News

APA and George Mason University host 2011 Summer Science Fellowship program

Twelve advanced undergraduates were placed in psychological research labs and received advocacy and professional development training.

By Bree Gunter

This summer, the Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association (APA) sponsored the fourth annual APA Summer Science Fellowship (SSF) program. Twelve undergraduate students – all rising seniors – were selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants to participate in the program, which took place at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Over the course of six weeks, the students gained research experience under the guidance of faculty members from the George Mason psychology department. In addition to their work in the labs, the fellows participated in professional development sessions. These sessions – on topics ranging from developing research questions to how to give a scientific presentation – were typically led by George Mason faculty members and were geared toward preparing the students for careers in psychological science.

Fellows Emily Urban and Sujala Maharjan, with Professor Jim Thompson and a research participant, learn how to interpret EEG readings from an experiment on brain mechanisms underlying visual and auditory processing.

One day was designated as APA Policy Day.  The students visited APA’s headquarters in Washington, DC, for a briefing about science policy by staff members of the Science Directorate’s Government Relations Office.  The students then toured the United States Capitol Building, met with a psychologist who works in Congress, and learned about APA’s efforts to influence policy decisions and advocate for the interests of the discipline.  The tour was followed by visits by the students to the offices of their own members of Congress.

The 2011 Summer Science Fellows convened outside the Capitol Building on APA Policy Day.

The 2011 APA Summer Science Fellows were: 

Nate Anderson – Michigan State University
Kate Brynildsen – Grinnell College
Louis Cornejo – San Francisco State University
Kathryn Dalrymple – University of South Florida
Erica Kemp – Wright State University
Sujala Maharjan – Wesleyan College
Ambika Mathur – University of Maryland
Sean Mitchell – Texas Tech University
Elizabeth Nguyen – Reed College
Drew Rothenberg – North Carolina State University
Emily Urban – Marquette University
Dane Westermeyer – Gonzaga University

George Mason University faculty mentors were:

Carryl Baldwin (human factors and applied cognition)
Deborah Boehm-Davis (human factors and applied cognition)
Christianne Esposito-Smythers (clinical)
Pamela Greenwood (human factors and applied cognition)
Raja Parasuraman (human factors and applied cognition)
Tyler Shaw (human factors and applied cognition)
June Tangney (clinical)
James Thompson (human factors and applied cognition)
Steve Zaccaro (industrial organizational)

The 2011 program was considered a great success by all involved. At the close of the program, several Fellows indicated that the Summer Science Fellowship provided them with a unique research experience that would benefit them as they prepared to apply to graduate school.

Information about the application process for the 2012 Summer Science Fellowship program will be available in late fall. Check the Science Directorate website and this newsletter for details.


Bree Gunter is Science Programs Associate for the APA Science Directorate.