From the APA Science Student Council

The APA Science Student Council (APASSC) – Looking to the Past and Future

In this article, we invite you to take a look at our past accomplishments and future goals. We hope that by better understanding our agenda and what we do, you will get more involved with the APASSC to voice your opinions and have your science student needs met.

By Gloria Luong

Now that you’ve clicked on this link, you may be wondering: what is the American Psychological Association Science Student Council (APASSC)? We are a group of nine graduate students from different areas of psychology who represent and advocate for science-oriented students’ needs and interests (this means you!). The APASSC was created by the APA Science Directorate to give a voice to science students. We advise the Board of Scientific Affairs on what students want within APA and in our scientific communities. In this article, we invite you to take a look at our past accomplishments and future goals. We hope that by better understanding our agenda and what we do, you will get more involved with the APASSC to voice your opinions and have your science student needs met.

The APASSC has developed multiple resources and activities specifically for science students. These include:

  • The Early Graduate Student Researcher Award - As a graduate student, you have probably come to the realization that funding is a scarce and limited resource and that there is a dearth of awards for students who are in the earlier phases of their graduate training. This award was created by the APASSC to address this problem and to recognize the potential of early graduate students for outstanding research careers. Every year, the APASSC makes up to three awards of $1000 each. In 2008, the award was given to Faith Brozovitch of Temple University (Applied Science) and Zhicheng Lin of the University of Minnesota (Basic Science). Looking for your chance to be recognized? Apply soon! The award deadline is September 15, 2009. For more details on the award (including how to apply), visit the Early Graduate Student Researcher Award page.

  • APA Convention Programming – The APASSC is dedicated to ensuring that the APA convention has relevant and impactful programming for science students. In the past, the APASSC has hosted successful science student sessions such as “What I Wish I Had Known,” which featured a panel of faculty and students who shared experiences about what they wish they had known or done differently during graduate school. At the 2009 convention, the APASSC will again host a variety of programming, including “Datablitz,” a whirlwind of presentations in which invited faculty and students each present their research in two minutes. The 2009 convention will also feature a workshop on “Grants and Fellowships for Graduate Students – Funding and Advocacy,” a “How to Network” event, and a session on “Balancing Work and Life Issues.” Look for your APA convention book for details on the date, time and location of these events!

  • Representing the Science Student Voice- Members of the APASSC attend the APA’s semi-annual consolidated meetings, in which most of APA’s governance boards and committees meet at the same time and place. The APASSC advises the Board of Scientific Affairs and other groups on science student perspectives and needs at this gathering. This past spring, three APASSC representatives participated in discussions about such topics as revamping high school psychology curricula and how to get students interested in statistics earlier in their educational careers. In addition, in past years APASSC members have lobbied on Capitol Hill to fight for funding for social and behavioral research as part of their participation in APA’s Science Leadership Conference. The APASSC also works collaboratively with the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) to represent science student interests. Last year, for example, we worked with APAGS to host an advanced statistical methods workshop at the APA convention.

  • Writing for Science Students- The APASSC also writes a monthly article, such as this one, for the Psychological Science Agenda (PSA). Past articles have covered topics ranging from publishing your dissertation to mentoring undergraduates to developing and fostering relationships with faculty. Topics of upcoming PSA articles from the APASSC include alternate job options in a turbulent economy and how to get grant funding.

  • Graduate Student Resources- The APASSC has also put together useful resource guides for graduate students. For example, we created guides on how to negotiate authorship and how to conduct interdisciplinary research, which have been very popular. You can find our resource guides and a list of helpful links on the APA web site. Currently, the APASSC is working on a “survival guide” for graduate students covering such topics as how to choose an advisor, how to change labs, collaborating with multiple faculty advisors, disseminating your research, and dealing with rejected manuscripts and non-significant results.

Now that you have a better understanding of what the APASSC has done and continues to do for you, we need you to get involved! Here are some ways you can participate in your APA scientific community:

  • Join the APA Science Student listserv. Get updates on award and funding deadlines, training opportunities, and job and postdoc positions and get involved in ongoing discussions with other science students who share similar interests. For more information on the listserv, including how to join, visit the listserv homepage.

  • Apply to be a member of the APASSC. APASSC members serve a two-year term. These terms coincide with the academic term, beginning in the fall. The deadline for applications for terms beginning in the fall of 2010 will be in April or May of 2010. Four positions, representing specific research areas, will be open at that time: health research, clinical science, social/personality research, and behavioral neuroscience. For more information on APASSC member responsibilities and criteria, please visit the APASSC webpage.

  • Contact the APASSC. We need to hear from you. Your feedback will help us assess how we can improve our efforts on behalf of science students. If you have ideas or suggestions for how the APASSC can better represent your needs, please let us know. You can e-mail us any time. We are looking forward to hearing from you!