Degree In Sight

Have a concern about your graduate education? Take it to one of the four new APAGS leaders, elected by APAGS members in April to join the five other APAGS officers. The new student leaders will join the incumbent officers in voicing students' experiences and concerns to APA and other psychology groups.

The APAGS leaders represent student interests at meetings of the APA Board of Educational Affairs, Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice and Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), among other groups. There is also an APAGS member of the APA Board of Directors and Council of Representatives. Officers develop ideas for resources and other materials for APAGS members and advocate for student-friendly legislation.

NEW OFFICERS

Konjit Page, Chair-elect

Program: Counseling psychology, University of North Dakota

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A scholar-activist who is committed to representing graduate students' diverse needs, Page intends to advocate for student concerns and interests around mentorship, internship availability, increasing the diversity of APAGS membership and encouraging student collaboration and communication. Page believes that the route to success occurs in community, not in isolation.

"So much of our time spent as graduate students is isolating in nature and building relationships with faculty mentors, peers and other professionals in the field are critical in our academic and professional growth," she says.

Page's research and academic experience has prepared her well for the APAGS post. She has been a social justice advocate on race, culture, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns. She is the student representative to Div. 17's Section on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Awareness and a member of the APA Presidential Taskforce on Diversity Education Resources. Prior to her graduate studies, Konjit was a social worker for a nonprofit family foster agency and a researcher at the Cognitive Ergonomics Research Facility and Eyetracking Inc. She also worked for the Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture under the direction of Janet E. Helms, PhD, duringher graduate studies.

She received her master's degree in counseling in 2001 and expects to graduate with her counseling psychology doctorate in 2010. This month, she will begin a practicum placement in the Behavioral Health Unit at Roseau Area Hospital and will continue work on her dissertation. Konjit plans to seek a career in academia and community mental health.


Jae (Tina) Jeong, Member-at-large, Education

Program: Counseling psychology, University of Memphis

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Jeong holds a master's degree in counseling psychology with a concentration in culture, gender and political psychology and a graduate certificate in women's studies from Northeastern University. She is a fourth-year student on internship at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Jeong plans to bring attention to psychology's changing demographics as they relate to education and training in the graduate student community.

"I also plan to advocate for immediate attention and action to address the large discrepancy between the number of applicants and availability of internship training programs that offer quality training as well as compensation," she says.

During her term on the APAGS committee, she also plans to increase students' visibility and represent their concerns at meetings with psychology's training groups. She will also talk with current students about their educational and training experiences in psychology.

Jeong's previous APAGS experience includes serving as the committee's liaison to APA's Board of Educational Affairs, its ambassador at the APA's 2005 and 2006 Annual Conventions and member of the Memphis Area Psychological Association's executive board. Jeong contiributed to the APAGS International Student Resource book project and the 2005 APAGS and Div. 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women) "Diverse Leaders" project. She also participated in the APAGS Pilot Membership Program.

Jeong plans to pursue a career integrating practice, research, teaching and advocacy.


Brian Hall, Convention Committee Chair (appointed)

Program: Clinical psychology, Kent State University

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Hall is a fourth-year clinical psychology student at Kent State University and a Research Associate at the Summa-Kent State Center for the Treatment and Study of Traumatic Stress, where he is involved in terrorism research. He is also earning a minor in quantitative methodology.

Hall has served as a member of the APAGS Convention Committee for the past two years. His goal as convention chair is to continue the tradition of high- quality programming and fun social events offered at convention. Hall also wants to increase the appeal of convention programming for research-oriented graduate students by organizing statistics and research methods workshops.

Hall plans on graduating with his PhD in clinical psychology in the spring of 2010. Following graduation, he hopes to work in an academic psychology department or pursue a research position in a hospital setting.


Bryana White, Member-at-large, Communications

Program: Clinical psychology, University of Rhode Island

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White is a second-year student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Rhode Island. Her top goal is to ensure that the interests of graduate students continue to be reflected accurately in the publications of APAGS.

In addition to participating in her department's Taskforce on Multicultural Issues, and serving as a senator for her department in the Graduate Student Association, she served as her campus's APAGS representative, where she made sure to keep the graduate students in the various psychology programs at her university informed of the latest APA and APAGS developments. White's research interests include racial biases, the implications of biases on tests used in forensic settings and multicultural issues. She is eager to contribute her flexibility, creativity and dedication to work for the interests of graduate students to the position.

White looks forward to further sharpening her communication skills through the role.

"I have the wisdom of the other wonderful students and staff who work with APAGS to guide me through the process," she says.


RETURNING OFFICERS

Kristi Sands Van Sickle, PsyD, APAGS Past Chair
Program: Clinical psychology, Florida Institute of Technology
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Van Sickle graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology in September 2006 and recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in rehabilitation psychology at the James A. Haley Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tampa, Fla.

She identified personal/professional balance as a core initiative during her term as chair, and is in the process of developing a resource guide for students that addresses these issues. She is also co-facilitating an update of APAGS's strategic plan to set goals and focus of the organization based on graduate students' current and anticipated needs and interests. "There is still a continued focus of internship imbalance issue that needs to be worked on in the future," she says. "APAGS has been integral to representing and advocating for student interests related to this professional balance as a core issue and this important work needs to continue as well as a need to continue working to strengthen our relationship with and representation of science students."

Before being elected to the APAGS Committee, Van Sickle served as a state and regional advocacy coordinator for the APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT) and as an APAGS campus representative.


Nadia Hasan, APAGS Chair
Program: Counseling psychology, University of Akron
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Hasan will serve as APAGS chair this year and as past-chair in the 2008-09 academic year. At Akron,she is completing a supplemental practicum experience at The University of Akron's Counseling, Testing and Career Center. As chair, she plans to focus on four initiatives: to celebrate graduate student experiences and promote APAGS's 20th anniversary in 2008; advocate for graduate students regarding the supply and demand of internships; enhance psychology graduate student leaders' skills; and urge students to incorporate international activities in their careers.

"I think it's important for psychology graduate students to learn about internationalizing their careers because of the increasing integration and interdependence in the economic, social, technological, cultural, political and ecological spheres," she says.

Hasan feels that psychology graduate students should be aware of how to internationalize their careers as researchers, practitioners, educators and consultants. Hasan previously served as the subcommittee chair of the APAGS Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and is chair of APAGS's International Student Resource Project.

"I think it's important for psychology graduate students to learn about internationalizing their careers because of the increasing integration and interdependence in the economic, social, technological, cultural, political and ecological spheres," she says.

Hasan feels that psychology graduate students should be aware of how to internationalize their careers as researchers, practitioners, educators and consultants. Hasan previously served as the subcommittee chair of the APAGS Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and is chair of APAGS's International Student Resource Project.


Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD, APAGS Member-at-large,Practice
Program: Postdoctoral fellow, University of Massachusetts Medical School
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Miller, a graduate of Spalding University, recently completed his internship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, where he focused on primary-care psychology. He is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Department of Family Medicine.

During his first year on the APAGS committee, he focused on assessing the needs of practice-focused students while attempting to raise students' awareness of practice's changing landscape.

His goals for this year include increasing student-relevant content on the APA Practice Organization's Web site (www.apapractice.org) and boosting student awareness of the way state and federal policies shape psychology practice.

Miller says many graduate students emerging from graduate school are not prepared for practicing psychology. Students are prepared in the clinical sense, but many students do not understand the health-care system.

"For example, do emerging practitioners know how to become eligible for certain insurance panels? Do they understand how to receive payment for whatever services they render?" he asks. "This is only the tip of the iceberg, as there are hundreds of questions out there like this that most students are not prepared to answer."

Prior to his election, Miller served as an APAGS campus representative and as an APAGS ACT state and regional advocacy coordinator. He plans to pursue a career in health-care policy and integrated primary care.


Karen Kersting, APAGS Member-at-large, Membership recruitment and retention
Program: Counseling and student personnel psychology, University of Minnesota
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Kersting, who completed her master's degree at the University of Minnesota School of Education in May, aims to attract APAGS members by reaching psychology students early in their academic careers. She plans to boost the APAGS Campus Representatives program in all types of psychology departments by offering incentives for students to get involved. For instance, in a pilot program this fall, campus representatives will have their own APA student affiliate registration paid for by APAGS if they recruit five new members.

"APAGS membership is an important way for students to grow their professional identity and connections," Kersting says.

Before becoming a psychology student, Kersting spent five years as a journalist and writer, holding positions at the financial news service Bloomberg, National Geographic Channel and APA's Monitor on Psychology and gradPSYCH. In her APAGS position, she is working to spread the word to other students about the benefits of APA and APAGS membership, including convention programming, resource guides and leadership opportunities.

Kersting completed her master's practicum at Chrysalis, a Minneapolis community women's center, and plans to apply to counseling psychology PhD programs next year.


Constanze Hahn, APAGS Member-at-large, Science
Program: Cognitive neuroscience, University of Toronto
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Second-year University of Toronto cognitive neuroscience student Constanze Hahn, continues on as member-at-large, science focus. In the past year, Hahn acted as APAGS liaison to the APA Science Student Council and the Board of Scientific Affairs. She also developed and promoted activities, projects and programs for research-oriented graduate students.

Prior to beginning her PhD program at the University of Toronto, Hahn studied clinical psychology at the Universities of Potsdam and Freiburg in Germany. Currently, Hahn is studying how individual differences in circadian rhythms affect cognitive performance. She's particularly interested inschoolchildren, because they have to conform to a set schedule, and if they are tested at a time of day that is not in sync with their internal clocks, they may not perform well.


Amina Mahmood, APAGS Member-at-large, Diversity
Program: Counseling psychology, University of Iowa
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Mahmood's top goal is to ensure that every APAGS initiative takes diversity issues into account. This year Mahmood is coordinating the Making Feminism Relevant project between APAGS and Div. 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women) which will help to foster diversity.

"About 75 percent of our members are women and I think that making feminism relevant exposes participants to programming that they otherwise might not be aware of," she says.

Another of her priorities is developing an online "Diversity on Dialogues section" onAPAGS's Web site that will cover topics pertaining to multiculturalism and diversity.

Her previous APAGS experience includes serving as an APAGS campus representative and state advocacy coordinator and as a member of the Iowa Psychological Association's Diversity Committee. A Pakistani-American, Mahmood circled the globe during her childhood, living in Saudi Arabia, Italy, England, Australia, Pakistan and upstate New York before moving to Iowa for graduate school. She recently has completed practicum experiences in Iowa City at a homeless shelter and the Women's Resource and Action Center. She plans to seek a career fostering mental health systems in developing countries.

Mahmood began her predoctoral internship at the University of South Florida's Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute in August.

BY DANA SCHWARTZ
gradPSYCH Staff


Be sure to check out the next issue of gradPSYCH for profiles of the APAGS subcommittee chairs: Rachel Casas, Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs; Michelle Vaughn, Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns; and Dawn Brock, Advocacy Coordinating Team