Tag Archives: Travel

APAGS Ambassadors play a warm up game during orientation in Toronto, August 2015 .

What’s It Like For a First-Timer to Attend APA Convention?


This Denver, Colorado skyline awaits 2016 Conventioneers.

APA Convention is a great way to connect with your peers and with established psychologists. There are so many opportunities for networking, learning, and growth . Convention will be in Denver, Colorado from August 4 through 7, 2016.

We want to help you get there by providing funding through five APAGS Convention Travel Awards, each worth $500 in reimbursement. Additionally, we offer registration fee waivers for all APAGS member first-authors at Convention (learn more in our FAQ). Other directorates in APA (such as Science), along with several divisions, also offer special funding opportunities.

The deadline to submit a poster or program proposal is Tuesday, December 1 at 5pm EasternDon’t miss your opportunity to present at Convention and get connected!

One of last year’s travel grant winners — a doctoral student at Auburn University — shared her experiences with me about the process of applying for funds to attend the APA Convention in Toronto.

Heather Dade: Why did you decide to apply for our Convention Travel Award? 

Anne Conroy: I was excited at the opportunity to attend sessions, devote time to my professional development, and explore new surroundings.  I was going to get the opportunity to assist with my first symposium, and I was going to view the posters of my colleagues and friends.

Heather: We’re happy you applied. Tell me what you first thought about Convention when you got to Toronto. 

Anne: My excitement was somewhat replaced by a feeling of anxiety. I was overwhelmed by the size of, well, everything: The Convention guide resembled a phone book, and there was a sea of psychologists spread in every direction who seemed to know what they were doing.  How was I going to get the most out of this experience?

Heather: What did help you get a handle on this Convention? 

Anne: Attending the APAGS orientation and connecting with other APAGS ambassadors helped me feel less overwhelmed and made the convention seem more manageable.  As the conference progressed, I started to see familiar faces in the vast sea of psychologists and psychologists-in-training, which gave me reassurance that I would not be forever lost in my attempts to navigate from session to session.  I enjoyed conversing with my fellow APAGS ambassadors, many of whom were also attending their first APA conference.  We bonded over our mutual bewilderment at the sheer magnitude of the conference, along with our desire to make the most of the experience.

APAGS Ambassadors play a warm up game during orientation in Toronto, August 2015 .

APAGS Ambassadors play a warm-up game during orientation in Toronto, August 2015 .

Heather: Anne, how did you figure out how to fill your time at Convention?

Anne: In determining my schedule, I decided to attend several of the APAGS sessions, with the hope that attending programs geared toward graduate students would give me useful pieces of information to apply upon returning home.  I attended a session entitled, “Set Goals, Say No, and Still Graduate,” where I was able to create a timeline for completing my dissertation proposal, broken down into small, digestible pieces.  I was thoroughly pleased when I left the session, as I had a workable, reasonable time frame to present to my adviser!  I plan on applying the strategies learned in that session to other academic pursuits, including data collection and dissertation defense.

Heather: Did you go to anything else at Convention that you liked? 

Anne: Another APAGS session that provided me with incredibly beneficial information was the Internship Workshop.  While I am still at least one year away from applying for internship, I found the information to be useful in dispelling my fears around internship essays, selection of sites, and the like.  I took copious amounts of notes regarding how to communicate my personal and professional identity to site directors, along with tips regarding scheduling interviews and how to avoid being overwhelmed by the process.  I was so impressed with the APAGS programming at the convention that I encouraged other members from my program to attend APAGS sessions.

Heather: What would you say to another student who was considering applying?

Anne: I received numerous benefits beyond the monetary prize, including gaining valuable pieces of information that will serve me well as I continue my education and gaining contacts to whom I can reach out with questions.   I encourage all who are interested in applying to do so for next year’s convention.  You won’t regret it!


APA Convention Toronto- Cultural Considerations

Toronto3So you’re traveling to Canada? The Great White North? The True North Strong and Free? As you venture across the 49th parallel into this foreign land, what will you learn about its people? Well, we’ll give you a little primer on Canadian culture to help you in your foreign travels.

First things first, Canada has been an independent nation now for almost 150 years (since July 1, 1867) and has developed alongside the United States as its top trading partner. In turn, there are a lot of overlaps between American and Canadian culture!

What comes to mind when you think of Canada?

Is it the iconic Mounties (i.e., the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) that bear the famous red uniform of Rocky and Bullwinkle’s Dudley Do-Right?

Is it the beautiful artwork of Canada’s First Nation communities (i.e., the Canadian term for Native American)?

Is it the Loonie or Toonie (i.e., Canada’s one and two dollar coins)?

If you look at some of the artwork sent out on the 2015 APA Convention materials, both hockey players and moose come to mind!

Canada has a rich history and culture. It’s a diverse nation and the second largest in the world. As our next door neighbor, Canadians and Americans have a lot of similarities, but in preparing for your trip to the APA Convention in Toronto, you should be aware of some cultural considerations of traveling to this vibrant city in a different country. The information provided below is a general overview of Canadian/Toronto culture, but does not necessarily generalize to every individual Canadian, as is the case in summarizing any culture.

Canadian culture

  • Overall, Canadians are more conservative and reserved than Americans; however, much of their interpersonal style is similar to that of Americans. In conversations, they do not touch the other person, maintain a certain amount of personal space, and value eye contact.
  • Canadians are known for their politeness, and are typically helpful should you need aid in directions or other cultural questions.
  • Canadians say “Sorry” a lot, so much that people have actually researched its use.
  • It is customary to tip around 15% gratuity before tax for restaurants, but is unnecessary for counter-service.
  • Canadian coins are magnetic, thus U.S. coin currency will not work in Canadian machines. It is also important to note that $1 and $2 are in coins, not paper money.
  • Canadians use Celsius to measure temperature, so just as a reference, 0 degrees Celsius is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 degrees Celsius is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and 20 degrees Celsius is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Canada is actually a bilingual country and many Canadians speak both English and French. Quebec (a.k.a. French Canada) is a province bordering Ontario and you could run into a Francophone Canadian that only speaks French, although many Quebecers are bilingual and fluent in English.
  • Smoking in public places is generally frowned upon in Canada. If you do smoke, be aware of any city restrictions.

Toronto culture

  • The people of Toronto typically speak English, but due to its diversity, it hosts over 140 languages and dialects.
  • Toronto is heralded as one of the most diverse cities in the world! Neighborhoods, including Greektown, Chinatown, and Little India, are great ways to experience the diversity of the city.
  • The culture and arts scene is prominent in Toronto. Many well-known films, such as Good Will Hunting, Chicago, and X-Men were all filmed in this city.
  • The city is known as very safe and has great public transportation systems.
  • Jay walking is illegal in Ontario, and individuals can be fined for ignoring traffic signals. It is also important to note that pedestrians do not have “the right of way” in Ontario, so be cautious when crossing a busy street.


  • This year the Parapan American games are hosted in Toronto August 7-15th! These games typically bring in 10,000 athletes and officials from around the world.
  • Krinos Taste of the Danforth is a festival in Greektown with live music and authentic cuisine from local restaurants.
  • The Roger’s Cup in Toronto is a professional women’s tennis tournament hosted this year from August 8th– 16th.

Editors Note: This post written by Kelly Lee, APAGS incoming Convention Committee Chair and Justin Karr, APAGS Member-at-Large, Membership Recruitment and Retention Focus


Five (more) reasons why you should go to APA Convention

1) NetworkingNetworking

I said it before, and I’ll say it again; networking works.  APA Convention  gives you easy access to hundreds of potential employers all in one place.  Plus, for those of us that have difficulty with networking and meeting  new people, Convention provides an abundance of conversation starters.

“I really enjoyed your presentation, what can I do to learn more
about working in this field?” or, “Did you go to the Presidential
address? What did you think about XYZ?”

2) It makes you smarterBrain

Like eating a healthy breakfast, or wearing the diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw,  going to Convention makes you smarter.  In a study (which I just made up),  students who attended Convention at least once were considered more informed  than the control group who did not attend Convention.  In seriousness,  attending Convention exposes you to ideas outside of your graduate school  bubble, opening you up to new concepts and letting you experience some of the  great work other people are doing that you wouldn’t see otherwise.

3) Easier than reading it in an article

Sure, if you wait a year or two you will be able to read about a lot of the  work being presented at Convention.  But wouldn’t you rather listen to the researcher tell you about it him/herself?  Then you can ask questions, get clarification, or even volunteer to help on a follow-up study.

4) Sessions for students, by students

APAGS kicks ass (or butt) at creating Convention programming you can’t get  anywhere else. The APAGS Convention Committee always develops (in my very  biased opinion) some of the best, most useful programs at Convention. Having trouble finding a mentor, or having trouble with a current mentor? Come to our  mentorship session Turbo-Charging Your Career: Finding and Keeping a Good Mentor.  Are you a non-traditional student struggling with issues traditional graduate students don’t understand?  Come to Non-traditional  Students and Graduate School: Student experiences, Personal Challenges and Open Discussion. These are just a few of the many programs developed to address specific graduate student needs you can’t find anywhere else!

Toronto35) Oh Canada!

Ever been to Canada? Here is your chance to travel internationally and  visit the Great White North. Toronto is a beautiful city, with lots to offer in terms of sight-seeing and nightlife. Come meet some international friends and explore a new culture in a city that is just miles from the U.S.  border. And don’t forget to brush up on your Canadian, eh?


Editors Note: Daniel Reimer is a doctoral student at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the APAGS Convention Committee Chair.

Toronto skyline in the day

Early Convention Tips and Tricks

Are you planning to go to the APA Convention in Toronto on 2015? It may be tough to think about something that seems so far away, but it might be helpful to start planning since this year it will be in another country!

When preparing to trToronto skyline in the dayavel to Canada, the first thing you need is a passport. If you do not already have one, or need a replacement or renewal, you should definitely consider applying soon. Processing times take anywhere between 8 business days to 6 weeks depending on how urgent you need it. Get started today by visiting the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Passport

After getting your passport, there are other steps that you might want to consider planning in advance. If you submitted a proposal that was accepted for presentation and you are a first author, your registration fee will be waived if you are also an APAGS member!

Other ways to get some funding for travel would be to look at travel grants.  Different sections and divisions of APA offer various types of funding. APAGS offers the Convention Travel award for first time convention attendees.  The deadline to apply for this award is TODAY, April 1, 2015. The APA Science Directorate also offers assistance for psychology graduate students to travel to the Convention.

Some APA Divisions of APA also offer funding for Convention travel. Be sure to check with any Division to which you are a member to see what type of funding is provided for students to attend Convention. You may also consider joining your Division’s listserv to get information on services and funding provided by your Division.

After getting your passport, and applying for funding, low cost travel would be the next thing for you to consider. Sites like Expedia  and Kayak  are popular for cheap travel, while accommodation sites include Hostels.com and AirBnB  among others.

Do stay tuned for more tips and tricks to help you plan your Convention travel!

Awardee Brian Keum giving his first ever poster presentation at the 2013 Convention in Honolulu, HI

APAGS Convention Travel Award: Deadline April 1st

Traveling to Toronto, Canada for the APA Convention this August? Interested in becoming more involved with the APAGS? Then you’ll want to apply for the APAGS Convention Travel Award! This award provides reimbursement of $500 to up to five psychology graduate students who are first-time attendees at convention.

The Perks of the Award

In addition to the financial incentive (i.e., $500 in US currency equals roughly $640 in Canadian dollars at the moment!), this award gives you the fantastic opportunity of connecting with APAGS leadership through an organized networking opportunity at convention that connects you directly with student leaders already engaged in the ongoing  advocacy work of APAGS!

Past awardees have had great experiences at convention through their engagement with APAGS. Aubrey Carpenter of Boston University attended the 2014 Convention in Washington DC and described one of her favorite moments of convention:

“One of the convention highlights for me was attending the APAGS predoctoral internship presentation, which was much more in-depth and practical than I had anticipated…there was a range of students in the audience and yet everyone seemed to take away something personally meaningful.”

Katy Haynes Owen of the University of Kentucky, now a member of the APAGS Convention Committee, also enjoyed APAGS events at Convention in 2014, participating in an APAGS Social Hour:

“I met other graduate students from around the country and connected around our similar research and advocacy interests. Also, I met SEVERAL internship training directors and continued to correspond with them after Convention.”

Some Tips for your Application

Past award winners have some advice for interested graduate students that may help you structure a successful application.


Awardee Jeremy Jinkerson (far left) at the 2014 APA Convention in Washington, DC among other student members of Division 19

2014 awardee Jeremy Jinkerson of Fielding Graduate University noted, “What may have stood out about my application was that I had specific plans for what I would do at Convention. I really needed to be there. You might find success in taking a similar tactic.”

Another 2014 awardee Jackie Newman recommended seeing Convention as more than a one-time event and more as a step towards your future goals: “I would consider carefully not only how the conference might enable your growth right now, but also how you might be able to meet future professional goals by participating in convention.”

What to do to Apply

1) Check your eligibility! You must be a current APAGS member in your first four years of graduate training in psychology. You also have to be in good academic standing. The link above has all the information that you need!

2) Prepare a cover letter (up to 750 words) outlining your interest in becoming a leader in APAGS and APA along with your interest in attending convention. Also send in an abbreviated 2-page vita listing your past attendance and presentations at academic and professional conferences!

Awardee Brian Keum giving his first ever poster presentation at the 2013 Convention in Honolulu, HI

Awardee Brian Keum giving his first ever poster presentation at the 2013 Convention in Honolulu, HI