Degree In Sight

Elected officers of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) serve as students' voice in APA on a variety of graduate student issues-such as financing and market-sensitivity of education and training, and increasing diversity within programs.

For that reason, getting to know your officers is important, says Carol Williams-Nickelson, PsyD, APAGS associate executive director.

"They are students like you, dealing with the day-to-day issues of graduate student life," she says. "If you think APA or APAGS needs to hear a certain perspective, contacting your elected APAGS committee member is one way to communicate your ideas."

Each year in late fall, projected openings on the nine-member elected committee-chair-elect and member-at-large positions-are posted on the APAGS Web site and listservs. Openings for the four chair positions of APAGS subcommittees, on the other hand, are appointed by the APAGS executive committee each fall because the work requires more specialized knowledge of, for example, diversity or advocacy issues.

Here are the 2003—2004 APAGS officers:

APAGS chair
Name: David W. Ballard, PsyD
School: Widener University in Chester, PA
Program: Clinical psychology
E-mail: David Ballard

As chair, Ballard presides over the APAGS committee and serves as an ex-officio member of APA's Board of Directors, the APAGS voting member of APA's Council of Representatives and an ex-officio member of APAGS subcommittees, task forces and work groups. Ballard is a postdoctoral clinician at Assessment and Treatment Alternatives in Philadelphia, where he conducts court-ordered assessments and treats emotionally and behaviorally disturbed youth. He recently earned his doctoral degree in psychology and also holds an MBA in health and medical services administration from Widener University.

APAGS chair-elect
Name: Jessica Percodani
School: Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia
Program: Clinical psychology
E-mail: Jessica Percodani

To prepare for her upcoming role as chair, Percodani serves as the executive committee liaison to APAGS committee members, standing committee chairs, task force chairs and work group chairs. She has also been a student leader with the New Jersey Psychological Association. Her research and clinical interests center on family issues. She has also developed a Web site for psychology students on navigating a graduate program.

APAGS past-chair
Name: Christopher Loftis
School: University of Florida in Gainesville, FL
Program: Clinical and health psychology
E-mail: Christopher Loftis

Loftis serves as consultant to the APAGS chair. His interests lie in pediatric neuropsychology, primary-care assessment and public policy. He works on autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and Tourette Syndrome studies at the Baltimore-based Kennedy Krieger Institute.

APAGS member-at-large (diversity)
Name: Susan D'Esposito
School: Texas A&M University in College Station, TX
Program: School psychology
E-mail: Susan D'Esposito

D'Esposito advocates for graduate student diversity issues by working with APAGS and APA groups that deal with ethnic-minority, sexual-orientation, disability and women's issues. D'Esposito has worked with diverse populations, such as homeless families with HIV/AIDS and youth with disabilities or life-threatening diseases.

APAGS member-at-large (education)
Name: Michael Madson
School: Marquette University in Milwaukee
Program: Counseling psychology
E-mail: Michael Madson

Madson's goal is to promote quality education and meet students' internship and other training needs. He served as a state and regional advocacy coordinator on the APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team, which monitors federal legislative issues for students. He hopes to eventually work in the training and supervision of psychologists.

APAGS member-at-large (communications)
Name: Ira Saiger
School: Yeshiva University in New York
Program: Developmental psychology
E-mail: Ira Saiger

Saiger promotes APAGS membership benefits, assists with student recruitment and helps with marketing and publicity initiatives for APAGS. Saiger interns at the Early Intervention Program at New York Hospital. His career aspirations center on teaching at the university level and working with adolescents in research and clinical settings.

APAGS member-at -large (practice)
Name: Steve Hampe
School: Capella University (online)
Program: Clinical psychology
E-mail: Steve Hampe

Hampe, in his second term in this role, keeps students abreast of marketplace trends and offers advice on preparing for a career in professional psychology. His main interests center on licensure, prescription privileges and the fair treatment of externs and interns. Hampe is also an adjunct instructor at Brooklyn College and hopes to one day have a teaching and private practice career.

APAGS member-at-large (general)
Name: Angela Green
School: Spalding University in Louisville, KY
Program: Clinical psychology
E-mail: Angela Green

Green develops initiatives, projects and outreach programs on general psychology issues. She has been a peer mentor, student representative and a student member of the Kentucky Psychological Association. Her interests include health psychology, consulting and professional issues in psychology.

APAGS member-at-large (science)
Name: Patrick Bennett
School: University of Nevada in Reno
Program: Social psychology
E-mail: Patrick Bennett

Bennett works to spur more research support and activities for academic-oriented and research students; he also helps organize the APAGS scholarships and awards program. Bennett's current research involves studying the relationship between religion and well-being. Last year, he served as the APAGS committee chair for APA's Annual Convention in Chicago.

Visit the APA APAGS Governance Web site for information on applying for an APAGS position.


APAGS Subcommittee Chairs

Each year APAGS appoints four subcommittee chairs who focus on addressing specialized student areas. They are:

  • Convention Committee:
    Andre Vlok of Argosy University/Seattle

  • Advocacy Coordinating Team:
    Yaron Rabionwitz of Pacific Graduate School of Psychology

  • Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns:
    Espen Correll of the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego

  • Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs:
    Anthony Castro of Nova Southeastern University

APA Science Student Council officers

APAGS isn't the only group within APA advocating for students. APA's Science Student Council (APASSC) advises the association's Board of Scientific Affairs and Science Directorate on ways to bolster opportunities for research-focused graduate students and encourage students to become more involved in APA. APASSC is currently composed of eight representatives selected by directorate staff, each of whom serve a two-year term and focus on a distinct area of research within psychological science. The officers and their areas of focus are:

  • Michele Brumley, chair, University of Iowa: behavioral neuroscience

  • Matthew J. Anderson, Kent State University: biopsychology

  • Michael John Proulx II, Johns Hopkins University: cognitive psychology

  • Diane Bonfiglio, Ohio State University: health psychology

  • Ken Kelley, University of Notre Dame: quantitative psychology

  • Amy Mezulis, University of Wisconsin: clinical psychology

  • Margo Noel Gardner, Temple University: developmental psychology

  • Aarti Iyer, University of California at Santa Cruz: social psychology