From the APA Science Student Council

Getting the Most out of APA: APA Resources for Graduate Students in Psychological Science

The website also boasts a catalogue of student-oriented listservs. These listservs function as forums for the discussion of student issues, as well as the dissemination of relevant information.

The Science Student Council is a group of nine graduate students who spend a couple of weekends a year with the Science staff, advising us on programs and activities that would benefit graduate students in psychological science. This month, and every month for the next year or so, the students will present useful information that other graduate students need to know! Visit the Science Student Council to learn more about the activities of the SSC.

Getting the Most out of APA: APA Resources for Graduate Students in Psychological Science
by Kelly E. Dunn

The APA is committed to providing its members with a variety of resources specifically designed to foster a strong and worthwhile graduate and post-graduate experience. With such a large membership, identifying the array of student resources within the organization may seem challenging; this is especially true for science-oriented students, who may not be as interested in the clinical-practice resources that APA offers. In fact, APA provides multiple resources to advance the professional development of psychological scientists. There are several ways to take advantage of these opportunities.

Utilize the APA Science Student Council. The APA Science Student Council (SSC) is composed of nine science-oriented graduate students representing a broad range of psychological science disciplines. The council works with the APA Science Directorate to provide a variety of resources specifically for science-oriented students. These resources include convention programs to advance graduate student scientific research, important resource guides for student researchers (e.g., NRSA funding tips, information on peer reviewing) and a science-student listserv. In addition, the SSC also chooses the recipients of the Early Researcher Awards, annual awards that provide funding to graduate students who are in the beginning stages of their scientific career and are conducting important scientific research. You can email the SSC directly or visit us on the web at the Science Student Council page.

Join a division. There are currently fifty-six divisions within APA, each one representing a distinct domain within the discipline. Divisions generally represent and provide concentrated attention to more specific interest areaa within psychology than APA as a whole, thereby providing a more personalized learning experience. In addition, many sponsor specific and exclusive activities, such as listservs or independent meetings. This provides an opportunity to foster research collaborations and identify potential areas of employment within a specific field. Above all, joining a division is a great way to connect with a network of individuals sharing similar research interests.  More information is available on APA's Divisions page.

Become an advocate. APA recognizes the necessity of and strongly promotes continuous scientific research and lobbies hard for federal funds to be allocated for the advancement of psychological science. While the status of federal funding may seem distant and inconsequential to students when completing a thesis, the reality is that APA’s constant vigilance in this area is a benefit to all scientific endeavors. For those interested in pursuing a position in academic research, a complete understanding of federal funding issues is essential. A great way to become familiar with this topic is by subscribing to the free online newsletter Science Policy Insider News [now APA Science Policy News]. This bulletin provides updates on federal funding issues most likely to influence scientific research initiatives, along with pro-active strategies by which to manage funding outcomes.

Take advantage of the APA Science Directorate. The APA Science Directorate has compiled a number of resources for science-oriented students. These opportunities include convention travel and dissertation research awards for students conducting significant and progressive scientific research. The Science Directorate also supports a variety of training institutes. These multi-day conferences provide expert training on special topics and are specifically designed to enhance scientific research efficacy.

Know what APA has to offer. APA’s website synthesizes the many resources available to students. The utilization of this website is advantageous for students at any stage of their graduate career. The APA website provides valuable information regarding admissions, the graduate-level experience, and post-graduate opportunities. Among the many highlights, this site provides a compilation of graduate student funding opportunities, including fellowships, travel awards and dissertation grants. These prestigious funding awards are highly beneficial in the support of a research interest.  More information is available on APA's Science Directorate Funding and Grants page.

The website also boasts a catalogue of student-oriented listservs. These listservs function as forums for the discussion of student issues, as well as the dissemination of relevant information.  APAGS Listservs for Students is available on APA's APAGS page.

For a more complete understanding of the wide variety of student resources offered by the American Psychological Association, visit the APA student website.