing a mentoring program that pairs interested faculty and students from similar backgrounds. I would also hope to organize symposia on how students can effectively identify resources for fellowships, grants, and awards, as well as how they can increase the visibility of their research outside of conferences.
Lindsay Roberts, University of Toledo (Fourth-Year Graduate Student)
My name is Lindsay Roberts, and I'm a 4th year social-health psychology graduate student at the University of Toledo. I would provide a valuable perspective as a Member-at-Large for GSC given my extensive experience in the Graduate Student Association in Toledo. I have held a variety of positions within this organization (including chair of the Research & Development, Professional Development, and Student Health Insurance Committees, scoring coordinator for a regional conference hosted by UT, representative for my college, and others) and am excited to brainstorm new events within the GSC! I have a good grasp of how conferences are coordinated due to my involvement with the aforementioned regional symposium and from assisting the program chairs for SSSS as an undergraduate; I'm confident I'll be able to learn and adapt to the guidelines set forth by (and unique challenges of) SPSP. While I won't bore you with the rhetoric of being "a team player with superior time-management skills," I will say that I'm flexible and willing to learn to grow into my position. Thanks for your consideration, and I hope to see you all at SPSP!
Jessie Briggs, Temple University (Third-Year Graduate Student)
Hello! My name is Jessie Briggs. I am a third year doctoral student at Temple University with broad interests in implicit social cognition. Currently, I am serving as the Graduate Student Representative for Temple’s psychology department. This appointment has involved voicing the opinions and concerns of the psychology graduate student body to provide input on decisions within faculty committee meetings. Last year, I formed a Graduate Student Liaison position within the Psychology Majors Association on campus in order to better assist undergraduate students in exploring career paths, locating openings in labs and internships, and applying to graduate programs. It has been an honor to serve my department, and now I am both ready and eager to share the ideas and skills I have acquired with the SPSP Graduate Student Committee. I will be dedicated to strengthening and developing programs that reflect the most current interests within our field. For example, this September President Obama signed an executive order calling for federal agencies to incorporate more behavioral science into policymaking. As behavioral science gains credence in policymaking, our members would benefit from opportunities to observe how research can impact policy, and training in effective advocacy. If elected, I would advance such initiatives for both graduate and undergraduate students alike.
Thank you for your consideration. Please feel free to email me with any questions at email@example.com.
Onawa LaBelle, University of Michigan (Third-Year Graduate Student)
My name is Onawa LaBelle, and I am a third year student in the Personality and Social Contexts area of psychology at the University of Michigan. My research generally focuses on close relationship processes, neuroendocrine responses, and their implications for physical health outcomes.
As a Member-at-Large of SPSP’s Graduate Student Committee, I will commit myself to advocating for the interests, concerns, and issues relevant to graduate students. For example, if elected, I will begin my tenure by evaluating the content of grad student programming at recent SPSP conventions and will conduct a needs assessment to ensure upcoming events address current graduate student issues. Then, combining successful events from the past with new ideas from the assessment, I will work with the GSC to create a schedule of events that reflect the current trends in our field. Lastly, post-convention, I will follow up with all graduate student members and evaluate the practicality and usefulness of the 2016 workshops and seminars. My primary aim is to continue the beneficial programs started by my GSC predecessors, while remaining open to novel ideas that support both academy- and industry-related career paths. I believe that if we continue to support the changing needs of our graduate student membership, the SPSP GSC will play an important role in shaping the advancement of the discipline, and the future of our field. I look forward to being a part of this endeavor.
The GSC recognizes that undergraduate membership in SPSP is growing, and we wish to support these potential future psychologists and their concerns. The Member-at-Large in charge of Undergraduate Affairs focuses on raising undergrad awareness of SPSP, boosting undergrad membership, and assembling resources relevant to undergraduates who are thinking about graduate school.
Harrison Oakes, University of Waterloo (Second-Year Graduate Student)
As an undergraduate student, I learned in my 1st year how important it is to develop your skills, experience, and training for future success in grad school. With this awareness, I engaged in developing these aspects of my CV early on. Along the way, I sought to support other undergraduate students in their efforts to develop their own research skills and experience, prepare for GREs, and apply to grad school. My focus as Co-President of the Psychology Students' Association in my undergrad was to create opportunities for undergrads to become more involved in research. As a grad student, I continue to invest in creating opportunities for undergraduate students to gain research experience. If I receive this position, I will work to create greater awareness of how undergraduate students can pursue and achieve their academic goals and dreams, and how to prepare themselves for grad school, both in terms of their skills and experience, and in preparing themselves psychologically for the transition from undergrad to grad studies.
Calvin Sims, North Carolina State University (Fourth-Year Graduate Student)
Since beginning the path to an advanced degree many years ago, I have long held a heart for the undergraduate learning experience. I think it's because I empathize with the excitement, joy, stress and difficulties that go along with being an undergraduate specifically in Psychology and in trying to determine what one's career trajectory could be. Undergraduates need guidance, but furthermore they need an understanding figure who can help them as they take their dreams, values and wishes and try to create for themselves the career they've long (or maybe not so long) dreamed of. I have been afforded the wonderful opportunity to work with undergraduates in terms of managing them in laboratory settings, mentoring them in various programs such as IMSD (Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity) and teaching them as an Adjunct Professor at NCSU. There's no way my career and moreover my life would be as meaningful if I didn't have the chance to encourage, and instill a sense of hope and wonder about what it means to move forward in Psychology, a field that I've been blessed enough to flourish in. As one who empathizes with the journey, I believe I bring the expertise, creativity and knowledge to uplift, educate, and train undergraduates while also directing them to the benefits of membership in SPSP. There's a natural transition in talking about SPSP in the class domains I work in, and with the use of social media, conference talks and the like, I feel together we can help to spread the influence of SPSP to the next generation of doctoral candidates helping the solve the world's issues in the pursuit of scholastic excellence. I would love to work with SPSP on a larger scale to help increase undergraduate enrollment, and I think that under my auspices this would occur dramatically.
Anastasia Makhanova, Florida State University (Third-Year Graduate Student)
I would like to be a member-at-large to raise awareness of the many different resources available to students through SPSP. I have attended three annual conventions and several events put on by the Graduate Student Committee. I found these events tremendously helpful for navigating the sea of researchers and the early stages of my career as a graduate student. I really appreciated having an older grad student as a mentor and the ability to sit down for lunch in a casual setting with someone from my field. I would love to help create these opportunities for other students and even be someone else’s conference mentor. My goals as a member of the GSC would be to both help figure out students’ needs in regards to SPSP and increase student engagement with various programs. I have experience putting together resources for students at my university who want more information about graduate school and conferences. Every semester, I have organized an interdisciplinary panel to answer students’ questions about graduate school and other options post-graduation. I find it very rewarding to help students locate resources that would help them in their career path. I would like to expand on this experience and try to make a difference for students within this international organization. You should vote for me if you would like to have a member-at-large who genuinely cares about students’ needs and will do everything possible to meet them. I am especially interested in helping students not feel intimidated by the large conference.
Yingyi Chang, The University of Iowa (Undergraduate Student)
Hi, I’m Yingyi, I am a senior student major in Psychology and Communication Studies. I am serving as the secretary of the Iowa Chapter of Psi Chi and Vice President of Iowa Student Psychology Association (ISPA). I’ve organized many regular meetings and big events for undergraduates, and I’m comfortable communicating with them. I joined Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA), Association for Psychological Science (APS), American Psychological Association (APA), and SPSP and attended several conferences with other undergraduate students. I believe that it is essential for Graduate Student Committee (GSC) to work on introducing SPSP to more undergraduates who are interested in exploring psychology. I suggest that GSC to connect with local student organizations in order to introduce SPSP and encourage more students to join. At the same time, GSC can also work on providing more travel grants for students who attend SPSP meetings to apply. I believe I will contribute a lot to the GSC of SPSP.
Ana Kent, Saint Louis University (Third-Year Graduate Student)
What are you going to do with your life? This is one of the major questions undergraduate seniors are asked, and frequently it is met with nervous laughter, a groan, and a quiet jolt of panic. I think going to specialized conferences such as SPSP and getting involved in the conversation is a great avenue through which undergraduate students can recognize their aspirations and narrow in on a career path. Unfortunately, undergraduates are typically not introduced to more specialized psychological organizations until, well, they are no longer undergraduates! I believe advocating for these students early on and familiarizing them with wonderful organizations such as SPSP are critical steps to producing more informed, better prepared future leaders.
I am intimately aware of the work that is required behind the scenes to make lasting change happen, and I have the talent, dedication, and experience to reify great ideas that center around the issues undergraduate students value. I have served on my school’s graduate student association for the past two years, one year as a general representative and this year on the executive board. I also serve on the American Psychological Association Graduate Students’ Science Subcommittee, which aims to promote psychological science. My goal is to empower students, and I have the experience, the passion, the drive, and the tenacity to advocate relentlessly on their behalf to help them pursue excellence in our science. Thank you for your consideration.
Christopher To, New York University (Second-Year Graduate Student)
Throughout my undergraduate years, I spent a few hours every weekend volunteering at a local soup kitchen or hospital. I now commute 2 hours one-way into NYC (it’s a long story) and, as a result, find myself lacking the flexibility in time I used to have to volunteer in-person. It has been 1.5 years since I last volunteered and I am desperately looking for an outlet. Working with SPSP GSC will be my way of giving back to (some) community where I can help on my own schedule (especially if it’s on a train). Before joining NYU, I served as president for one of the Asian cultural clubs at Rutgers University, and was an active member (though not a board member) for Rutgers Psi Chi and Rutgers PsychAlliance. Thus, I have strong experience in heading event-planning committees, as well as event-planning experience specific to psychology associations (with emphasis on student mentoring).
Regarding ideas: Perhaps I am just naïve, but I truly believe there are graduate students out there who wish to provide help and guidance to potential graduate students. Yet, to my knowledge, there seems to be a lack of an outreach program for potential undergraduates who are seeking advice. It would thus be beneficial to create such a system, and as inspiration we could model ourselves according to our dear friend the journal review system (don’t be scared, bear with me). Essentially an undergraduate would describe his/her interests (i.e., research, field, plans for future, questions, etc.) to a member-at-large (associate editor) who then reaches into a list of potential “advisors” (reviewer) and matches the two parties according to similarity. The “advisor” spends 15 to 30 minutes speaking to the undergrad – if they wish to speak more, that’s fine too. “Advisors” should be compensated with some simple title that they can add to their CVs (similar to being an ad-hoc reviewer for a journal). Doing so would not only help our future generation of graduate applicants, but by grooming future psychologists through SPSP we will improve our presence as a staple in the psychologist community.
Lexi Seida, Simon Fraser University (Undergraduate Student)
My interest in the Member-at-large for Undergraduate Affairs position stems from personal experiences breaking into the world of conferences, posters, and presentations. In 2014, I began with attending the Canadian Psychological Association's 75th Annual Convention and went on to present a poster at the 2014 International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services. In 2015 I presented my honours thesis at the Pacific Conference for Prejudice and Culture and look forward to presenting a poster at SPSP's 2016 conference in beautiful San Diego. Needless to say, the process has been overwhelming and more than a little intimidating. I believe that this is one of the limitations that should be addressed by the Member-at-large for Undergraduate Affairs. Not only is there limited awareness of the potential and procedure for undergraduate conference submissions outside of research specific or honours programs, undergraduates can feel out of place or intimidated attending and applying. As an editor of Simon Fraser University's 2015 Undergraduate Journal of Psychology I have noticed a significant increase in the number of submissions since the utilization of social media and involvement of professors in in-class promotions of the journal. Interested undergraduate students were excited by the opportunity to share their work outside the classroom. All research contains value, even at the undergraduate level, and it shouldn't exist purely to obtain a grade and be filed away in a drawer somewhere. Undergraduates should be aware, encouraged, and engaged in conference participation which could be facilitated by programs, workshops, newsletters and alternative information dissemination that reach out and make undergraduates more comfortable with the process.
Amanda Martens, Kansas State University (Third-Year Graduate Student)
It is my intention to devote my career to helping undergraduate students to achieve their professional goals. I believe my experience, passion, and dedication to the undergraduate experience make me an excellent choice for the Member-at-large for Undergraduate Affairs. My relevant experiences include: 1) I have been the instructor of 12 undergraduate courses (e.g., General Psychology, Social Psychology, Psychology of Personality) in which I challenge and support my students in their engagement in critical dialogue about course topics and application of psychological research practices (e.g., article analyses or writing a research proposal). 2) I mentor a team of undergraduate research collaborators each semester in which we collectively engage in all stages of the research process, including the dissemination of our results through conference presentation and manuscripts, as well as guide them through the graduate application and interview process. 3) I have served for the past two summers as the director of the Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (SUROP) at Kansas State University (KSU). In this position, I match undergraduates from around the nation with faculty mentors at KSU. Students then participate in research with their mentors and attend weekly professional development seminars (e.g., preparing your materials for graduate school, preparing a poster or oral presentation) that I organize every Monday of the summer program. As the Member-at-Large for Undergraduate Affairs, I will implement professional development workshops and seminars specifically tailored to undergraduates in psychology both virtually (e.g., via social media and SPSP online resources) and in person at the SPSP conference (e.g., seeking and inviting professional role models across our field). I would be honored to serve as SPSP Member-at-large for Undergraduate Affairs, and I respectfully submit my application for your review and thank you for your consideration.
Deborah Wu, Northwestern University (Undergraduate Student)
I am currently a senior studying Psychology at Northwestern University and I wish to be part of the movement to raise awareness of SPSP to undergraduates and to create a space where undergraduates can learn more about pursuing a graduate degree in social or personality psychology. I would like to be considered to be a Member-at-large because I believe that many undergraduates would love the chance to be a member of SPSP and attend the conference, if they knew that SPSP existed. As a member-at-large, I would work to make SPSP more accessible and available to undergraduates, for example, establishing a greater student presence on the SPSP Connect! site. The site could have a forum where they could talk to graduate students about their experiences. At the SPSP conference, there could be a luncheon where undergraduates would be able to meet each other (and perhaps graduate students) and share about their research. Throughout my academic career, I have served on multiple executive boards, such as the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life, so I have had experience with disseminating information to a large community. I am also currently applying to graduate school for social psychology, and I would love to be able to share my experiences to other undergraduates, to provide support and insight.
Christina Curti, California State University, Long Beach (Second-Year Graduate Student)
As a student researcher in the areas of motivation and interest, I understand the fundamental value of programs and resources for promoting students’ professional and academic development. As the lab manager of the Motivation and Social Identity Lab at CSULB, I have had the great opportunity to provide advice and support to undergraduate students within our lab. If I am elected I would have the rare opportunity to not only provide support to fellow students on a grander scale, but also be able to aid in further developing programs and resources for students within my field of interest. I have already made steps toward being better able to understand students’ experiences at SPSP conferences by participating in data collection for a study about belonging in first time SPSP attendees at this year’s conference (the findings from this study will be presented on a poster at SPSP 2016). I believe others should vote for me because my research and professional experience will allow me to provide unique insight into better ways to promote student interest in the SPSP organization. One of my primary research interests and my thesis focus on how social interactions with others can impact the experience of interest. Serving on the committee would provide an avenue through which I can apply my research interests. Furthermore, having previously worked as a communications coordinator for an education non-profit organization has advanced my knowledge in marketing techniques such as creating effective newsletters and promoting awareness within a community. Most recently, my lab mates and I are developing tutorials for students on the use of advanced statistical software (e.g. Mplus) and techniques (e.g. structural equation modeling), as well as, information on developing personal websites. If elected I would like to promote the current resources offered by the GSC, many of which I have utilized, and facilitate access to more resources, like tutorials geared toward students, in order to further the academic and professional development of fellow student members in the SPSP organization.