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Kala Melchiori



From Our Incoming Editor

Kala J. Melchiori, Associate Professor,
Department of Psychology, James Madison University

As we begin a new year and, for many of us, a new semester with new students, it is also a time to reimagine how to forge ahead with the complex realities of our identities, communities, and society. Our classroom spaces can be radical sites of inquiry where we can center students and contextualize thorny social issues with a generation of future leaders. Our organization is one that “runs to the noise,” (to borrow a phrase from Michelle Obama) – SPSSI seeks out situations that challenge us to apply the evidence and untangle contentious social problems. In this issue of The Forward, our contributors encourage us to reflect, resist, and recharge our efforts as activists, teachers, and scholars who run to the noise.
SPSSI President Patrick Grazanka highlights SPSSI’s approach to creating a positional statement on the violence in Gaza, with a focus on “resources to inform how you respond to the war in your professional lives as educators, researchers, policy makers, consultants, therapists, and advocates.” 
Our Policy and Communications Director, Sam Abbott, shares insights on how to best lobby our representatives; in short, he helps us understand how to make it easier for legislators to utilize the information we wish to share with them. We also learn more about policy work experiences from the 2023 Dalmas A. Taylor Minority Policy Fellow, Ty A. Robinson.
This issue also includes updates from several of our committees. Rachel Qunintas summarizes SPSSI’s Global Advocacy, UN Engagements, Events, Education Initiatives, and Workshops with a 2023 year-in-review. Harold Takooshian reports on the events of SPSSI-New York, including a forensic psychology panel, a symposium on Milgram’s legacy, and International Psychology, all of which are also available on YouTube. Ashley Votruba from the communication committee shares information about the Psychology Today SPSSI blog, Sound Science, Sound Policy, and invites your contributions.
We also hear from our Graduate Student Committee in their section Social Issues from Student Perspectives (SISP). Chelsie Burchett and Leslie Vernon-Dunnigan share the vision for the 2024 Graduate Student Committee initiatives. Minnie S. McMillian looks at how implicit bias in pain perception impacts maternal health outcomes. 
Additionally, we hear from the winners of a variety of SPSSI Teaching awards:
The Outstanding Teaching & Mentoring Award Winners, Salena Brody (“Change cuts deep (in the heart of Texas”) and Daniela Dominguez (“Teaching philosophy grounded in ancestors, imagination, Queerness, and community”)
Innovative Teaching Award Winner Natalie Sabik, “Teaching Intersectionality to Address Social Issues”
Action Teaching Award Winner Bettina Spencer, “Accept the occasional anecdote”
Action Teaching Grant Winner Michele M. Schlehofer, “Teaching About Historical Trauma in a Localized Context”
Teaching Resource Prize Winners Régine Debrosse (“Social justice assignments: A perfect opportunity to leverage students’ strengths?), Sally L. Grapin (“Teaching about White Privilege in Psychological Research”), and Evan Smith (“Using Class Presentations to Examine Science and Policy”)
SPSSI Teaching Grant Winners Carolyn Shivers and Kathleen Bogart, “Abnormal No More: A DARN Conference on Teaching Disability in Psychology”
Wishing you the best as we embark on our new challenges and opportunities in the year ahead!

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