Category Archives: APA

Excelling at Extroversion

Extroverts may seemingly enter the networking oasis of APA with an advantage to our introverted counterparts.  Networking can seem effortless when you love to meet new people and thrive in high-energy environments. Presentations and social hours may also cause little to no anxiety.  However, I give a word caution to my fellow extroverts.  Our presumed advantage could betray us if we are not careful to avoid some potential extrovert pitfalls.

  • Yak Yak Yak: We have a lot to say, and we love to say it! As an extrovert, try to be aware of how much space you are taking up in Q & A sessions as well as informal conversation.  Take a break if you realize you’ve been talking a while – also avoid interrupting!  Monopolizing conversation can leave a bad impression on others, particularly introverts!
  • Talk first, think later: In all the excitement to engage in social interaction, extroverts can fall victim to talking first and figuring out why we are talking second…. As a woman accustomed to rambling (as pointed out by my partner, my mother, my advisor, my brothers, to name a few) speaking without a purpose can leave us looking unpolished and scatter-brained. So pull your thoughts together and speak with intention and clarity.
  • YOU’RE GREAT! YOUR RESEARCH IS GREAT! EVERYTHING’S GREAT! Does anyone else regularly find themselves at the highest level of excitement?! Remember that in a professional setting, you may need to reign in overly-raucous laughter and fan-girl displays of excitement better suited for DisneyWorld or Comic-Con.
  • Loud Talker: Related to heightened demonstrations of excitement is the propensity to speak with excessive volume. Apparently, I never internalized my “inside voice” from elementary school and occasionally shout at people in normal conversation.  (True story: My parents thought I had a hearing problem as a child because I spoke so loud.) I recommend asking for feedback from others to see if you may also be afflicted as a loud talker.
  • Extrovert v. Extrovert Challenge: Do not get baited into trying to be life of the party (particularly at social events). Remember, all attention is not good attention, and your inner stand-up comedian may need to take a break while you are engaging in professional networking.
APAGS Poster Session at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto.

Research Posters 101

So you’re presenting a poster at convention – congrats! Now what? If you’re new to research posters here are some handy tips about poster design and printing to get you started:

APAGS Poster Session at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto.

APAGS Poster Session at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto.

Poster Design

Size & Design – The first task will be to figure out how big you want your poster to be and what program you’ll be using to design it. The acceptance letter will tell you the size of board you have to put your poster up on – I would recommend choosing a size that is slightly smaller than this. For example, if the letter states 4ft x 6ft, you might want to print 3ft x 5ft. Poster design websites (e.g., will have downloadable templates in standard sizes that will get you started. If you want to design your poster sans template, people typically use Microsoft Powerpoint and design their poster on a single slide. The important part here is to adjust the size of the slide to the size you want to print (Design > Page Set Up > Custom – this may vary depending on your version of the program).

Keep it simple – The next step is figuring out what to put on your poster. Less is more! Think about your research question and take-home message and design your poster around this. Many people will be passing through quickly and the goal is to present your findings at a glance. I know it’s hard to cut out detail, but remember that you’ll be there to answer any questions about methods, measures and minutiae that come up!

Be creative, but keep it thematic. If you can adapt your findings or present your materials in a visual format – go for it! Just be sure to label everything clearly and include only the information that is crucial to your message. You don’t want the visual elements to distract from or undermine the message.

Poster Printing

After you design your poster, it’s time to get it printed! Many universities and colleges have in-house printing services, and most college towns will have print shops with competitive prices on research posters. There are also several websites that specialize in printing research posters. These have the added bonus that you can have your poster delivered right to your hotel at convention. While I’ve never had issues with this before, I would be wary of this method if I was presenting near the beginning of convention (to give you time to re-order if it didn’t arrive).

Another thing to consider is if you want to print a paper poster, which is traditional, or go with a fabric or digital poster. I haven’t seen many digital posters, but think this option could be beneficial if you want a cheap and interactive display. If you are interested in going digital, first check that it’s an option that will be available to you, and second, make a contingency plan in the case of technical glitches (e.g., have extra printed copies of the poster, have the contact information for A/V support on site, etc.). Fabric posters can be more expensive, but they’ve been coming down in price. These can be great if you’re traveling a long distance and want the convenience of putting your poster in your suitcase or convention bag. With this option, you may need to iron your poster to take out any creases due to the folding.

Other Considerations

Print letter-sized copies of your poster for people to take with them, or at the very least, have a place for people to leave their contact information for you to send digital copies (or have a QR code for people to scan).

Also, think about how you’ll transport your poster to convention. If you’re printing a paper poster, will you need a poster tube? If you’re flying and bringing a tube as a carry-on, consider sharing the tube (and any luggage fees) with a friend. Also, think about the logistics of carrying your poster tube plus whatever else you’re bringing to convention (e.g., briefcase, shoulder bag) to ensure its manageable.

Lastly, posters are one of the areas where academics get to show off their creative side. Have fun with it!


Planes, Trains, and Hotels – Oh My!

Getting to APA Convention in Denver, CO & Where to Stay Once You’ve Arrived


So you’ve decided to attend the 2016 APA Convention in Denver, Colorado – that’s great! The next steps in your journey are deciding how to get to Convention and where to stay once you arrive.

How do I get there?

  • Fly – For those traveling from farther away, flying may be your best option. Denver International Airport (DIA) is the major airport serving Denver. From here you can take a taxi or shuttle, take local transit, or rent a car to get to your accommodations. Use travel search engines, such as or, to compare flight options.
  • Ride a BusGreyhound and other private bus lines travel to Denver and arrive at the Bus Terminal (1055 19th St), which is close to the RTD’s Market Street Station (local transit).
  • Take a Train – Trains will arrive at Denver’s Union Station, where you can get transit schedules, passes and maps. Amtrak has routes that travel to Denver from many locations across the US, but depending on where you’re coming from, these routes can take a significant amount of time – so plan accordingly!
  • Drive – If you opt to drive to Convention, APA members and affiliates have discounted rates with the rental car agencies Alamo, Budget, Avis and Hertz. Plus, carpooling is a great way to save money if you’re traveling in a group. If you do plan to drive, don’t forget to factor in the cost of parking for the duration of your stay.

Where should I stay?

For those of you wishing to stay where the action is – the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center Hotel and the Sheraton Denver are both convention facilities and will be hosting a variety of APA, APAGS and Division events. Keep in mind that these options may be more expensive, so you may wish to find a roommate or two to make the convenience more affordable!

There are many other accommodations within minutes of the Convention Center in downtown Denver. These can be searched using Google Maps. Some of the closest options are:

If you’re looking for lower cost alternatives, you might consider renting a condo with friends instead of staying at a hotel. Some options are AirBnB, Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO), and Vacation Rentals. Again, Google Maps is a good way to figure out if an accommodation is within walking distance (or transiting) distance to the Convention Center.

Check out our post earlier this month A Comprehensive List of Student Travel Awards to Attend APA’s 2016 Convention for more info about potential ways to offset the cost.

Lastly, remember to check the APA website closer to April 15th for more detailed information regarding travel and accommodations.

It’s Time to Tell Congress We Need Fairer Graduate Student Loans

Once the thrill of being accepted into a graduate program wears off, the reality of how to finance graduate school sets in. Right now we have an opportunity to make our voices heard and cut unnecessary costs quite a bit.


What’s the issue? For nearly 50 years, both undergraduate and graduate students were eligible for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Program with the goal of making all levels of post-secondary education accessible to students with financial need. In 2012, however, changes in the Budget Control Act eliminated eligibility for graduate students. In other words, graduate student borrowers could no longer get subsidized loans, like Stafford loans. As a student taking out these loans, your interest is now accruing from day 1.

This change has increased the cost of borrowing significantly and may be putting graduate study out of reach for many students with financial need, especially underrepresented groups. We’ve reported elsewhere on our latest data about psychology graduate student debt. As a result of increased costs, 75% of graduates delay saving for the future, 67% delay saving for retirement, and 57% delay purchasing a home (Stamm et al, 2015). Similarly, graduates may delay starting small businesses like independent practices as a result of their debt burdens. (Additional background is here.)

At the same time, the United States faces numerous health shortages and research voids, and so our choice is often to meet these national needs is to attend graduate school, despite the costs.

What’s our opportunity to act?  In December 2015, Representative Judy Chu, Democrat from the 27th District of California, introduced legislation that would restore the eligibility of graduate students for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Program.

Representative Chu’s legislation would amend the Higher Education Act to restore the eligibility of graduate students to the Subsidized Loan Program, and lessen the significant debt burden that many students incur while pursuing advanced degrees.

APA is calling upon graduate students, educators, psychologists, and supporters to take immediate action.

What can I do? 

  1. Click here to tell Congress to support graduate students by asking your representative to cosponsor H.R. 4223.
  2. Fill out your contact information and our system will generate an email to your Representative today, asking them to cosponsor H.R. 4223, “the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt Act,” (POST GRAD Act).
  3. Add a personal note or story to the letter. If you need to overcome writer’s block, read this veteran’s story about his advocacy for bringing back the subsidy.
  4. When you’re done, post about your advocacy efforts on social media and share the link to this blog post with at least five people.

This legislation is an important step toward ensuring students have access to graduate level study, so take action now! Send a message to your Representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 4223.  

Editor’s note: APAGS is extremely grateful to the Education Advocacy Team at APA for their efforts in getting this bill on Congress’s radar, drafting our support language, and mobilizing people in person and electronically.  Now it’s your turn!


Reasons to Attend Convention 2016 (Denver, CO)

Going to APA Convention is an important graduate school experience (and not just to add another line or two to your CV!).  We all know the drill with presenting our research and beefing up our CVs, but Convention has much more to offer! Here are some of my top reasons to attend Convention.

  1. Permission to Dabble!

Graduate school is an odd combination of being indoctrinated by your advisor and learning to critically evaluate everything you think you know (or are told).  Sometimes our focus becomes pretty limited by our long-days and late-nights working on our own research – for me White racial identity development among academicians in psychology.  Convention provides opportunities to branch out and see what the rest of psychology is up to!  My Convention guilty-pleasures (i.e., not related to my own research) are sessions on mental health disparities, feminist roundtables, and racial injustice advocacy.  I encourage you to find your own guilty-pleasures and indulge!

  1. Networking

An APAGS Member met Dr. Philip Zimbardo at an APAGS Food for Thought Breakfast.

Really, networking could be reasons 1- 5.  Regardless of where you are in your program, networking is crucial. As a second-year doctoral student, I met my future internship training director at Convention. I’m not saying that I matched solely because of this happenstance meeting, but I’m pretty sure I left a favorable impression! Now as I am transitioning to my first job-search as a psychologist, having THOUSANDS of potentials psychologists in one place feels like a dream! I am also always on the lookout for a celebrity psychologist sighting, so that I can have a fan-girl moment…

  1. Any Excuse to Get Out of [INSERT COLLEGE TOWN HERE]

Graduate students who have the luxury of going to school in New York City, Southern California, or Miami may not feel my pain, but I can always use an excuse to get out of Lexington, KY.  While the Horse Capital of the World boasts a cheap cost of living and mild winters, I find myself needing a break from the college town milieu.   Convention is a great way to double dip – professional development and mini-vacation!  Denver has a lot to offer budget-minded graduate students, such as several microbreweries, Colorado Rockies games, and several day-hikes right outside of the city.  Don’t forget to take some time for self-care and enjoy Denver!

  1. Sessions for Students, by Students

Faculty always say that they vividly remember the plight of graduate school… right before they give you a 48-hour deadline of reworking a manuscript and then go home for the evening at 5pm… However, faculty can forget all too soon that graduate students have unique struggles and concerns.  The APAGS Convention Committee provides student-focused programming in response to student feedback and needs.  In Denver, APAGS has prepared programs for stats-phobic students (Stats Phobia: Learn How to Learn Stats [and Work past Beginners Anxiety]), students who moonlight as parents (or maybe the other way around; Two P’s in a Pod: Balancing Parenthood with Psychology Training and Careers), and students from a variety of diverse identities and backgrounds (Connecting with our queerness: Four contemporary takes on being an LGBTQ(A) psychologist & Conducting Research on Marginalized Identities: When Research is “Me-Search”).  For the full APAGS Convention schedule, be on the lookout for the APAGS Convention Booklet that will be released closer to Convention or visit the APAGS Convention website!