Tag Archives: elections

Psych The Vote! Meet 2 Candidates for APAGS Member-at-Large, Practice

psychthevoteWe’re Psyching the Vote for APAGS Member-at-Large, Practice Focus! 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 on April 1. This post is the second in a series of six between now and March 31 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.

Our question for APAGS Member-at-Large, Practice Focus: 

Right now, APAGS is focused on ending the internship crisis for health service psychology students. What questions or concerns related to psychological practice would you have the committee focus on so that we’re prepared to meet the demands of the field for future generations of trainees?

Stephen Lupe responds: 

lupeCurrently, the field of health service psychology is in a state of transition.  It is expanding in to new and exciting areas such as integrated care.  It is imperative we as an organization plan for this transition.  It should be a priority we develop more training opportunities with a focus on interprofessional collaboration.  The future of psychological practice is going to rely on psychologists’ ability to work collaboratively with professionals from other disciplines.  I will lobby for more grant opportunities for site development.  In addition, it is time we as an organization empower graduate students to advocate for themselves in the areas of expanding practice.  We need to shed many of the past ideas of what practicing psychologist do and empower students to use their skills in new and exciting ways.   APA/APAGS should continue to develop initiatives to expand practice and support the efforts of the next generation of psychologists.  I will push for APA/APAGS to continue to explore emerging areas of practice, develop initiatives to highlight the need for interprofessional collaboration, and develop training opportunities and support funding for these opportunities.

Jerrold Yeo responds:

yeoA couple of questions always on the mind of every health service psychology student: “Will I match?”, “Can I afford it?”. The state of the internship crisis has been improving over the years, but statistics may not mean so much when we are the ones who do not match. As someone who has been unsuccessful in the application process this past year, it has been particularly salient to me. Some of the things we should focus on for students would be ending the internship crisis AND ensuring internships provide affordable stipends. It pains me whenever I see training sites in very expensive locations offering stipends under $25k, which is not affordable for the debt-ridden student. This can be exponentially more difficult for students who are less financially well-off, having to take out substantially more loans to train at an expensive city, or internationally (Canada). I also think that students in health service psychology should have sufficient access to training in integrative healthcare, as collaboration and consultation with healthcare professions are an essential part of today’s practice. Another area to address would be cross-border access (Canada) to internship positions, and the logistics involved in applying for and matching across the countries.


Be on the look out tomorrow for our next post in this series and be sure to vote when you receive your APAGS electronic ballot on April 1! — APAGS Staff.

Psych The Vote! Meet 2 Candidates for APAGS Chair-Elect

psychthevoteWe’re 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 on April 1. This post is the first in a series of six between now and March 31 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.

Our first question for APAGS Chair-Elect: 

 What competencies should be expected of all psychology graduate students in the areas of leadership and advocacy, if any, by the time they graduate? Why?

Justin Karr responds: 

Justin_Karr_headshot_2015The collective voice of psychologists has never been more important, considering healthcare reform, cuts to behavioral science funding, and the international need for evidence-based mental healthcare services. With these issues ongoing, I feel that all psychology students deserve training in advocacy, helping them build competency on how to enact change at local, state, and national levels. Only then can we advocate together in a way that strengthens our profession, serves the public, and ensures social justice. Psychologists are well-equipped to make meaningful change in the world, but we can only actualize that change with effective leadership. While all students have a role in advocacy, not all students will choose to serve in positions of leadership; however, all students deserve an equal opportunity to pursue leadership training. A culture of leadership has been growing within psychology, as psychologists today lead integrated healthcare teams, head academic institutions, and even serve in Congress. APAGS aims to strengthen this culture of leadership; and as your APAGS Chair-elect, I will advocate for the funding and development of more student leadership training opportunities, ensuring future generations of psychologists are well-prepared to serve as leaders within both our field and the many settings in which they serve.

Blaire Schembari responds:

schembariThe development of leadership and advocacy competencies among graduate students is often ignored. Graduate programs should emphasize the cultivation of these skills. Leadership and advocacy abilities enable students to contribute to the field of psychology and enhance their individual careers, as these roles are a part of many psychology career paths (i.e., therapists advocate for their patients, researchers lead projects and utilize results to advocate for sameness or change, teachers lead and advocate for their students).

There are several competencies I believe psychology graduate students should develop. First, an open-mind is critical to being an effective leader and advocate. Change is more likely to occur if you’re willing to listen to others and make them feel heard, even if they challenge your beliefs. Effective communication is foundational. This includes actively listening and providing constructive feedback to others’. A successful leader and advocate also has the courage to challenge the rules when they are more harmful than helpful. Moreover, being passionate and dedicated to your team and work ensures during difficult times you remain focused. Finally, knowing your limits, setting boundaries, knowing when to delegate, ask for help, and practice self-care are vital to the longevity of a leader and advocate.


Be on the look out tomorrow for our next post in this series and be sure to vote when you receive your APAGS electronic ballot on April 1! — APAGS Staff.

APAGS Dedicates Pages to Institutional Transparency

Transparency in government—in ensuring accountability, reducing barriers for involvement, and building institutional confidence—is perhaps one of the greatest assets a representative body can provide to its constituents. It can help ensure the dissemination of information, the empowerment of individuals to partake in their governing, and promote societal progress.

Volumes have been written on its importance, and many organizations espouse it as a tenet, including our federal government.  And yet, secrecy seems to be an insidious and ever-present danger in most all institutional settings, and examples of misuses of institutional secrecy abound (see Maret & Goldman’s 2011 Government Secrecy for a good review).

The extent to which transparency must be balanced with other elements of good governance—such as privacy, efficiency, and power—remains fervently contested. And yet, it is my belief that transparency is essential to both APA’s and APAGS’s missions.  APA’s mission, which emphasizes the broad dissemination and application of psychological principles and practices, mandates transparency to ensure that psychology is seen as a public science rather than a private interest.  APAGS’s mission, which emphasizes serving as a united voice to advocate for graduate student development, necessitates transparency in order to see itself as an inclusive enterprise.

Members of the APAGS staff and committee are working hard to improve transparency in our procedures.  As one step toward that aim, we are very eager to make our operations documents available online. There, you will find:

  • foundational aspects of our constitution and bylaws;
  • the proceedings of our meetings;
  • the ways we have spoken on behalf of graduate students through position statements;
  • our reports to other governing bodies; and
  • information outlining committee appointment and election procedures.

getinvolvedIt is indeed up to both our organization and to us, as members, to participate actively to promote institutional change. I strongly encourage you to peruse the documents listed on the page as a first step. If, in reading these sources, you’d like to get more involved in APAGS to ensure its success at all levels, please consider running for an elected position or subcommittee chair, applying to be a subcommittee member, serving as an APAGS Ambassador at Convention, writing a blog post, or joining the group I chair—the Advocacy Coordinating Team—as a Campus Representative.
We look forward to hearing your voice.

Meet the Candidates! APAGS Chair-Elect

300VoteDid you know that the voting period for APAGS elections is the entire month of April? This blog post is the third in a series in which  candidates answer questions posed by the current committee. Today, you’ll get a chance to hear from the two candidates for APAGS Chair-Elect: Ian Gutierrez and Michael Williams.  APAGS members will be provided with voting instructions in the beginning of April and will have the chance to vote for this position, as well as Member-at-Large, Education Focus and Member-at-Large, Communications Focus.


Question: If you weren’t studying psychology, what other career would you pursue and why? 

Ian Gutierrez – Truthfully, psychology is that “other career” that I ultimately chose to pursue. My teenage dream was to become a record producer! Before graduate school, I worked as a follow-spot operator on Broadway musicals, including Spring Awakening and Gypsy, and I also worked as an audio technician on a few productions of Menopause the Musical (…honest truth, can’t make this up). While I enjoyed working in the entertainment business, I decided that I could more directly impact people’s lives for the better in another line of work. Psychology fit that bill perfectly, and I have never looked back since making that career transition. If I were not studying psychology, I would likely work in public policy. The impact that state and federal law has on public well-being, mental health, and psychological science is enormous. It is critical that mental health professionals and scientists remain engaged in the political arena.

Michael Williams – This question is challenging given that I have wanted to be a psychologist since elementary school. However, pursuit of an academic research career in neuroscience would be a strong alternate to my current career path in clinical psychology for many reasons. This field offers me the opportunity to continue engagement in research regarding brain injury and recovery. In addition, I could continue my other pursuits, including teaching, providing mentorship to undergraduate and graduate students, and engaging in community leadership. Neuroscience was my minor during undergraduate studies. I was fortunate to get undergraduate research training at Morehouse School of Medicine Neuroscience Institute in Dr. Byron Ford’s lab. This lab experience was amazing. I learned about rat models of neuroprotection and recovery for brain damage secondary to organophosphate poisoning and ischemic stroke. A career in neuroscience would nurture my passion for research of brain injury and my desire for an academic career.


Question: APAGS is doing a lot regarding the internship crisis, and plans to continue doing so. What do you think is another major issue affecting graduate students, and how do you hope to address the issue if elected as Chair? (150 word maximum)

Ian Gutierrez – The student debt crisis threatens the future of professional psychology. Educational debt in the United States exceeds one trillion dollars, creating long-term financial hardships that many of us know all too well. At the same time, graduate school is becoming increasingly expensive. Even those of us who are employed to teach or conduct research struggle to make ends meet on limited incomes. Meager incomes and heavy debts make it nearly impossible for many of us to start families, access quality healthcare, or save for the future. As APAGS Chair, I will advocate for APA program accreditation standards that account for and limit rising graduate program costs. I will also push for the establishment of APA/APAGS-supported loan assistance programs to help students pay down debts while they are still in graduate school. To learn more about my APAGS initiatives, please visit my website or email me. Thank you!

Michael Williams – Funding for graduate students in psychology is a major issue. APAGS has a done a great job examining debt load, job trends, and starting salaries. The median debt load for PsyD graduates is $120,000. It is $80,000 for PhD health service professions and $32,000 for research PhDs. Student debt has raised over time. Academia is a primary employment setting, but the full-time tenure track academic positions are declining. With the delayed entry into the workforce, debt becomes a major burden to many graduates. As Chair, I would work with APAGS to explore innovative ways to develop and identify new funding sources. I would consider ways to incentivize applying for grants and other funding mechanisms. I would collaborate with different students organizations to promote the many resources compiled by APAGS, including grants and fellowships. In addition, I hope to empower students with tools to get involved with advocacy for funding opportunities.



Learn more about all candidates and be sure to vote in the upcoming APAGS election! If you are a current APAGS member with a valid email address on file, you’ll get your email ballot on April 1. If you do not receive one, please check your email spam filters and junk box. If you still do not see one, please contact Garnett Coad, the APA Director of Elections.

Meet the Candidates! Member-at-Large, Communications Focus

300VoteAre you voting for APAGS officers? This blog post is the second in a series of posts where candidates for open positions will answer questions to give voters some insight into what they will bring to the position for which they are running. Today, we’re meeting candidates for Member-at-Large, Communications Focus.

The voting period for APAGS elections will be the entire month of April. APAGS members will be provided with voting instructions in the beginning of April and will have the chance to vote for the following positions:

  • APAGS Chair-Elect
  • APAGS Member-at-Large, Education Focus
  • APAGS Member-at-Large, Communications Focus

Member-at-Large, Communications Focus

Question: If you weren’t studying psychology, what other career would you pursue and why? 

Chris DeCou – I would still be employed as a police officer, which is the career I left to pursue graduate training. Law enforcement offered me an opportunity to serve the community and address hazardous situations directly. As a police officer my focus centered on limiting the gap between the public and the police. If I were not studying psychology I would be actively involved in community policing initiatives that focused on promoting direct communication between officers and community members, and emphasized elimination of longstanding barriers to community trust and collaboration, as law enforcement still emphasizes arrest and detention as simple solutions to complex problems. Further, I would continue growing the paradigm of policing to center on restorative justice, evidence-driven policy, and genuine collaboration between law enforcement and affected stakeholders. These goals remain with me as a graduate student, and continue to influence my research with incarcerated populations and survivors of violence.

Yolanda Perkins-Volk – I recently had this conversation with my 3 year-old son, and he giggled when I told him I would be a firefighter. It is a career path I have a lot of respect for. During my time in the US Army, I learned that I can push myself physically and mentally farther than I had ever previously thought, and studying fire science and putting it to use seems like an exciting way to exercise both my mind and my body. I have to share, my heart was full when my son shared that he too has interest in being a firefighter!

David Zelaya – When I was applying to graduate programs, I was torn between pursuing psychology and student affairs. Specifically, I wanted to focus on retention and leadership development of first generation college students. Being a first generation college student myself, I can attest to the impact higher education administration had during and after my undergraduate studies. Many of the mentors I had were influential in helping me develop a foundation as a leader and hone in on my personal leadership style and skills. In addition to being drawn to higher education, I was also attracted to student affairs due to the emphasis that it places on mentorship and connecting with young adults at such a critical age. Yet, I found that I could also enact change and influence others through various careers within the field of psychology; whether it be through pursuing an academic career or college counseling.

Question: A challenge for this Member at Large is to promote collaboration and conversation between very busy people. What would you suggest to improve APAGS’s current communication practices?  (150 word maximum)

Chris DeCou – My primary goal as member-at-large would be to expand the geographic diversity of APAGS and APA via focused recruitment efforts at universities without current representation, including universities in rural and frontier states (e.g., Alaska, Idaho, Montana). This type of effort relies heavily on existing communication practices with APAGS, including regular email announcements and quarterly offerings in GradPsych. One way I would expand existing practices to include students from geographically diverse backgrounds would be to develop an effective mechanism for sampling the opinions of student members via survey and focus group methods. This would include brief surveys organized via readily accessible platforms (e.g. social media), and targeted focus groups composed of members from specific subsets of programs represented by APAGS. I have benefited greatly from the use of these methods within my own research projects, and look forward to cultivating effective ways of sampling student members directly to inform APAGS initiatives.

Yolanda Perkins-Volk – Personally, while I enjoy all of the wonderful resources that can be found through APA and APAGS, I think now may be a great time to begin considering more intuitive, real-time communication methods that best utilize current technology, and is accessible through existing platforms and propagated to mobile devices. Perhaps this looks like an app, it may mean creating a space that is new, yet versatile and brings value. No matter the method, the common thread is moving forward in a manner to make technology a tool that we harness to best meet our mission in APAGS!

David Zelaya – As graduate students, we tend to be highly connected to social media; therefore, exploring ways to communicate effectively online would be a starting point. I would suggest that we work on enhancing the Division Student Representative Network by conducting an assessment of what division student leaders still need from APAGS and to explore possible ways to collaborate. In my experience with APAGS-CARED I have found that finding commonalities in projects or goals with other students or divisions fosters collaborative working groups and opens conversations. Therefore, connecting the APAGS full committee to division student leaders will be imperative in enhancing communication practices. Additionally, it is difficult to connect with graduate student leaders if they are unaware of the role of APAGS and the resources available. Developing a marketing plan will raise visibility of the resources APAGS has to offer to support graduate student training. Visit me online for more info.


On Friday, check out our final post in this series to meet the candidates running for Chair-Elect. Also, be sure to vote in the upcoming APAGS election!