What it Means to Be a Science Student Council Representative

Each SSC member is charged with representing the needs of a particular group of graduate students with interests in an academic/research career. Representatives may come from any training track (e.g., behavioral neuroscience, cognitive psychology, school psychology, etc.) as long as their substantive research interests are appropriate to their council seat. Member terms last for three years, the first two requiring active participation in council activities. During the final year of their tenure, representatives serve an ad hoc advisory function.

Representative Responsibilities

First two years:
  • Networking with relevant APA divisions and other professional organizations in order to represent issues relevant to their constituency.

  • Attend twice yearly council meetings (fully funded by APA) in Washington, D.C.

  • Participate in listserv discussions.

  • Serve as a reviewer for the APA Early Graduate Student Researcher Awards.

  • Write newsletter articles about graduate student issues.

  • Help develop programming of interest to graduate students for the APA convention.

  • Learn about and participate in advocacy for science funding.

  • Advocate for psychology as a STEM discipline via opportunities to attend the APA Consolidated Meetings and Science Leadership Conferences.

Last year:
  • Continue listserv participation.

  • Advise incoming representatives as needed.

Sample issues previously addressed by the SSC:
  • Develop a High School Summer Program for Psychological Science.

  • The creation of the Early Graduate Student Researcher Awards.

  • Student involvement in the peer review process.

  • Authorship issues involving faculty members and other supervisors.

Representative Areas of Research

For each position, the representative should have a strong understanding of and training in scientific methodology as applied within his or her area. If you have questions about any of these council positions, please contact the current council member in that area.

Potential SSC applicants may contact current SSC members in there are of interest to discuss the positions and responsibilities. Current members and their contact info is available.

Behavioral neuroscience

This position represents students who perform empirical and/or theoretical research that addresses issues related to psychopharmacology, addictions, behavioral learning theory or related fields. The council member may use human and/or animal models of research.


This position represents graduate students engaged in research that focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying behavior, and research that is informed by or can include direct work with animal models. This council member must have expertise in behavioral measures but may also use other techniques drawn from various areas such as psychoneuroendocrinology, psychophysiology, neuroscience, psychopharmacology, neuropsychology or others. Notably, graduate students must primarily conduct biopsychological research but may be receiving a degree in any area of psychology. 

Clinical science

This position represents students whose research involvement reflects the clinical sciences within psychology, broadly representing the study of psychological functioning of individuals. This can include diversity across age groups and multicultural identities. This research is typically conducted in the fields of clinical, counseling, school or community psychology.

Cognitive science

This position represents students with interests in areas such as but not limited to sensation/perception, action, memory, attention, language, knowledge representation and learning. The council member should have experience with behavioral laboratory studies, computational modeling or imaging techniques.

Developmental psychology

This position represents students who perform theory-based research that addresses issues related to development. This council member can focus on any period of the life span or combination thereof (e.g., gerontology, infancy, emerging adulthood). This council member may focus on fields such as cognitive development or social development.

Health psychology

This position represents graduate students who conduct research on the relations among psychology, physical health and disease. This council member would typically have research interests related to health behaviors (e.g., smoking, sleep, physical activity), psychosocial factors in chronic disease, stress, psychoneuroimmunology, health-relevant animal research, health-relevant community research or health services research.

Industrial/organizational psychology

This position represents students who perform research on issues related to individual, team or organizational dynamics in work settings. Specific foci may include selection, training, motivation, job attitudes, culture/climate and other social and cognitive psychological principles applied to the workplace. Research may be conducted with college, military or working populations and in both lab or field research settings.

Psychological methodology

This position represents students who are interested in the development and application of quantitative methods (statistics), qualitative methods or experimental design. The research focus of the representative should be reflective of these areas, however, it is not a necessity that the person is enrolled in a purely methodological program.

Social/personality psychology

This position represents research-oriented social psychology graduate students. Areas of research can include, but are not limited to: interpersonal processes, attribution, self, personality, attitudes, stigma, stereotyping/prejudice, gender issues and prosocial behavior.