Psych The Vote! Final Chance to Meet Blaire and Justin before Voting Begins

psychthevoteWe’re once again Psyching the Vote for APAGS Chair-Elect! During the month of April, APAGS members can submit an elections ballot for elections for APAGS Chair-Elect and four members at large (link contains position descriptions and official bios). Members will get an email with voting instructions tomorrow, April 1. This post is the final in our series in which candidates voluntarily answer our questions in 200 words or less, to give voters some insight into what they will bring to their prospective positions. We’ve heard already from Blaire and Justin last week when they spoke about the relevance of leadership and advocacy competencies.

Here we go with our final question for APAGS Chair-Elect: 

What is it about psychology or about fellow graduate students that will keep you shuffling back and forth to DC dozens of times during your 3+ years in office for APAGS? What is it about YOU that makes you believe you can sustain your energy and focus for that long?

Justin Karr responds: 


I was initially attracted to the discipline of psychology due to its focus on improving people’s lives through both translatable research and direct clinical work. In this same light, I came to APAGS with the interest of serving students. My advocacy to date has focused on providing a voice to students, and reducing the burdens that we face during our training and early careers. I personally know the disappointment of not matching to an internship, and I have felt the burden of debt and the constant stress of financial insecurity. These issues are not individual to me, and they require passionate advocacy. My own experiences, and the stories of my peers, motivate me to advocate to the highest powers for improved educational standards, greater training opportunities, and increased graduate funding. These goals do not only serve to help students, but they also serve to help the public. The world needs well-trained psychologists, free of undue burdens that interfere with their training and meaningful work. I will work every day of my tenure as the APAGS Chair-elect to reduce barriers, support educational quality, and ensure that every psychology student has access to the highest quality of graduate education.

Blaire Schembari responds:


At my first APAGS leadership meeting, I felt a rush of excitement. Over three days of back-to-back meetings, I participated in discussions, brainstorming sessions, and working groups focused on addressing critical graduate student issues. After the final meeting, I expected to be worn out; however, I was inspired and ready to lead. My energy was maintained because I deeply connect with the leadership and advocacy I am a part of with APAGS.

Advocating for my fellow psychology graduate students’ interests and making a difference in their lives and future careers will motivate me to travel during my time in office.

Additionally, I will sustain my energy and focus during my travel, as I have already had practice. My now partner and I were in a long-distance relationship for my first three years of graduate school. I traveled from D.C. to California every month, maintaining my graduate studies and other responsibilities. At times, traveling was difficult; however, I had something, in this case someone, I was passionate about, which fueled my motivation. Giving a voice to my peers is what I am passionate about. I am confident my fervor for leadership and advocacy will keep me energized and focused to travel.


That’s a wrap! Tomorrow, you as an APAGS member will receive your ballot! Check the inbox and spam folder of the email account you have on file with APA. If you don’t receive a ballot, try entering your last name and membership number here or request a new ballot from Garnett Coad in our Elections Office. — APAGS Staff.