Psychology's national honor society, Psi Chi, will not only celebrate its 75th anniversary at convention with student-focused programming and a commemorative dinner cruise in Honolulu, it will also welcome its first CEO: Virginia Andreoli Mathie, PhD, of James Madison University.

Psi Chi developed the CEO position to expand the society's national visibility and boost its resources for students by forming partnerships with other psychological and research organizations, such as APA, the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, says Psi Chi President Martha Zlokovich, PhD. A permanent CEO will be able to pursue these efforts over the long term, adds Zlokovich, since the Psi Chi presidency turns over each year.

"We see this [new position] as a great opportunity to make a big jump in what Psi Chi can provide students," says Zlokovich.

New leadership

While Psi Chi already has more than 445,000 members--94 percent of whom are undergraduates and 6 percent of whom are graduate students when they are inducted--and more chapters than any other honor society at four-year colleges and universities, Mathie is aiming to boost membership, especially among graduate students.

Mathie also wants to expand member interest in its more-than-a-dozen grants and awards as well as other opportunities, such as serving as Psi Chi officers and networking at regional meetings and conventions.

"Membership in Psi Chi not only recognizes students' outstanding academic accomplishments," says Mathie, who is a longtime national leader and advocate for psychology education. "It provides students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, expand their connections to the scientific community and participate in professional activities at regional and national conferences."

Mathie will be backed up by Paula Miller, Psi Chi's chief operations officer, who will manage the society's finances, serve as editor of Eye on Psi Chi magazine and run Psi Chi's headquarters in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Mathie, who takes the reins in July, says she plans to brainstorm with members of Psi Chi's National Council on ways to motivate its student members--who become members for life when they are inducted--to remain active in the society once they enter their professional careers. She also aims to heighten the society's visibility.

"I would like to see Psi Chi have a stronger voice in the national discussion of issues confronting higher education," she says. "Psi Chi leaders and members have a wealth of knowledge, experience and ideas that would help inform discussions."

Psi Chi in Honolulu

Indeed, Psi Chi leaders and members have been sharing that knowledge for 75 years in their APA Annual Convention programming on careers, navigating graduate school and other student-focused topics--and this year is no exception.

Convention-goers may be particularly interested in a reception at the Hawaii Maritime Center followed by a dinner cruise in Honolulu Harbor on July 30 for student and psychologist members of Psi Chi to network and celebrate the 75th anniversary. The cruise will depart from the Aloha Tower and sail down the Waikiki coastline. Other Psi Chi programs at convention include:

  • The Frederick Howell Lewis Distinguished Lecture by Harvard University's Nalini Ambady, PhD, on Wednesday, July 28, at 1 p.m. Her talk is titled "How identity activation shapes behavior: social, cultural and developmental evidence."

  • Psi Chi Poster Session, on Wednesday, July 28, at 1 p.m., featuring research by student Psi Chi members on topics such as parent-training on child compliance and long-term psychotherapy.

  • "Strategies for launching a successful career with a bachelor's in psychology," which will feature talks by Tara Kuther, PhD, of Western Connecticut State University, and Betsy Morgan, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin, on Thursday, July 29, at 10 a.m.

  • Psi Chi Research Award Presentations and Award Ceremony on Thursday, July 29, at 11 a.m., which will honor the graduate and undergraduate student winners of this year's Psi Chi awards.

  • "Advice for a successful application to graduate school," on Friday, July 30, at 9 a.m., which will include talks by Rebecca Stoddart, PhD, of St. Mary's College, and Carla Reyes, PhD, of the University of Utah.

  • "Psychology and the Brown v. Board of Education decision," on Saturday, July 31, at noon, which will explore how the landmark Supreme Court case influenced psychology. The session is co-sponsored by Divs. 26 (Society for the History of Psychology) and 41 (American Psychology-Law Society) and Psi Beta, the psychology honor society for community colleges.

Further Reading

For more information on convention programming and Psi Chi membership benefits, visit www.psichi.org.