Since its founding in 1988, APAGS has grown from 18,000 to nearly 33,000 student members. As a result, our voices can be heard at every level of APA governance, even the Board of Directors, where we now have a voting seat. That's allowed us to advocate for students in very powerful ways, including building support for a new student-run journal and $3 million to develop more accredited internships.
In the coming decades, we hope to achieve even more success for psychology students. But before we can do that, we must have a shared vision of who we are and what we stand for as a group. One goal of the APAGS Committee over the next year is to review and update our mission and strategic plan to be sure they reflect members' needs. We invite you to tell us about your priorities and how you think we can advance the mission of psychology's premier graduate student organization — email me. So far, we've set lofty goals for APAGS with a new vision statement: "APAGS aspires to achieve the highest quality graduate training experience for the next generation of scientific innovators, expert practitioners and visionary leaders in psychology."
This statement captures where we want to go and who we want to be as an organization. As graduate students, we are psychology's future, and our actions today will reverberate for decades. We also recognize that the training experience is not limited to formal coursework, research and application of knowledge but also includes funding, debt, respect, quality of life, support, stress and other factors. There must be balance between both aspects of the training experience for students to achieve their own personal and professional goals.
In line with that vision, APAGS will continue to offer grants, awards and training opportunities that spark new ideas and encourage scientific innovations. Our Basic Psychological Science Research Grant, for instance, provides $1,000 to emerging scientists and neuroscientists who will advance the discipline with their empirical work. For students earlier in their careers, we offer the Junior Scientist Fellowship, which provides $1,000 in research support and sets first- and second-year students up to apply for the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. And when our flagship journal, Translational Issues in Psychological Science, debuts next year, it will provide invaluable training for future journal editors and reviewers while helping to move findings from the lab to the wider world.
For future psychology practitioners, we have voiced students' serious concerns about the internship crisis while bringing student voices to such important issues as health-care reform. And with APA's Practice Organization now open to student members, we can redouble our efforts to advocate for the future of psychology practice, weighing in on issues including insurance reimbursement and advocating for legislation to support psychologists and clients.
But APAGS's most important role, as I see it, is nurturing psychology's future leaders. Through this organization, students can learn how to advocate effectively for ourselves and the work we do to advance psychological knowledge and improve the health and mental health of individuals and whole societies. If you aren't already involved, consider joining our Advocacy Coordinating Team, campus representatives who keep fellow students up to date on breaking news and action alerts. Our Division Student Representative Network connects student leaders across the organization to share vision, strategies and resources. Run for an elected position on the APAGS Committee, or apply for one of the appointed subcommittee chair positions. Whichever way you get involved, you'll gain invaluable leadership skills while also building a brighter future for psychology.
With your help, we can continue our impressive history of advocating for graduate students and become even stronger champions for quality and respect in graduate training. I encourage you to ramp up your involvement with APAGS at this crucial juncture and stay tuned for more exciting developments. Here's to the next 25!
Letters to the Editor
- Write Us