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   A Snapshot of the Central Office in SPSSI’s 75th Year
By Susan Dudley, Executive Director

SPSSI’s Central Office is located in the north Capitol Hill section of Washington, in an area that has been undergoing significant growth and renewal in the past few years. The two-storey row-house was originally built in 1900 as a residence, and was purchased by SPSSI in 2002 to house our offices. The tax-assessed value of the property has more than doubled since SPSSI Council decided to make that investment.

Our professional staff has remained stable over the past five years, developing administrative processes and systems and applying their ever-growing institutional memories to assist our Council and volunteer leaders meet their commitments. In my capacity as Executive Director, I couldn’t wish for a more capable and conscientious group of colleagues with whom to work. SPSSI is indeed lucky to have each of them!

·         Anila Balkissoon, our Administrative Coordinator, manages grant and award administration, member relations and retention, and executive-level program and governance support. She has been an invaluable member of the SPSSI team since 2006, and the success of her work is felt quite directly by our members every day.

·         When Christopher Woodside, who served for two years as our first Policy Coordinator, was recruited away late last summer, his job was “filled from within”, by AlexIngrams who had previously spent 18 months with SPSSI in the role of Administrative Assistant. In the nine months he’s been in his new position, Alex has done a remarkable job of advancing SPSSI’s policy objectives on Capital Hill and beyond. [Read Alex’s column here].

·         Our newest staff member, Brad Sickels, has been our Administrative Assistant for over a year already. His is normally the first voice you hear when you call the office, and his many skills and talents contribute to virtually every aspect of the work we do. This summer Brad has helped to upload the content of SPSSI’s new interactive history timeline ( in preparation for its official launch on August 3.

Training opportunities at the SPSSI office include fellowships and internships. Over the last year we’ve funded and provided a part-time home for Angel Colon, SPSSI’s 2010-2012 James Marshall Public Policy Scholar, who reports regularly in this newsletter on his activities at SPSSI and the US Helsinki Commission, where SPSSI supports his work as a Policy Advisor. [Link here to Angel’s column]. This summer, Caroline Bennett-AbuAyyash also joins us as the 2011 Dalmas Taylor Summer Minority Policy Intern. She divides her time between SPSSI and the APA Public Interest office.

In addition, since this time last year, we’ve hosted six undergraduate interns, most of whom have been psychology majors. They’ve typically spent a semester with us, working anywhere from 6 to 30 hours a week before returning to their home institutions that included UCLA, NYU, University of Michigan, DePaul, George Washington, and American Universities. Two graduate student interns, an MPP student from Duke, and an MPH student from Johns Hopkins, worked with us this summer.

Day-to-day financial management is one of the main Central Office responsibilities. We ended 2010 with a budget surplus of $107,000, and our total current assets stand at $3,395,531, including operating funds, property, and invested funds. Our auditors have given us a clean bill of health after their review of our financial records for the year.

We were sad to lose our long-term building tenant, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, last September when they decided to close their Washington office. However, the space is now leased to the Washington Intern Housing Network, which contracts short-term living space for DC interns in the Capitol Hill area.

SPSSI Membership continues to hold fairly steady between 2500 and 3000. Approximately 32% of our members are graduate students, and 47% of our members are also members of APA. Over the past year, Christie Achebe, Faye Crosby, Roger Levesque, Kerth O’Brien, and Bettina Spencer joined 21 of their colleagues in our Sustaining Membership category. And as part of our 75th Anniversary observance, SPSSI members, looking forward to ensuring the success of our next 75 years, presented gift memberships to our 75 newest members.

We’re always happy to meet and talk with SPSSI members. Please visit the SPSSI office next time you’re in DC, or email us anytime. I can be reached at, and I look forward to hearing from you!

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