Learning the Ropes: Attending Convention for the First Time as a Graduate Student

Posted in Advice, Graduate School

APA Convention can be overwhelming with tens of thousands of psychologists and graduate students descending on a new city with the purpose of staying current with our work and networking! These tips will help you to plan for convention, survive (and thrive!) while attending, and debrief afterwards.

Before Convention:

  • Now is the time to register!
  • Find some other grad students to room with to save a few bucks!
  • Also, keep an eye out for any airfare specials if you will be flying to Denver.
  • Once the conference program is out, start to plan your days at Convention.
    • Start with APAGS program; it’s specifically geared towards the needs of graduate students
    • Use keywords to search the electronic program and find sessions that you’re interested in attending.
    • Plan to attend talks on your research interests, but also step outside of your comfort zone and go to a talk on a topic that you may not be exposed to in your own program.

During Convention:

  • Network! Find other psychologists and graduate students who are doing work that you are interested in. Bring business cards so that you can exchange them and keep in touch after the conference.
  • Attend APAGS events to specifically network with other graduate students.
    • The APAGS Social is always a hit! Don’t miss out!
    • APAGS also provides free food at the Food for Thought Breakfasts each morning. What a great reason to wake up early, right? This is also a great time to hear talks by amazing psychologists. Be sure to check the program for the line up!
  • Attend talks that align with your research or clinical interests, but also attend something that is new to you.
  • Get out and see Denver! As a graduate student, how often do you really get to travel? Take advantage of the opportunity to explore this cool city a bit.

After Convention:

  • Relax! You might need to take a day or two to recharge. Convention can be both exhilarating and exhausting.
  • Follow up via email or maybe even social media with the people that you met at convention.
  • Start thinking about Convention 2017! Do you want to present your work? Do you want to be an APAGS Ambassador or maybe even apply to be a member of the APAGS Convention Subcommittee?

ASPPB response to APAGS Thoughts on EPPP Step 2

Posted in Graduate School

I have received a response to the previous post about the EPPP Step 2. With permission, I am sharing here. I welcome your thoughts and comments below or you can email me directly at. Please title the email: EPPP-2 Blog.

Thanks,
Christine


 

Dear Dr. Jehu:

ASPPB appreciates the time and effort you took to communicate APAGS’ thoughts about the development of the EPPP Step 2.  We would like to respond to your comments in an effort to continue the dialog with APAGS about the EPPP Step 2.  We hope you will share this response with the APAGS membership and other colleagues as you see fit.

ASPPB’s mission is to enhance and support our member jurisdictions (that is the psychology licensing boards in the US and Canada) in fulfilling their goal of public protection.  We believe that the development of the EPPP Step 2 is a necessary and critical step in serving that mission and will prove to be a very helpful tool in protecting the public and in advancing our profession.  As the APA Board of Education Affairs recently stated,

“Embarking on this important initiative not only reflects recommended practices but also helps to enhance the profession of psychology and advances the trust society places in the profession.”

In your statement, you commented,

This exam may feel like a massive surprise to students and Early Career Psychologists. Unbeknownst to many of us, our field has been moving toward competency assessment since the Competencies Conference in 2002 and subsequent publications highlighting the importance and value in competency assessments (e.g. Rodolfa, Bent, Eisman, Nelson, Rehm, & Ritchie, 2005). During the 2013 updates to the APA Commission on Accreditation’s Guidelines and Principles, the APAGS Committee provided a comment that supported the development of competencies based assessment, but had concerns about cost, the process of assessing competencies, and the fair implementation of a new exam to psychology license applicants.

We appreciate that you have provided a context to the EPPP Step 2, by discussing the competency movement in psychology.  As ASPPB has discussed the EPPP Step 2, we have tried to state that this examination was not developed in a vacuum, but rather it is another step in this competency movement in psychology.  As most know, the competency movement in psychology is well documented in the education and training literature.  For those unfamiliar with the movement, we have a brief overview of the competency movement and how it relates to the EPPP Step 2 on our website.

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Preparing for Internship at Convention

Posted in Graduate School

APA 2016 bannerFirst, the GOOD NEWS! The 2016 APPIC Match statistics continue to demonstrate improvement in the Match rate for internship applicants.  Logically, the improved numbers would abate much of the nervousness about tackling the internship process.

However, for graduate students like me who fit the mold of the perfectionistic-overachieving-anxious student, logic can do little to diffuse internship worry.  The wake of the 2012 Match rate still haunts many of our programs and, thus, pushes us to be ever more competitive for the internship process.

As a recent survivor of the Match, the fears still resonate.  However, I am able to recognize that my success in matching (along with nearly 90% of all internship applicants) was not a fluke.  [In my mind, the fluke is that the Match rate is not flirting with 100%, but we are inching closer!]  Moreover, internship applicants have several resources to help them prepare for this arduous process, particularly at APA Convention.

For 2017 applicants (or the Type-A 2018, 2019, or 2020 applicants), APAGS provides an Internship Track at Convention, which consists of three key sessions to help you understand the internship application process and talk with the key players in the game. As a veteran of these sessions, I would highly recommend them.  As a self-proclaimed perfectionistic-overachieving-anxious graduate student, I found significant value in attending these sessions in both Washington DC (2014) and Toronto (2015).

Internships in Psychology WorkbookThe Internship Workshop is a two-hour session geared towards working through the Internships in Psychology workbook. You will receive expert advice and suggestions on how to sell yourself in your application documents, and some mysteries of the ranking and Match process will be unfolded.  You can also expect to learn more about the vague and elusive concept of fit.  What is fit? How do I find fit? Can you help me find fit?  Do I really need fit?

(As a personal testimony to fit, I noticed that the internship sites that did not offer an interview had two key similarities. Either a) I was only semi-excited about their program, or b) I had added them to my final list to simply boost my number of applications!  They could tell that the fit was missing. I was not truly excited about their sites. They were my safety nets.)

The Internship Track also offers sessions that serve as informal spaces to talk with Internship Training Directors and the APPIC Chair.  At the Internship Meet and Greet, you have the opportunity to meet with Training Directors from myriad sites to learn about their sites, ask questions about the process, or just sit back and listen!  During the Conversation Hour with the APPIC Chair, you can learn more about the big picture of the internship process and ask questions about APPIC accreditation, APA accreditation, rankings, and the Match (and hopefully through the process experience some diminished anxiety and increased calm about this phase in your training).

As you prepare for Convention 2016 and your upcoming application process, I wish all 2017 internship applicants an application process filled with self-confidence, support, and self-care.  I hope to see you all in Denver!

Editor’s Note: Other APAGS Programming Tracks include: Diversity, Professional Development, and Science. Check out all APAGS Programming and social events.

APAGS Convention Tracks – Diversity

Posted in APA, Graduate School

APA 2016 bannerThis year, the APAGS Convention Committee has put graduate student programming at Convention into tracks: Diversity, Professional Development, Science, and Internship. We’ve done so with an eye for how certain programs and talks might go together, so that students can set their goals for convention (e.g., get the skinny on how to research efficiently) and feel assured that they hit all the talks.

Get more information on the Professional Development track or the Science track.

My self-care activity throughout grad school has been hiking. For that reason, my mind is making connections between our APAGS tracks and hiking routes. Imagine each track as a particular hiking path. Sometimes they intersect with other paths, and sometimes you can hop between paths based on your needs. In fact, the hiking analogy can be extended further! Hydrate during convention, pack good footwear (lots of walking), and tie up your food at night so that grizzly bears hungry grad students cranky advisers student loan collectors don’t get into it.

Third track: Diversity

Length: Really, this path is (and should be) never-ending. Think of the sessions below as highlights along the way.                                                                           Preparation: Peruse APAGS Guide for LGBT Grad Students, read through the Living at the Intersection posts to get yourself thinking.

  1. Conducting Research within a Social Justice Framework: From Research Question to Publication (also in Science)
  2. Conducting Research on Marginalized Identities: When Research is “Me-Search” (also in Science)
  3. Syrian Refugee Crisis: Psychologists’ Responsibility for Human Rights and Mental Health
  4. Connecting with Our Queerness: Being an LGBTQ(A) Psychologist (also in Professional Development)
  5. Two P’s in a Pod: Balancing Parenthood with Psychology Training and Careers (also in Professional Development)
  6. Exploring the Intersectionalities of Advisor-Advisee Relationships in Psychology Doctoral Programs (also in Professional Development)

Happy trails!

Editor’s Note: Each day this week we will highlight a different APAGS Program Track. Find out which track is right for you! Also, check out the full schedule of APAGS programming.

APAGS Convention Tracks – Science

Posted in APA, Graduate School, Research

APA 2016 bannerThis year, the APAGS Convention Committee has put graduate student programming at Convention into tracks: Diversity, Professional Development, Science, and Internship. We’ve done so with an eye for how certain programs and talks might go together, so that students can set their goals for convention (e.g., get the skinny on how to research efficiently) and feel assured that they hit all the talks.

Check out my previous post that highlights the Professional Development track.

My self-care activity throughout grad school has been hiking. For that reason, my mind is making connections between our APAGS tracks and hiking routes. Imagine each track as a particular hiking path. Sometimes they intersect with other paths, and sometimes you can hop between paths based on your needs. In fact, the hiking analogy can be extended further! Hydrate during convention, pack good footwear (lots of walking), and tie up your food at night so that grizzly bears hungry grad students cranky advisers don’t get into it.

Second track: Science

Length: Straight shot to some sweet pubs and science-nerdiness                            Preparation: Read up on internships leading to unexpected career paths, and how to dive into research 

  1. Alternative Career Paths with a Doctorate in Psychology (also in Professional Development)
  2. Conducting Research within a Social Justice Framework: From Research Question to Publication (also in Diversity)
  3. Networking with a Purpose: Making a Plan, Building Relationships, and Maintaining Connections (also in Professional Development)
  4. Late Breaking Poster Session
  5. Conducting Research on Marginalized Identities: When Research is “Me-Search” (also in Diversity)
  6. Reviewing for a Journal as Graduate Students: The Whys and Hows
  7. Individual Development Plans for Students and Postdocs (also in Professional Development)

Happy trails!

Editor’s Note: Each day this week we will highlight a different APAGS Program Track. Find out which track is right for you! Also, check out the full schedule of APAGS programming.