Nearly 50 minority undergraduate students who plan to apply to graduate school in clinical psychology got an insider's look at the graduate school application process at the second annual Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) diversity recruitment fair held during the council's 2006 Annual Midwinter Meeting, Jan. 26-29 in Tucson, Ariz.
The students, who came from places as far-ranging as Illinois and Florida, met one-on-one with about 50 directors of clinical training from an array of psychology programs. During the meetings, the directors offered them information about their own specific psychology programs as well as general advice on applying to doctoral programs.
Also at the meeting, students presented posters of their current research projects during an APA Minority Fellowship Program-sponsored event. The presenters helped model a successful path for involvement in graduate education and training for the other undergraduate students who attended the fair, says Cynthia Belar, PhD, APA's executive director for education.
The program is part of a broader effort by psychology departments to recruit minorities to make the field more representative of America's demographic makeup, says event organizer Elizabeth Klonoff, PhD, co-director of the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego joint clinical psychology doctoral program. Other diversity recruitment programs that dovetail with the fair's goals include the APA Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs-administered National Institute of General Medical Sciences' program, which pairs major research institutions with predominantly minority two- and four-year colleges to steer talented students into the biomedical sciences. Another such program is a collaboration between APA's Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools and APA's Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges that educates minority students about a range of branches and careers in psychology via classroom videos and handouts.
Racial- and ethnic-minority students represent about 18 percent of first-year graduate psychology students, according to a 2000 report by APA's Research Office, the most recent data available. Klonoff and other event organizers started the fair to increase that proportion.
"We hope in the future there will be enough minority representation that we don't have to do this anymore," Klonoff says.
For more information about CUDCP, including information about next year's fair, visit www.am.org/cudcp/index.html.