APAGS News

Do you have a great new idea for a convention program or a reform you'd like to see in graduate education? Take it to your new APAGS leaders.

In August, six new officers joined the six returning ones in their quest to make students' voices heard in APA's governance and the psychology profession at large.

They will represent graduate students' interests at meetings of the APA Board of Educational Affairs, the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice and the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers, among other groups. APAGS officers also develop resources for psychology graduate students and advocate for student-friendly legislation.

New officers

Arlette Ngoubene Atioky, member-at-large, membership, recruitment and retention

Background: Atioky is a fifth-year counseling psychology student at Lehigh University with a strong interest in international issues, and she's an international student herself, hailing from Belgium and Cameroon. Atioky is working on her dissertation proposal, which focuses on coping strategies and the functioning of people displaced by war and famine. She loves to dance and travel, and she is currently in Brussels for an internship for the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. She is excited to have the opportunity to travel to Europe, including France, Belgium, Switzerland and Berlin.

Goals: Atioky hopes to increase graduate students' participation in APAGS, especially underrepresented groups. To that end, she will develop social and networking opportunities, conferences, workshops and perhaps remembrance day celebrations for underrepresented populations.


Rachel Casas, chair-elect

Background: A fifth-year student in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Iowa, Casas studies how cultural variables impact neuropsychological testing and assessment as well as how bilingual individuals use both of their languages. She is currently working on her dissertation, which will investigate the effect of using an interpreter to facilitate neuropsychological assessment of monolingual Spanish speakers. Casas has long been committed to diversity issues. In fact, she co-founded her university's Latina/o Graduate Student Association and also served as chair of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs for APAGS.

Goals: As APAGS chair-elect, Casas will strive to unify graduate students across all subfields of psychology. She is also committed to promoting diversity and social justice through excellence in research and clinical expertise. "Collectively, we have the power to shape the direction and vision of our field," she says. Specifically, she will advocate for graduate student issues including increasing funding for graduate education and dissertation research, internship supply and demand, and decreasing student loan debt. She also aims to develop an APAGS position statement on human rights and provide regular updates on APAGS efforts to enhance diversity.


Lore M. Dickey, chair, Committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns

Background: Dickey is a fourth-year counseling psychology student at the University of North Dakota. His primary research interests center on female-to-male transgender people. Dickey has conducted two studies, one on the effectiveness of support groups for transgender people and the other on sexual identity development in this population. During his free time, he is involved with LGBT organizations at the local and national level.

Goals: Dickey will work to provide his constituency with services and ensure that the voices of LGBT students are heard. This includes developing relevant programming for APA's Annual Convention, continuing the APAGS mentoring program for LGBT students and revising LGBT resources.


Ali Mattu, member-at-large, diversity

Background: Mattu is a third-year clinical psychology graduate student at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he studies culture and mental health. He is preparing his dissertation proposal and hopes to focus his research on the topic of positive psychology and culture.

In addition to his research, Ali teaches introductory psychology at Catholic University and is passionate about using new technologies to aid in the learning process.

During his off hours, Mattu enjoys mountain biking and reading science fiction. He is an avid photographer and dreams of one day retiring from psychology and working as a photojournalist for National Geographic magazine.

Goals: Mattu has three goals to increase diversity in APAGS, increase training for diverse students and increase support for diverse students. To accomplish these goals, he plans to reach out to populations underrepresented in graduate programs through campus events, blogs and social networking Web sites. He plans to launch an initiative, with Div. 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology), to recruit and train people from diverse backgrounds to become graduate student instructors. Mattu also hopes to increase participation in the APAGS peer mentoring program and strengthen online peer support networks.


The Rev. Innocent Okozi, chair, APAGS Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA)

Background: Okozi is a third-year student in the counseling psychology program at Seton Hall University, in South Orange, N.J. His research interests include multicultural issues, particularly in the integration of spirituality into therapy. Okozi's dissertation will focus on whether attachment to God affects psychological well-being. Okozi is also a Catholic priest engaged in pastoral ministry at the Parish of the Transfiguration in Newark, N.J.

Goals: Okozi will work to foster multicultural sensitivities among students at a national level, and together with the CEMA regional diversity coordinators, he will strive to increase membership and participation of ethnic-minority graduate students. He will also work to establish collaborative opportunities with other APAGS committees and with the APA Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs, in particular. Finally, as chair of CEMA, he plans to work diligently with central office staff to maintain the success of the ethnic-minority peer mentoring program.


Erlanger A. Turner, member-at-large, practice

Background: Turner is a fifth-year clinical psychology student at Texas A&M University who just started an internship at Florida State University's multidisciplinary center. His research interests include child-family psychology, mental health service use and ethnic-minority issues. Turner has been an active member of APAGS for several years, serving as APAGS-CEMA Western regional diversity coordinator and the Div. 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) Committee of Students.

Goals: Turner will help psychologists in training succeed by collaborating with APA's Practice Directorate and disseminating information to students on issues such as navigating graduate school while preparing for their careers and obtaining state and national licensure.


Returning officers

Dawn M. Brock, PsyD, advocacy coordinating team chair

Background: Brock recently graduated from Antioch University New England, where she completed a dissertation on psychologists' experiences with requests to release deceased clients' records.

Goals: Brock will encourage graduate students to participate in legislative advocacy, including e-mailing and calling their congressional representatives.


Brian J. Hall, Convention Committee chair

Background: Hall, a fifth-year clinical psychology student at Kent State University, is approaching the grad school finish line. He just passed his comprehensive exams and is beginning his dissertation, in which he will examine the positive and negative psychological effects of terrorism on Israelis and Palestinians. During his free time, Hall is an avid hiker. He also enjoys traveling and trying new dishes on his journeys.

Goals: Hall has been working with the APAGS Convention Committee to ensure that APA's Annual Convention continues to be a vital way for students to gain professional development opportunities and share their scientific findings. This year, in collaboration with the APA Publication and Communications Board, the Convention Committee has developed a "publication track" that will provide information about how to succeed in the world of scholarly publications. What's more, the popular Food for Thought Breakfasts will give students the opportunity to meet prominent psychologists and learn from their experiences.


Nadia T. Hasan, APAGS past chair

Background: Hasan is a doctoral student in counseling psychology at the University of Akron and a psychology intern at Michigan State University's Counseling Center. She is completing her dissertation on the impact of sexism on women's self-efficacy as leaders and their motivation to pursue future leadership opportunities. "The world needs great leaders more than ever, and psychologists' unique training and knowledge of behavior make us experts at ... improving leaders' skills," she says.

Goals: Hasan plans to continue to provide resources for graduate students to seek education and career opportunities abroad. "There is a great big world out there just waiting to be impacted by future psychologists," she says. "We just need good maps to help us create our international psychology careers."


Jae Yeon Jeong, PhD, member-at-large, education

Background: Jeong recently interned at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and graduated in August from the University of Memphis counseling psychology program. Her clinical interests include minority mental health, women's health, multicultural and international issues, training and supervision, and sexual trauma.

Goals: Jeong will continue to reach out to the diverse graduate student community and solicit input from members. She will also uphold high education and training standards, and will seek guidance from graduate students on changes they'd like to see made to accreditation guidelines, internship requirements and licensure.


Konjit V. Page, APAGS chair

Background: Page has held a number of leadership roles within APA, including serving as a student representative and member at large, diversity focus of Div. 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) for LGBT Awareness and as a member of the APA Presidential Taskforce on Diversity Education Resources. Prior to her graduate studies, Page was a social worker for a nonprofit foster family agency. During her graduate training, she has conducted research on same-sex marriage and racial and sexual identity. Page participated in practicum training at university counseling centers and community hospitals. Page is currently completing a practicum placement at Fenway Community Health, a community clinic catering to a predominantly LGBT population.

Goals: Page will focus on advocating for student concerns and interests in mentorship, internship availability, increasing the diversity of APAGS membership and encouraging student collaboration and communication. In particular, she hopes to foster a sense of community among graduate students by creating opportunities for collaboration, leadership development, improving information dissemination, and by highlighting the work of APAGS members.

"There are so many opportunities available for graduate students when we are able to join together and pool our resources," says Page. "I hope that all psychology graduate students will think of APAGS as their professional home."


Bryana White, member-at-large, communications

Background: A third-year clinical psychology student at the University of Rhode Island, White is working on completing her master's thesis on white college students' perception and awareness of privilege. When not working on her thesis, attending classes and seeing clients, White helps underserved and underrepresented high school graduates prepare for college through her university's Talent Development Pre-Matriculation Program.

Goals: By tapping listservs and other outlets, White facilitates communication among APA division student representatives and APAGS and disseminates information about division news to graduate students, providing information on funding opportunities and other important announcements.

—Compiled by D. Schwartz