Not waiting for Congress: Graduate student employees fight for paid leave

Posted in Advocacy, Graduate School

Let’s give student-parents the opportunity to care for their children without fear of reprisal or financial instability.

In response to an increasing reliance on graduate student labor to teach undergraduates and provide research assistance, graduate teachers and researchers are organizing graduate employee unions in growing numbers across the country to ensure that their workplace rights are honored and their welfare secured. Because most graduate student employees (GSEs) are in the prime years for child rearing, establishing paid leave for student-parents has been a key concern for GSE unions.

Ian Gutierrez, a member of the APAGS Science Committee and the APAGS Chair-Elect, writes an interesting article about being a part of a union as a graduate student employee. Check out his story in APA’s Public Interest Newsletter.

Five (more) reasons why you should go to APA Convention

Posted in Graduate School

1) NetworkingNetworking

I said it before, and I’ll say it again; networking works.  APA Convention  gives you easy access to hundreds of potential employers all in one place.  Plus, for those of us that have difficulty with networking and meeting  new people, Convention provides an abundance of conversation starters.

“I really enjoyed your presentation, what can I do to learn more
about working in this field?” or, “Did you go to the Presidential
address? What did you think about XYZ?”

2) It makes you smarterBrain

Like eating a healthy breakfast, or wearing the diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw,  going to Convention makes you smarter.  In a study (which I just made up),  students who attended Convention at least once were considered more informed  than the control group who did not attend Convention.  In seriousness,  attending Convention exposes you to ideas outside of your graduate school  bubble, opening you up to new concepts and letting you experience some of the  great work other people are doing that you wouldn’t see otherwise.

3) Easier than reading it in an article

Sure, if you wait a year or two you will be able to read about a lot of the  work being presented at Convention.  But wouldn’t you rather listen to the researcher tell you about it him/herself?  Then you can ask questions, get clarification, or even volunteer to help on a follow-up study.

4) Sessions for students, by students

APAGS kicks ass (or butt) at creating Convention programming you can’t get  anywhere else. The APAGS Convention Committee always develops (in my very  biased opinion) some of the best, most useful programs at Convention. Having trouble finding a mentor, or having trouble with a current mentor? Come to our  mentorship session Turbo-Charging Your Career: Finding and Keeping a Good Mentor.  Are you a non-traditional student struggling with issues traditional graduate students don’t understand?  Come to Non-traditional  Students and Graduate School: Student experiences, Personal Challenges and Open Discussion. These are just a few of the many programs developed to address specific graduate student needs you can’t find anywhere else!

Toronto35) Oh Canada!

Ever been to Canada? Here is your chance to travel internationally and  visit the Great White North. Toronto is a beautiful city, with lots to offer in terms of sight-seeing and nightlife. Come meet some international friends and explore a new culture in a city that is just miles from the U.S.  border. And don’t forget to brush up on your Canadian, eh?


Editors Note: Daniel Reimer is a doctoral student at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the APAGS Convention Committee Chair.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) is May 17th!

Posted in Advocacy

Stand with LGBTQI youth

On May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder, and since 2005 the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) has commemorated that day. It is a global occasion for individuals, groups, and organizations to take action on topics related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and to advocate for more accepting public policies. Each year a global focus for IDAHOT is chosen and this year’s is LGBT youth.

How can you get involved to raise awareness and support for LGBT youth? Here are five quick ways:

1. Inform yourself. Check out the official website for IDAHOT, where you can learn about what different groups worldwide are doing to raise support and awareness for LGBT youth and you can also follow IDAHOT on Twitter (@May17IDAHOT) and Facebook.

2. Take social media by storm. Join the IDAHOT Thunderclap campaign. Thunderclap is a service that you give permission to post a preset message on your social media pages on May 17 in honor of IDAHOT. When multiple people post on Facebook and Twitter at the same time, it creates a bigger buzz.

3. Be an advocate for LGBT youth. You can do this on your campus and in your community. Work with LGBT groups on your campus and in your community to help generate interest in IDAHOT and raise awareness of the unique challenges and experiences faced by LGBT students. Although there are plenty of resources out there, here are a few to get you started…

4. Support fellow LGBT graduate students. Tell your peers what is out there and specifically for them. The APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity has long been advocating on behalf of this community. It currently offers a set of free training webisodes on special topics (e.g., coming out to your clients), a climate guide (PDF) and a survival/resource guide, an academic-year mentoring program, two grants (one for training and the other for dissertation research), the APAGSLGBT listserv, and much more.

5. Support other youth around the world. Consider donating to the IDAHOT movement and help fund one of several activities worldwide planned, including public marches and demonstrations, publications in national newspapers, festivals, education and public awareness raising, flash mobs, and the support of LGBT rights organizations internationally.

Last year's IDAHOT celebrations at CQ University in Sydney Australia brings the message, "Being straight is no excuse for homophobia." (Source: Acon Online for Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

Last year’s IDAHOT at CQ University in Sydney, Australia brings the message, “Being straight is no excuse for homophobia.” (Source: Acon Online for Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

APA wants every day to be an IDAHOT day. For more information about how we support LGBT communities and a list of resources for becoming engaged in action, check this page out.

Remember, every action counts in the fight for LGBT youth around the world!

Editor’s Note: Mary T. Guerrant, MS, is a doctoral student at North Carolina State University and a member of APAGS-CSOGD.

5 Tips from Finding Nemo for Completing Your Dissertation

Posted in Advice, Graduate School, Research, Training Issues

FINDING NEMO 3DThis past weekend, as I stumbled upon “Finding Nemo” on cable (ok, I’ll confess, I wanted to watch it again), I reflected on how Marlin’s journey could be similar to the dissertation process. In the movie, Marlin is a clownfish who sees his son Nemo captured from the Great Barrier Reef by a diver. He embarks on a long journey to Sydney to rescue his son. Here are my lessons learned from Finding Nemo that I believe can apply to the dissertation process (seriously).

1)      Be prepared for a long journey. Marlin swims hundreds of miles in search of his son. Be ready for all the work that can go into completing the dissertation, which also takes lots of time. It’s helpful to know that you’re on a long journey, and give yourself plenty of time to do all the assigned tasks.

2)      Friends can help you along the way. Marlin gets help from numerous friends: Dory reads the address on the diver’s mask; Crush the sea turtle gives Marlin directions to Sydney via the East Australian Current; Nigel the brown pelican rescues Marlin and Dory and takes him to Nemo. Your friends and peers in graduate school can help you as you finish the dissertation. They can encourage you, help you solve problems that you encounter, and then celebrate with you at the end.

Fish Sydney Opera House3)      Listen to the advice you’re given. A school of fish advise Dory to avoid jellyfish. Marlin didn’t listen and ended up getting stung. On your journey, you may get advice from your colleagues and professors. It’s helpful to listen to what they say, particularly when it’s about making your path easier. While you might want to add some more measures to your dissertation, if someone is suggesting that you streamline your study to make it easier to finish and analyze, that is good advice to listen to!

The-sharks-in-Finding-Nemo4)      Watch out for the sharks. Marlin encounters 3 sharks, one of whom eventually tries to eat Marlin and Dory. You may encounter different sharks along your dissertation journey. For example, a professor who is really difficult to work with could be a shark if you pick him to serve on your committee. If you do end up with a shark on your committee, don’t bleed like Dory! Do your homework, prepare for what kind of questions he might ask, and don’t give him any reason to eat you.

5)      Just keep swimming. Of course, the final, and most important lesson, from Finding Nemo is just keep swimming. When you find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of work you have in front of you, keep slowly chugging away. Work for small amounts of time, even just 10 minutes a day, to keep your momentum. If you keep swimming, you might be able to build some momentum and work for longer bits of time. However, if you stop swimming, it might be harder to restart. Swimming every day is the best path to finishing the dissertation!

Just Keep SwimmingThe dissertation is a long journey, so best of luck while you dissertate, and when all else fails, stay calm and just swim on!

Looking for funding? APAGS can help!

Posted in Graduate School

APAGS has the following funding opportunities available for members. Apply today! The deadline for these grants is May 6th, 2015 at 11:59PM (ET). Don’t miss out!

Visit the APAGS Scholarships and Grants page for more information on eligibility and how to apply. Good luck!