From the CEO
The health of the scientific work force depends on nurturing future students. But encouraging students to pursue science careers--including those in psychological science--has become a real challenge. Students are able to select among more career options than ever before, and every scientific discipline competes for the best and the brightest.
Over the past few years, APA's Board of Scientific Affairs and Science Directorate have been developing programs to attract and keep students in the field. One important goal in these efforts is to expand the diversity of psychology's scientific work force.
New this year is the APA Summer Science Fellowship program. More than 500 highly qualified undergraduate students applied to spend the summer in Washington, D.C., area laboratories to learn about new areas of research and work with some of the finest psychological scientists in our neighborhood.
Eight of the 12 students selected for the program self-identified as being from underrepresented groups in psychological science. They come from all over the country. Thanks to the devotion of faculty mentors who are sharing their labs this summer, our expectation is that the students will further define their graduate education choices and build their networks of support in psychological science.
Another example of how the APA Science Directorate supports areas of science that need our extra attention has to do with quantitative psychology. For the past several years, the directorate has sponsored the Advanced Statistical Training Program, a nine-day course in which psychologists learn about psychological statistics and research methods in a hands-on environment. The course is designed specifically for undergraduate students from underrepresented groups, as well as first-generation college students and students who have overcome other challenges in their quest for higher education.
Taught by Dr. Brett Pelham, Dr. Keith Maddox and Dr. Mauricio Carvallo, this program really makes the material come alive, and it has excited more than 100 "graduates" about statistics. If they didn't love stats before the course, they always leave with a newly minted enthusiasm for this critical area.
To attract more students to quantitative psychology, APA also partners with the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology to support its QTUG program, short for Quantitative Training for Underrepresented Groups. Through the program, offered just before APA's Annual Convention, students work with outstanding scientists and mentors, with the aim of broadening the network of quantitative science.
The newest addition to the stable of programming in the Science Directorate is one of the Advanced Training Institutes. Held throughout the summer, each ATI is like a little camp for scientists. Participants learn new technologies or methods in science, mingle with people who have similar interests and walk away with new skills that can be put to immediate use. The newest ATI focuses on Research Methods with Diverse Racial and Ethnic Groups. Dr. Frederick Leong, a member of APA's Board of Scientific Affairs, is the lead instructor. The purpose of this ATI is to introduce participants to a variety of research approaches that have been used with diverse racial and ethnic groups to produce significant and useful knowledge about these populations. Participation will help investigators conduct psychological research that is culturally appropriate and relevant for the groups being studied.
The health of our discipline depends on a strong and diverse scientific work force. Thanks to the efforts of these and other programs, our future looks bright.