Tag Archives: Research

What do you do, in 30 seconds or less? Preparing your ‘Elevator Speech’ for Convention

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

So, you’ve put hundreds of hours into your research – you know the theories inside and out. You can talk about the relationships between your variables. Your methods. Your findings. Your implications. But, can you do it in 30 seconds or less?

Convention necessitates we prepare our ‘elevator speech’ to engage quickly (but meaningfully) with colleagues while we are crunched for time moving from session to session or waiting for a session to start. Maybe you’re looking to solidify your introduction for a seminar or conversation hour you’re leading. This is your opportunity to communicate the importance of your work and how it benefits our field. Think of this as a way for you to provide a clear, brief message on who you are and what interests you.

Here are some quick and easy tips to help you prepare your ‘elevator speech’ and build connections at convention:
Think about the major themes of your research. What are the questions you are trying to answer? What are the topics that excite you? Why are these issues important? Given the diversity of our field, it is likely that you will interact with psychologists and students who are unfamiliar (or vaguely familiar) with your research area, so be sure to eliminate all jargon.
Talk about what motivates you. Your goals for life post degree. Why is it that you are doing this work? Are you seeking to impact clinical practice? Are you trying to influence policy? Are you looking to join the academy, clinical practice, think tank, etc.?
Write it down and practice. This might seem silly, but it is crucial. Here is your opportunity to refine what you are trying to say and become comfortable communicating it with others. You can practice with your family, friends, and classmates. Here is your opportunity to work out the bugs and practice these conversations. Check out an outline here and watch Duke University students practice their elevator speech (literally) here.
Let them know who you are. Find out who they are. Remember, this ‘speech’ is an opportunity to make a meaningful connection. Make it personal. It’s likely you may want to follow up with them in the future, and your 30-60 second interaction may blossom into a relationship or mentorship. After all, your elevator speech opens the door for further conversation.

Lastly, remember to breathe and enjoy convention.

Editor’s Note: Check out these additional posts about how to have a successful Convention experience.

My Path to a Career in UX Research

By Christine Berry, M.A.2

When I began grad school in 2008 to pursue a degree in Counseling Psychology, I planned to become a practitioner, possibly a professor and academic researcher. To be honest, that’s all I knew about psychology – I didn’t realize there were so many more career options. But as I finished my M.A. in Counseling Psych at Loyola University Chicago, I knew that therapy wasn’t for me. I decided to pursue an additional research-focused degree and enrolled in another M.A. program, this time in Human Sexuality at San Francisco State University. If you’re going to learn about research it might as well be on a fun topic.

indifferentAs my second degree came to a close, I was tired of being a broke student. I loved doing research, but the thought of another 4-6 years in grad school pursuing a Ph.D. was too much. Living in the most expensive city in the country was taking its toll, and my student loans were already sky-high. I needed a job – preferably one that pays well.

thinking-faceI was also disenchanted with academic research. I disliked that it took years to finish a study and it seemed the results, while meaningful long-term, weren’t immediately making an impact. But what I really hated were lit reviews – designing studies and analyzing data were much more fun. I dreamed of a job where research moved fast, results were immediately clear and actionable, and lit reviews were a thing of the past. I didn’t think such a role existed, but I was about to stumble upon it.

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APAGS Convention Tracks – Science

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.

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The Learning Scientists: Our Story

LSLogo200x200Recently, I had been trying to come up with creative ways to help my students link concepts from class to the real world. Improving learning is one connection. But there are many others, such as how we might frame an advertisement to help it sell, or how we can improve procedures in the criminal justice system to avoid false convictions – like Steven Avery’s first conviction. (The many who watched Making a Murderer have probably thought a lot about this connection to cognitive psychology, possibly without realizing how much of a role it plays!) Anyway, I decided to create an assignment requiring my students to interact with one another and make connections with popular psychology-related articles on Twitter. The first step was creating a Twitter profile for myself, and building it up with psychology-related tweets.

One random night, I saw that Yana was tweeting many messages to a lot of different Twitter handles. It turns out Yana had been feeling guilty that she wasn’t doing more to reach out to the community with her work on improving study strategies. Somewhat impulsively, she tried searching “test tomorrow” on Twitter, and realized that TONS of students were tweeting about upcoming exams. Many students were tweeting about being unprepared, not knowing how to study, or being unable to concentrate.

So, Yana started tweeting advice and encouragement to the students: wishing them luck on their exams, asking them what strategies they used to study, and whether they’d tried practice questions or writing out everything they knew on the topic from memory. I thought it was such a cool idea that I decided to join in. I suggested we start using the hashtag #AceThatTest, and overnight that hashtag had turned into our joint Twitter account: @AceThatTest. That was January 22nd, 2016.

Since then – in under a month – we have gained almost 700 followers on Twitter, tweeted well over 2,000 times, hired a student intern, made a website with a blog (learningscientists.org), been asked to help out with a book on learning, and forged many new connections with researchers and educators around the world. The project really took off in ways that I think neither of us had anticipated! The passion we both bring to the project comes from our mutual frustration with the lack of communication between science and educational practice.

We want to improve communication between the various educational experts. Education is an extremely important topic, and we believe that there are many experts in this realm, each bringing an important perspective that can serve to improve education. Teachers who have been practicing in the classroom for years are experts. Students, by the time they graduate high school, and may be considering entering into higher education, have 13 years of educational experience under their belts, and could be considered experts. Professors, like Yana and myself, who both research learning (sometimes in the lab, sometimes in live classrooms) and teach undergraduate students in our own classrooms are experts. Professors who are working with teachers in training in institutions of higher education are experts.

If you have an “it takes a village” mentality, like we do, then the idea of having so many experts with diverse experiences and perspectives is extremely exciting. No one person can solve every problem that comes up, but a diverse group has serious potential to get things done. Unfortunately, many of these groups are not communicating with one another as much as we believe they should be. The situation is not entirely dissimilar from the schism between research and practice in clinical psychology. In an ideal world, researchers would clearly communicate their findings and make them easily accessible to practitioners. Meanwhile, practitioners would communicate any practical concerns they have with implementation to inform further research. Yet instead of this type of symbiotic relationship, there is a strained relationship between clinical practice and clinical research, and the lines of communication are not as open as they should be, and need to be if we want clinical psychology to be maximally beneficial for the profession and the public as a whole. Clinical psychologists know this, and have been addressing the problem; there have even been special APA Convention programs and even special journal issues to address the lack of communication.

The same problem occurs in education – communication is simply not open, and it’s time for the many educational experts to address this. We have to talk to each other if we want to improve education. It seems to us that we can’t complain about a lack of communication while keeping our heads down in our own silos. For this reason, Yana and I started the Learning Scientists community.

Please help us spread the word, and open lines of communication between all education experts. There are many opportunities for you to get involved: Tell colleagues outside of psychology about this work, follow us on Twitter and tweet at us, comment on our blog, or even write a piece on something you’re passionate about and send it to us. You can get in touch with us through our website via our “contact us” tab, or on Twitter @AceThatTest.

LScientists Banner200x849About the authors:

MeganSmithMegan Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology department at Rhode Island College. She received her Master’s in Experimental Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis and her PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Purdue University. Megan’s area of expertise is in human learning and memory, and applying the science of learning in educational contests. 

YanaWeinsteinYana Weinstein is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She received her PhD in Psychology from University College London and had 4 years of postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis. The broad goal of her research is to help students make the most of their academic experience. 

Together they co-founded the Learning Scientists (@AceThatTest on Twitter) to make scientific research more accessible to students and educators.

 

 

A Few Good Reasons Why the Internship Crisis Might Get (Slightly) Better

Internship is stressful, so let us bask in some good news for a moment.

For the past 18 years, APPIC has produced forward-looking best-case scenarios about the internship match for doctoral students in clinical, counseling, and school psychology using a point-in-time profile of applicants, doctoral internship sites, and open spots on New Year’s Eve.

APPIC predicts that the imbalance between the number of applicants and positions — what APAGS and others call a crisis — will continue to improve, as it has in 2015 and 2014.

Here is what APPIC shared recently* with the psychology education and training community:

  • There are currently only 148 more registered applicants than available positions (compared to a difference of 498 last year and 1,148 only four years ago)
  • Approximately 200 students withdraw from the Match each year after registering (for a variety of reasons, such as not having received any interview offers, deciding to delay their internship another year, seeking or obtaining a position outside the APPIC Match, etc). This suggests that the number of positions in the 2016 Match could equal, or even slightly exceed, the number of students who submit a Rank Order List. “Please note, however, that this does not mean that all applicants will get placed, nor will all positions get filled.”
  • As a result, the 2016 APPIC Match will likely show the closest balance between applicants and positions of any APPIC Match to date.
  • The number of accredited positions, while significantly improved this year, is far lower than the number of registered applicants. (APAGS reported on match rates using just data from the APA Commission on Accreditation on match day 2015).

APPIC reminds us that it has provided a snapshot as of December 31, 2015, and that numbers change each day.**

APPIC’s optimism is corroborated by Robert Hatcher’s new article in APPIC’s academic journal. Hatcher predicts that “even if the internship growth rate slowed to less than 1%, match rates would be in the mid-90% range by 2018” (2015). The article does paint some complications that we’ll be paying attention to.

Crave even more good news this week? APA just announced that “psychology graduate students now have access to 55 new APA-accredited internship slots, thanks to the accreditation of 11 internship programs that received funds from APA’s internship stimulus package. The new slots were created after APA’s Commission on Accreditation was able to accredit 17 internship programs in October. Eleven of those programs were internship stimulus grantees and the additional six programs will also provide a number of internship slots, but those numbers are not yet available.”

APAGS is well aware that while we have some optimistic news before us, not all qualified doctoral students who desire an internship will receive one, and not all doctoral programs and types are matching their students to accredited programs at comparable rates. APAGS has committed substantial resources to address these concerns, and we’ll continue to see that other groups do the same, until the crisis is effectively ended.

If you want to help address the internship crisis as an advocate, go to http://on.apa.org/internshipcrisis to learn how.


Notes:

*All APPIC information presented here, and much of the verbiage, was provided by APPIC in listserv announcements in January 2016.

**For numbers wonks: As of December 31, 2015, the total numbers of applicants and internship sites registered to participate in the 2016 APPIC Match were: 3,940 registered applicants, 3,792 positions offered by 786 registered internship sites (744 of these registered sites are APPIC members).  Compared to last year at this time, these numbers reflect a decrease of 223 applicants, an increase of 127 positions, and an increase of 14 internship sites.  Furthermore, the number of APA- and CPA-accredited positions has increased by 231. Compared to four years ago at this time, which was the year of the worst imbalance between applicants and positions: The number of registered applicants has decreased by 418 (4,358 to 3,940); The number of registered positions has increased by 582 (3,210 to 3,792); The difference between the numbers of registered positions and applicants has decreased by 1,000 (1,148 to 148); The number of registered APA- or CPA-accredited positions has increased by 590 (2,366 to 2,956); The number of registered internship sites has increased by 74 (712 to 786); The number of registered APPIC-member internship sites has increased by 77 (667 to 744).