This year's APAGS subcommittee chairs already have a variety of programs and projects in play. Beefing up mentoring programs and advocacy efforts are among their top priorities this year. For more on the goals of the subcommittee chairs, who are appointed by the APAGS Executive Committee, read on.
Michelle Vaughan, PhD, chair, APAGS Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Concerns
Program: Counseling psychology, University of Akron
Vaughan leads the APAGS committee responsible for advocating for LGBT students. The committee supports various LGBT student programs at convention and provides feedback on relevant APA and APAGS proposals. In 2006, it released the APAGS Resource Guide for LGBT Students in Psychology and will soon launch a new mentoring program for LGBT students in psychology.
"I also hope we will be able to establish some short and longer-term goals and areas of focus for the subcommittee that speak to the changing lives and needs of LGBT students," she says.
Vaughan currently works as a counselor at Longwood University Counseling Center in Farmville, Va., where she conducts individual and crisis counseling, provides outreach and consultation services and advises the LGBT student group on campus. Vaughn recently served as chair of a committee assessing LGBT-related programs and services at the institution. She defended her dissertation, on stress-related growth from coming out as lesbian or gay, in July. Before becoming chair, Vaughan served as an LGBT committee member for two years and has been active in campus and community organizations.
Dawn Brock, chair, APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team
Program: Clinical psychology, Antioch University New England
Brock, a fifth-year clinical psychology student at Antioch University New England, leads the APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT), which promotes the welfare of graduate students and the vigor of the profession by its participation in legislative lobbying efforts. Over the past year, she worked with the ACT network to update the membership database and improve the recruitment and retention of volunteers, particularly those in Canada. She also worked closely with the Regional Advocacy Coordinators to help them create mentorship networks among the State Coordinators and Campus Representatives to enhance communication and dissemination of information. For her part, Brock worked to publicize her subcommittee's activities by writing articles-and getting guest columnists-for the APAGS electronic Campus Bulletin.
"I hope that providing these opportunities for involvement can help me reach my goal to...open communication within the network," she says.
Brock is currently collecting data for her dissertation on post-mortem confidentiality. She is surveying practicing psychologists' decision-making processes and experiences with third-party requests to release deceased client's records.
Rachel N. Casas, chair,Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs
Program: Clinical psychology, University of Iowa
A fourth-year student in Iowa's clinical psychology neuropsychology subtrack, Casas studies both clinical psychology and cognitive neuroscience.
Similarly, Casas brings her blend of science and practice to her role as chair of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs. She is currently working on adding to the APAGS ethnic-minority resource guide.
Expanding the group's peer mentoring program is also a big focus for Casas. While it's difficult to maintain a peer mentoring group without a lot of time and resources, Casas aims to increase student and mentor participation.
"I like that there's an intimacy that's there, that students have someone to talk to. I'll be working with CEMA so that we can make it more effective," she says. Casas also plans to more visibly publicize the committee's ethnic-minority graduate student listserv, which links ethnic-minority psychology student groups across the country.
Kent State University graduate student Brian Hall chairs the Convention Committee--the fourth APAGS committee--and was featured in the September issue of gradPSYCH.