APAGS's new leaders are remarkably united on their priorities: They are committed to solving the growing internship crisis. They seek more diversity at all levels of psychology. And they'll work to help students struggling to pay for their education.
Here's more about the committee members, who were elected in April:
Jennifer M. Doran, chair-elect
A clinical psychology graduate student at the New School for Social Research in New York City, Doran has focused on how people change in therapy and how to measure this change. She's also conducted research on international traumatic stress and graduate student development.
"The two issues I am most passionate about are continuing the fight to resolve the internship crisis and working to maintain funding for graduate students, which is under threat in the current economic climate. I am also really invested in bridging the clinical-research gap in our field. I hope to open a dialogue between our clinical and scientist members and help create a home for scientist-practitioners who are involved in both."
"In my downtime — when I can find some — I like to cook and entertain. This year, my husband and I started making our own pizzas. I love to travel, take pictures, go to the theater, sing and spend time with friends and family."
David Meyerson, member at large, practice
Meyerson studies child clinical psychology at DePaul University in Chicago. He's focused on the risk and protective factors among youth living in low-income, urban neighborhoods and is working to develop effective mentoring programs for them. "I spent many summers at camp as a camper, and later, as a counselor," he says. "Little did I know then that those experiences would form the basis of my career."
"I want to lead the charge in advocating for practice-oriented issues, whether it's within APA or on Capitol Hill. Of the many issues facing the practice of psychology — for example, the availability of postdoctoral jobs and preserving ethics in an era of emerging technologies — the most critical is the internship imbalance. During my tenure, I hope to work with the various training councils, internship membership organizations and state and provincial licensing boards to develop a unified solution to the imbalance."
"During my first three years at DePaul, I was a member of its Latin dance group, 'Ritmo Dembow.' Since then, I have been the group's staff advisor. I love intramural sports like beach volleyball and soccer. And most important, I do my best to make time for my girlfriend, Liz, spend time with friends and call my family."
Amanda Kraha, member at large, research and academics
A cognitive psychology student at the University of North Texas, Kraha studies flashbulb memories — vivid recollections of personal experiences during societal events, often negative, such as the 9/11 attacks and the John F. Kennedy assassination. For her dissertation, she's conducting a longitudinal study of a "positive" societal event — the assassination of Osama bin Laden — and its effect on the consistency of memory over time.
"I'd like to increase APAGS's science student membership. One way to do this is to continue to offer more science programming at APA's Annual Convention and to find innovative ways to connect students with opportunities available to them."
"I enjoy reading for fun. I recently made it through the 'Millennium' trilogy and loved it. Next on my list is to re-read some of my old favorites, starting with Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse Five' and maybe 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' by Dave Eggers. In addition, I have recently taken up foil fencing, which is so much harder than it looks."
Jameta Barlow, member at large, diversity
A doctoral student in the "Psychology in the Public Interest" program at North Carolina State University, Barlow studies the psychosocial and environmental stressors contributing to the high rates of obesity within black families and how health behaviors are transmitted through the generations.
"I plan to target diversity within the organization at all levels, including gender, race and ethnicity, ability or disability, and discipline, but I hope to truly engage and assess the needs of all graduate students in psychology."
"In my spare time, I am also a freelance writer and doula. I also enjoy reading, running, cooking with family and friends, play time with my dog and, of course, karaoke."
Todd Raymond Avellar, member at large, retention and recruitment
A counseling, clinical and school psychology student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Avellar studies mental health issues among sexual and ethnic minorities. For the last year, he's been a member of a research team surveying local LGBTQ people about their experiences and perceptions of law enforcement. Now, he's studying long-term effects of school bullying on adults and hopes to use these findings to design treatments to help adults overcome bullying's scars.
"As a low-income graduate student struggling to fund my education, I understand the stressors that accompany financing graduate studies. We must increase scholarship opportunities and assist diverse communities through research, practice and advocacy. To address this issue, I will further develop my networks both within and outside of APA to raise awareness on these issues and work toward realistic solutions."
"I am a nature boy at heart, so I enjoy spending as much time outside as possible. Mindfulness-based meditation has also become a significant part of my life. Every week, I strive to set aside time in my schedule to attend small meditation groups. This practice brings me back to my center and provides comfort even in the most hectic of times."
Jule Banville is a writer in Missoula, Mont.
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