Updates from the Early Career Scholars Committee
Adriana Espinosa, Assistant Professor of Psychology, City University of New York
Hello from SPSSI’s Early Career Scholars (ECS) Committee! We are a group of early to mid-career scholars who share a common interest in promoting the professional development and networking opportunities of SPSSI early career members, including students as well as those who are within the first ten years or so of earning their graduate degrees. Among multiple tasks, the ECS committee provides different means by which a network of experienced scholars and practitioners can provide early career SPSSI members with knowledge and guidance on how to best navigate their careers in academia, practice, and policy work.
The annual SPSSI conference is an important venue for the ECS committee, as we typically host a symposium, a panel discussion, and a social hour for early career scholars to network with each other and with other SPSSI members. The difficulties of the past year are known to all. One manifestation of these difficulties was that the 2020 conference was cancelled. We were disappointed about this cancellation, and would like to extend our thanks to all who volunteered to organize talks and other events for the conference. Looking forward, perhaps we can learn from the experiences we’ve had during a virtual 2020. As we return to worlds where conference travel will be possible, we should remember how virtual sessions circumvented some barriers, such as scheduling and financial costs, that in the past have prevented some of our members from participating in many of our events.
Among other tasks, the ECS committee also reviews nominations for the Michelle Alexander Award, which recognizes early career SPSSI members who have excelled in scholarship and service. We wish to congratulate the 2020 Michelle Alexander Award winner, Sarah Gaither from Duke University! The committee was highly impressed with all Michelle Alexander Award nominees, yet Dr. Gaither’s work rose to the top for her research on social categorization and multiple identities, as well as for her efforts to promote diversity within and outside of academia.
Our committee always welcomes new volunteers. If you are looking for ways to serve SPSSI and connect with new colleagues, we would be happy to talk with you about becoming a part of the committee. We hope to find new ways to connect with folks even as we return to those that have worked for many of us in the past.
SPSSI continues to be an essential organization for psychologists who value social justice, and ECS will continue to help psychologists build diverse careers that focus on the SPSSI mission. We’ve been grateful for the opportunity to lead the committee this year, and we’re looking forward to a productive year to come.