Dalmas A. Taylor Memorial Summer Minority Policy Fellowship Report
Gina Roussos, 2017 Fellow
As a social psychologist interested in working in public policy on racial justice issues after finishing my PhD, the SPSSI Dalmas A. Taylor Memorial Summer Minority Fellowship was an opportunity to immerse myself in the fast-paced world of politics and policymaking and learn about the numerous ways that psychologists can influence public policy. As the 2017 Dalmas Taylor Fellow, I gained a deeper understanding of the steps involved in advocacy work, practiced communicating psychological research to a policy-oriented audience, and made countless professional connections that will help me navigate the job market this year.
My activities as a Dalmas Taylor Fellow included presenting at the annual SPSSI and APA conferences, attending Congressional hearings and talks at prominent policy research institutes, participating in APA’S Summer Minority Fellowship Psychology Summer Institute, working at APA’s Public Interest Government Relations Office (PI-GRO), and receiving mentoring from individuals working around issues of public policy in academia and in the private and public sectors.
My time at the PI-GRO office at APA has been the highlight of this summer. I worked with and learned from numerous staff members on a diverse set of projects. For example, I was part of a team that drafted and promoted a bill placing restrictions on the use of restraints on pregnant women in federal prisons as well as ensure access to pregnancy-related healthcare in prisons. I accompanied APA staff to meetings with the legislative aides to Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren to discuss ways to improve the health of incarcerated women. I documented and evaluated the laws and administrative policies regarding the use of restraints on pregnant female prisoners for all 50 states. I also helped produce official APA letters of support on behalf legislation, such as a proposed bill that would increase the federal minimum wage. I’m currently finishing up a fact sheet that highlights the use of Medicaid funding by public schools to provide free mental and physical healthcare to students.
As a result of this fellowship, I am more knowledgeable about the processes involved in crafting, implementing, and promoting policies meant to increase the well-being of vulnerable populations, I can better communicate with policymakers about psychological research, and I have a wide range of mentors, colleagues, and connections who can support my efforts to find a job where I can address racial justice issues using policies and programs informed by psychological science.
Read more about Gina and other former Taylor Fellows' experiences on the SPSSI website.
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