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From the Chair
by Janice R. Adelman
As we rapidly become engulfed in another semester in academia, I'd like to take a moment to ponder the resources that are available to us graduate students - some of which we might not even be aware of. Take SPSSI, for example. We are all members of this organization. But why are we members? What is it that draws us to the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues? I imagine that most of us are interested in psychological research that is relevant to the world around us. We're interested in fighting prejudice, increasing environmental sustainability, preventing group conflict and promoting peaceful resolutions of social equality and justice. We tend to take stands on the use of torture in interrogations at places like Guantanamo, on the recent surge in violence in Kenya or the state of the elections to be held in Pakistan, or the upcoming presidential election in the US. If these points resonate with you, then you are likely a SPSSI member (if you're not, you should be!). Are you aware, then, of what SPSSI can offer you, and what you can offer SPSSI?
As chair of the graduate student committee, I'm witnessing first-hand the extent to which SPSSI cherishes its younger members. As the old cliché goes, we are the future SPSSI leaders. SPSSI has multiple resources for you to take advantage of. Perusing the newly revamped SPSSI website, you can find valuable information whether you're interested in teaching, informing policy makers, or networking. There are several example syllabi on timely topics of “psychology in action” - from social justice to conflict to community, not to mention useful lists of reading and video material that you may wish to use in your next class. For those who are interested in policy work, there is a plethora of resources at your fingertips. Review congressional briefings, fact sheets, policy positions, and more.
An even better plan of action: make plans to attend this year's biennial convention. The GSC is preparing – among other events – a workshop to detail the processes involved in psychology's relationship with policy work. As a professional society whose focus is on applying psychology to inform public policy solutions, this workshop will be a great addition for students who are unsure of what to do or where to go. Taking this one step further, why not take the time now to get more involved? The current SPSSI leaders are eager to hear from you. And, the biennial convention is a wonderful opportunity to mingle and get to know other like-minded psychologists and social scientists. Beyond the policy workshop, there will be roundtables discussing career paths, the ups and downs of academia, and a mentoring conversation hour to facilitate conversation between younger students and accomplished scholars. Finally, the GSC will be co-hosting a social hour with the internationalization committee at the biennial convention to remind us that our work reaches far beyond our own local neighborhoods and communities.
Outside of the biennial convention, elections to the GSC will take place this spring – keep an eye out for how you can run for a position on the graduate student committee. And regardless of what position you may or may not hold, SPSSI is always looking for volunteer help. So contact any one of us to get more involved. SPSSI is a valuable resource for graduate students - now let's show SPSSI what a valuable resource their graduate students are!
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