With a rapidly changing health-care system, shrinking research funding and an ongoing internship crisis, psychology needs strong student leaders now more than ever, says Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, APAGS' associate executive director. The good news is that the new APAGS committee — including the three leaders elected in May and the appointed subcommittee chairs — are up for the challenge, he says.
"This is an especially creative, energetic group," says El-Ghoroury. "They represent a wide diversity of experiences and opinions, but they are all committed to helping psychology students survive and thrive in challenging times."
The new leaders are:
Matthew FitzGerald, chair-elect
A fourth-year clinical psychology student at Loyola University Maryland, FitzGerald formerly chaired the Maryland Psychological Association for Graduate Students. His clinical interests include mindfulness-based interventions and tracking treatment outcomes. For his dissertation, he is investigating how friendships help gay male and lesbian teens get through their high school years.
FitzGerald hopes to get more students involved in APAGS by expanding the group's social media outreach and recruiting more campus representatives. Broadening APAGS' network, he says, will allow graduate students to advocate more powerfully for solutions to the internship crisis and for increased funding for psychological science.
In His Downtime
FitzGerald unwinds through daily mindfulness meditation. "It helps me bring my focus back to what is right in front of me, instead of constantly thinking about what comes next," he says.
Joshua Kellison, member-at-large, communication
Kellison is a fifth-year clinical psychology student at Arizona State University whose training and research focuses on children and families. For his dissertation, Kellison is investigating how gay male and lesbian parents cope with anti-gay attitudes and discrimination.
"In the long-term, I hope to use my data to create a culturally relevant intervention for these parents," he says. Kellison is a former chair of the Div. 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues) Health Initiatives Task Force and a member of the APAGS Committee on LGBT Concerns.
During his term, Kellison will reach out to APAGS members to identify the most important issues facing students, and he'll strive to keep them abreast of APAGS' work on their behalf. Kellison also plans to build coalitions with other student organizations and APA divisions to solve such knotty problems as the internship crisis, he says.
In His Downtime
An avid world traveler, Kellison recently visited several Caribbean countries. A highlight: Climbing the Mayan Xunantunich temples in Belize. "My all-time favorite event is opening day at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan," he says.
Gregory Wilson, member-at-large, education
Greg Wilson is a second-year clinical psychology student at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. He's completing his practicum at Hartgrove Hospital in Chicago.
Addressing the internship shortfall is Wilson's top priority. He'll work closely with psychology training councils to close the gap between the number of students seeking internships and the number of slots available. Wilson will also reach out to science- and practice-oriented students to ask them how their programs could better prepare them for psychology careers, and he'll communicate those ideas to education leaders.
In His Downtime
Wilson can often be found walking around Chicago's historic neighborhoods, checking out the city's lesser-known architectural gems. "I just wish I had more time to do it," he says.
These new leaders will join six previously elected APAGS committee members:
Ali Mattu, Catholic University of America, chair
Susan Wilson, Ohio University, past chair
Rachel Becker, University of Miami, member-at-large, diversity
Ethan Mereish, Boston College, member-at-large, membership recruitment and retention
Shanda Wells, Midwestern University, member-at-large, practice
Lyra Stein, Rutgers University, member-at-large, science.
Also representing graduate students are five subcommittee chairs appointed by the APAGS executive committee:
Paul Lawrence Ascheman, Iowa State University, Advocacy Coordinating Team
Jesse Matthews, Immaculata University, Convention Committee
Megan Smith, Purdue University, Science Committee
Michelle Madore, University of Cincinnati, Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs
Mike Parent, University of Florida, Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns.
More information on the new student leaders is available on the APAGS webpage.