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   Graduate Student Committee Report
   Jesica Fernandez, Chair

Every year, a new wave a researchers, advocates, practitioners and academics emerges within SPSSI, and with it opportunities to become involved and learn from new experiences. SPSSI’s Graduate Student Committee was established to give voice to the needs and achievements graduate student members. Since 2005, GSC has played a key role in representing graduate students within SPSSI’s executive committee by holding office and serving on committees. SPSSI graduate student members believe and uphold social justice and social change values toward the application and transformation of social action, public policy and psychological process. As the current Chair of SPSSI’s GSC I am committed to representing the community of young scholars by establishing open lines of communication via email and other media sources, encouraging members to get involved with GSC by holding positions of leadership.

Recently elections for the Chair-Elect, Members-at-Large, and Editor were held, and results of the election welcomed six new members into SPSSI’s Graduate Student Committee!


The Chair-Elect serves for one year as a committee member helping the Chair to carry out the activities for the year. This year of guidance helps to prepare the Chair-Elect for her or his following year as Chair of the committee. The Chair-Elect, under the guidance and support of the Chair is responsible for day-to-day and long-term issues including the direction of the Graduate Student Committee, new initiatives, and funding for committee activities at the bi-annual SPSSI conference or (in alternate years) the APA convention. The SPSSI community is happy to welcome Kala J. Melchiori into the Graduate Student Committee as Chair-Elect!

Kala is a third year graduate student in the Applied Social Psychology PhD program at Loyola University of Chicago. Kala’s research interests focus on prejudice and discrimination, particularly in regards to gender, and her current research looks at factors that influence whether or not women choose to confront sexual harassment. We are excited to have Kala onboard and look forward to her terms as Chair-Elect.


SPSSI graduate students selected to serve as Members-at-Large are to provide assistance to the Chair and Chair-Elect for various Student Council tasks. Members-at-Large can expect to be appointed to head a sub-committee, such as the travel awards committee, student grants committee, and can also help coordinate important Student Council functions, such as the biannual SPSSI conference or APA convention panels. Overall, Members-at-Large can gain an extensive experience in collaborative work, leadership, and organizational and planning skills, and we are happy to welcome Manisa, Justine, Sarah and Dawn as Member-at-Large for the SPSSI GSC for the 2011-2012 term!

Manisha Gupta is a third year PhD student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, pursuing a doctoral degree in Social Psychology with a focus on peace and violence. Manisha has an extensive experience in leadership and applied projects.

Justine E. Calcagno is a third year PhD student in the Social-Personality Psychology program at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Justine’s interests center on social identity, intergroup power relations, and social change. 

Sarah Bailey is a second year Masters student in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Sarah’s research interests include bias in selection decision-making, gender stereotype differences, and leadership. I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve SPSSI as a Member-At-Large.

Dawn X. Henderson is a fifth year doctoral student in the Community Psychology PhD program at North Carolina State University. Dawn is currently working on her dissertation, A mixed methods study of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA alternative to suspension Boomerang Program. Her research interests focus on positive youth development, transformative organizations and at-risk youth trajectories and resilience.


The newsletter and website Editor solicits content for The Rookie and the Student Website. The Editor has final say on what makes it into the newsletter and is posted on the website. This is an exciting position for a creative SPSSI member, and we are very fortunate to be welcoming Adolfo Cuevas for the second term as the Editor!

Adolfo is a second year doctoral student at Portland State University, pursing a PhD in Applied Social & Community Psychology. Adolfo’s research interests include social psychological aspects of minority health and healthcare disparities, exploring patient perspectives on health and treatment, and cultural health psychology.

We are very happy to have Adolfo serve this second term as Editor of The Rookie, a SPSSI student member newsletter. As Editor, Adolfo has been afforded the opportunity to collaborate with other graduate students, contribute to SPSSI, and become a voice for SPSSI’s mission.

SPSSI is excited to have these new members on board Graduate Student Committee! We look forward to a great year!

We encourage all members of SPSSI to send information, comments, announcement to the GSC listserv at


Jesica Siham Fernandez

GSC Chair

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