APA's Education Directorate hosted high school and undergraduate students at two symposia, one held for an advanced placement psychology class at APA headquarters on Feb. 28 and one on March 17 for both undergraduate and high school students during the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) conference in Baltimore. The symposia, co-sponsored by Psi Chi and Psi Beta, exposed students to the wide range of psychology careers and encouraged them to pursue study in the field.
APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, gave the keynote address at both symposia, outlining the path he took to become a psychologist and explaining the diverse career areas in which psychologists can work, including private practice, health care and business.
"Our subject matter is going to be relevant to everything that goes on in society," he said at the February event.
Anderson told students that there is no substitute for hard work, no matter what kind of job one has, and that developing a professional network is crucial.
Local graduate and undergraduate students, some employed by APA, spoke to the students on Feb. 28 about their experiences studying psychology and offered advice on gaining college admittance and thriving in the academic environment.
Both symposia featured career panels with psychology experts. At the EPA session, APA members Norine Jalbert, PhD, a psychology professor at Western Connecticut State University, Capt. Morgan Sammons, PhD, a military psychologist from the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Diane Finley, PhD, a sports psychologist from Prince George's Community College, and Anthony J. Pinizzotto, PhD, a forensic psychologist at the FBI Training Academy Behavioral Science Unit, joined Cynthia Belar, PhD, of the Education Directorate in outlining some of the many careers involving psychology training. A panel of experts also spoke at the Feb. 28 event.
"You can have these multiple careers within the field of psychology," said Kim Nickerson, PhD, interim director of APA's Minority Fellowship Program. "If you get bored doing the same thing day after day, it is a good field for you."
Several of the students at the February meeting were from other countries, such as Ethiopia and Guinea, and Nickerson advised them to embrace their heritage as they studied psychology. "Work from your own cultural perspective," he said. "Learn Western psychological principles, but apply them through the lens of your own cultural background."
Some of the high school student attendees expressed interest in furthering their study of psychology.
"I've learned a lot from today's session," said Selamawit Addissie, a Cardoza High School senior who attended the February symposium. "Psychology's not just about sitting with people and hearing their problems-you can do a lot of different things."