Enough is enough

Posted in Uncategorized
Justice for Mike Brown Anti-Police Brutality Silent Protest in front of the White House on Saturday, August 16. (Source: Elvert Barnes on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

Justice for Mike Brown: Anti-Police Brutality Silent Protest, in front of the White House on Saturday, August 16. (Source: Elvert Barnes on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

I am 17 years old and I know that I have a bright future ahead of me. The only thing I don’t know is if it’ll be taken away from me by authority figures such as the police.

Oscar Grant was in the midst of changing his life around but the new future he had was stripped by BART police.

Eric Garner was a loving dad who lost his life in a chokehold performed by a group of NYPD officers.

Ezell Ford had a promising future but was shot down by LAPD officers.

We all know about Rodney King and his beating.

Michael Brown would have been educating himself at college this week but he didn’t get to take a single class.

At some point our nation needs to really think about the bigger picture at hand. The race issue is indeed an issue but the bigger issue is not white against black; the bigger issue is right against wrong. I feel that the world that we live in is very wicked if we cannot feel protected by those who are supposed to “serve and protect us.” How many more people have to be killed for us to see that injustice exists? How many tears have to be shed for us to see that something is wrong?

 How many more people have to be killed for us to see that injustice exists?

Beautiful lives have been taken away by ugly spirits and to add insult to injury, little consequences have been ordered for those responsible. In fact, officers receive administrative leave for killing innocent souls. That’s the scariest thing to me.

But we must not act out of emotion — that’s exactly when we see our opinions ignored. It seems to me that the only way to get something changed in America is through litigation. We must come up with laws that allow us to hold the murderers of innocent lives accountable.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words ring deeply true to me: “Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.”

We have been asking for justice since 1619 when slavery came to America.  All I’m asking for is peace and harmony for ethnic minorities.

Editor’s note: Damani Jasper’s opinion piece is a powerful example of how young men of color are affected by Michael Brown’s shooting. APAGS readers might find these links helpful:

APAGS High School Fellow Damani Jasper outside of a Senate hearing on student debt. Damani aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon. He completed a fellowship at APA and previously blogged about student debt.


How to Ace Your Internship Essays

Posted in Graduate School, Training Issues

If you are a clinical, counseling, or school psychology doc student and you’re at bat for the internship application process this fall, you naturally want to knock your AAPIC essays out of the park. Great — we’re here to help!

Set aside 25 minutes and watch this narrated friendly-professor webisode from Dr. Mitch Prinstein, co-author of the APAGS internship workbook Internships in Psychology Hot on the heels of our annual Internship Workshop at APA Convention, this video will walk you through the DO’s and DON’Ts for each of your four essays.

Also, be sure to see #internship on this blog for more videos, articles, and other resources.

Dear me, future psychologist. Yours truly, Dr. Robert Sternberg

Posted in Advice, Graduate School, Humor

If I knew then what I know now… If I could do it again… If I could go back in time…

We’ve all had these thoughts: What we’d do differently if given the opportunity. Would we have spent our time the same way? Would we have entered/ended that relationship? Would we have studied psychology? Would we have gone to graduate school?

If you could send a letter to your 16-year-old self, what would you say? What advice would you give yourself to prepare for the future? To my fellow nerds out there: Yes, we’re talking about parallel universes and warping the space-time continuum.

Dear me, future psychologist is a new feature exclusively on our blog. We will periodically publish a letter written by a prominent psychologist to his/her 16-year-old self. We hope you enjoy these letters and glean some invaluable wisdom and guidance as you decide whether to enter graduate school in psychology, as you navigate the challenges of graduate school, and as you make decisions about your career and life.

sternbergOur first letter is from Robert J. Sternberg, PhD. Dr. Sternberg received his PhD from Stanford University in 1975 and spent most of his career as a Professor at Yale University. More recently, he served as a Dean at Tufts University, Provost at Oklahoma State University, and President at the University of Wyoming. He also is a Past President of the American Psychological Association. He is currently Professor of Human Development at Cornell University. He is best known for his research on intelligence, creativity, wisdom, thinking styles, leadership, ethics, love, and hate. He is the founder of the triarchic theory of intelligence and the triangular theory of love, as well as co-creator of the investment theory of creativity. For more info, please visit Dr. Sternberg’s Wikipedia page.



Dear Me at 16,

I am not sure whether you will receive this letter, at least in a timely fashion, but I thought I would give it a try anyway. Here are three pieces of advice I hope you will find useful, ideally, sooner rather than later.

1. You will underestimate the importance of family and friends. You soon will come to believe that, through your work, you can achieve immortality, and that the shot at immortality is the meaning of your life.  Wrong.  First, very few psychologists achieve immortality through their work—perhaps Freud, James, Skinner, Piaget, and a few more.  But most psychologists are forgotten quickly starting with the day they announce their plans to retire. You will watch many of your famous Yale colleagues retire and see that what is left to them is not their work, which is quickly forgotten, or even their friends from work, most of whom are busy advancing their careers.  Rather, what remains is their family and true friends, if they have any.  You will discover that your meaning in life is making the world a better place, and that the main way you will do that is through your family, especially your five beautiful children and their children and onward through the generations.

2. You will overestimate people’s willingness to change.  You will enter a field, intelligence research, in which many people believe that traits are relatively fixed.  You will argue, correctly, that people are far more modifiable than many intelligence theorists give them credit for.  But what you will not realize until much later is that the main problem is not people’s inability to change, but rather, their unwillingness to do so.  People, including you, will make all kinds of excuses to stay just as they are.  They cling to their weaknesses, often inventing stories to justify doing so, and for them, their stories are their reality.  Institutions are the same way:  Mediocre ones desperately cling to their mediocrity, often inventing stories about their unappreciated excellence, and excellent ones cling to what they have done before in the hope that what once made them great will continue to do so, despite the rapid pace of change in the world.  Creativity often is appreciated in word, but not in deed.  The problem for psychologists is not so much increasing people’s ability to change as increasing their willingness and courage to do so.

3. Intelligence is not the invaluable commodity you think it is.  You, like most of our society, believe in the great importance of intelligence, although at least you realize it is much broader than just IQ.  But what most is lacking in the world is not intelligence, but rather, creativity, common sense, wisdom, and high ethical standards.  So please, do your work on intelligence, but remember that what the world needs most are motivated, creative, wise, and ethical people, not just smart ones.

Hoping you get this letter soon,

Me at 64

Editor’s Note: Dear Me, Future Psychologist is inspired by the Dear Me book series by Joseph Galliano. Special thanks to David A. Meyerson, Ph.D. for curating these.

Dressed by Jess: What to Wear and Not Wear at APA Convention

Posted in Advice

It’s about that time of year when thousands of psychologists and trainees come together to attend APA Convention. This is always an exciting time, especially for graduate students, as people get to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones, and attend several incredible workshops and poster sessions.

With all this excitement also come thoughts of, “What am I going to wear?!?” Here are three rules to follow when dressing for convention:

  1. This is a professional conference! It’s important to think about how you present yourself when attending sessions, presenting your poster, or listening to Jane Pauley during the opening session. You don’t have to be in a suit everyday, but sticking with key pieces that you feel confident in can make you shine—and people will notice. Always make sure to add your own flare to your outfit.
  2. You will be walking A LOT! Comfort for your feet is key. Ladies, flats can work with everything and are very trendy right now. Kitten heels are always very cute, and my staple. I don’t recommend 5-inch heels, as you will be walking everywhere, not only in the Convention Center, but to sessions/socials/events in the neighboring hotels.  Gentleman, this is easy: Just don’t show up to present your poster in flip-flops or sneakers. Remember, you are presenting not only your research, but also yourself.
  3. Business professional doesn’t always have to be boring! Fashion is fun, and if it’s not, it should be. Here are a few ideas for what I think are very trendy choices, yet still professional. Ladies, dresses are a girl’s best friend. Easy to pack, and wear.  This dress is sleek, flattering and professional; more affordable options and colors abound. Throw a simple cardigan over it to keep you warm in the very air-conditioned Convention Center. If dresses aren’t your fancy, think about a pencil skirt, blouse and cardigan. Guys, keep it simple and classy. Trousers, a button-up shirt and nice loafers are always the easiest. You can even complement that simple attire with one nice blazer to pair with different separates.

Just remember, this is a professional conference and not just another classroom. If you look like you just strolled out of bed, some people may not take an interest and pass you by as you stand next to your poster all by your lonesome. It’s all about having fun and enjoying everything that APA Convention has to offer.

I hope to see some fashion-forward attire during Convention. Don’t forget to stop by the APAGS booth for some awesome swag and for a list of all APAGS programs. Have fun, network and don’t be afraid to show your best self!

Building collaborations in graduate school

Posted in Advice, Graduate School

MP910216391[1]One of the easiest ways to increase your productivity in graduate school is to collaborate. By collaborating, you can maintain a pipeline of papers. But as a graduate student, it may be hard to know who to approach for collaborations and how to approach them. You also have to be cautious about keeping your mentor in the loop and happy.

The possibilities on who to collaborate with are endless!

  • You can reach out to people you have worked with in the past (e.g., people you have worked with as an undergraduate or people for whom you were a research coordinator). You can ask them to add a variable to one of their protocols (as long as it doesn’t create too much additional work for them).
  • Alternatively, you can tell them that you wish to increase your productivity and ask them if there’s anything you can help them out with.
  • I have also sent emails to people I have met at conferences, and they have been very receptive to collaboration. On one of these occasions, I mentioned something that they talked about at the conference and told them that I would really like to be involved with it.
  • Other times, I have told these contacts that I am really interested in their research and that I would like to be involved with it in any way that I could.

In my experience it has been important to keep my mentor aware of any collaborations. You do not want your mentor finding out about the side projects you have been working on through other sources. Most mentors will be fine with collaborations as long as they don’t cause you to slack off on your graduate school duties and on the work you have been doing with your mentor.

In what ways have you struck up a collaboration? Please share your ideas.

Editor’s note: This post was written by Sophia Fitzgerald, a student in a clinical psychology PhD program. Follow her blog at http://clinicalpsychphd.wordpress.com.