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Student Committee

The Student Committee works to promote the interest of SPSP's student members. This includes producing helpful student content, organizing events for student members at the annual convention, and much more.

About the Student Committee

2018-2019 Student Committee:

Miao “Kitty” Qian, Chair (

Hi, I applied to be one member of Student Committee of SPSP because I want students’ voice to be heard! I see the position as a “golden” opportunity to represent the voices of students, especially minority groups, and to be part of SPSP organization. As a Chair of SPSP Student Committee, I aim to bring students’ voice to the organization, to improve our institution and science! By serving on the committee, I developed skills involving collaboration, communication, and decision making. It is very exciting to work with other brilliant graduate students and SPSP staff.

Heidi Vuletich headshotHeidi Vuletich, Co-Chair (

Serving as a member of the SPSP student committee has been enjoyable and valuable in many regards. I have had the privilege to make connections with peers and faculty with whom I may not have had the occasion to interact otherwise. Organizing established events at the convention and brainstorming ideas for new ones has been a great learning experience, and one that I plan to carry forward in my carrier. I'm always looking for ways to grow my leadership skills, and this has been an awesome opportunity to do that. Chad and Jan at central office are incredibly generous with their time and knowledge. Learning from them has been one of the highlights of this experience. Overall, I'm so grateful that I get to serve our student membership, and given the opportunity, I would do it again!

Brenda Straka headshotBrenda Straka, SPSPotlight Co-Editor (

I'm interested in questions around biracial identity, particularly relating to Hispanic/Latino groups. I am especially interested in social pain as it relates to social exclusion and cross-group interactions and how these effect identity, as well as the health outcomes stemming from these experiences. I completed my undergrad this past spring at the University of Virginia where I double majored in Psychology and Cognitive Science and minored in English. I am currently a first year doctoral candidate in Dr. Sarah Gaither's Duke Identity and Diversity Lab.

Lucy Zheng headshotLucy Zheng, SPSPotlight Co-Editor (

As a previous high school teacher and a current college applications consultant, I have experience in mentoring adolescents through exciting (but often stressful) transitions in their life. I want to use these skills I have acquired to connect graduate students with undergraduate students and each other, to form our own support group, to combat our own stressful "graduate school culture".  An event I think would be great at getting us started would be a conference game mixer, a students-only event where we play "Research Bingo", "Journal Monopoly", or "Abstract Trivia". These games would expose us to everyone else's research (but in an informal, non-threatening manner) and force us to have fun and get to know each other. I aim to go into educational policy, and this position will teach me all the ways in which graduate education policy should be different from or similar to K-12 and college education policy.

Jonathan Gordils headshotJonathan Gordils, Member-At-Large (

My motivation for wanting to be involved with the SC was multifold. Career-wise, serving on the SC would provide an avenue for networking and collaborating with individuals who are similarly interested in the betterment of the personality and social psychology community. Moreover, the experience gained by working in this capacity would further both my academic prospects as well as my social and communication skills. As a member-at-large for the 2018-2019 SC, I am leading the committee involved in developing a peer-to-peer advising program. The SPSP convention has provided a medium for members to connect. My current goal as the chair of this committee is to capitalize on this serendipitous facet by facilitating connections between like-minded individuals to foster opportunities for learning and flourishing.

Jaboa Lake headshotJaboa Lake, Member-At-Large (

My name is Jaboa Lake and I am fourth year in the Applied Social & Community Psychology PhD program at Portland State University. My research interests involve intraminority intergroup relations, and collective action. During my graduate career, I have served as Member-at-Large Diversity Focus for SPSSI’s Graduate Student Committee, graduate student member of PSU’s Psychology Department’s Diversity Committee, and as a graduate student member of PSU’s Student Research Advisory Committee. As SPSP’s Graduate Student Member-at-Large, I plan to focus on implementing three useful additions to the Mentoring Lunch initiative. These initiatives would increase diverse representation in the lunch sessions, improve post-lunch communication between mentors and mentees, and provide further resources for students to supplement the conversations that occurred during the lunch sessions. In these ways, I hope to better serve SPSP’s student members and provide fruitful relationships for both mentors and mentees.

Harrison Oakes headshotHarrison Oakes, Member-At-Large (

I applied to be part of the GSC because I wanted to learn more about how SPSP works internally, and how I could contribute as a grad student. As a member-at-large, I oversaw the Student Poster Award. Despite the infrastructure laid out by previous committees, I was still able to have a significant impact on how the award functioned and, hopefully, improve how it functions moving forward. Serving on the GSC is a great opportunity to expand your professional network, learn about the internal operations at SPSP, and find ways to leave your mark on the legacy of the GSC.

Ashley Weinberg headshotAshley Weinberg, Member-At-Large (

Hi, I am a graduate student at York University. I am currently serving as a member of the SPSP Student Committee for the 2018-2019 term.  I ran for this position because I was excited for the opportunity to get more involved in an organization that has been so pivotal to my development as a psychology researcher.  I have especially enjoyed getting involved with the Mentor Lunch as a way to ensure that there are spaces for topics that I think are important to be discussed at this year's conference.  I also have been able to get more integrated in the SPSP community of fantastic researchers via my participation in the committee and planning for SPSP events. Equally important, I've gotten to meet engaged and friendly graduate students from all over!

Gohar Harutyunyan headshotGohar Harutyunyan, Member-At-Large for Undergraduate Affairs (

I applied to be on the student committee because I wanted to be more involved with the SPSP community. I have gained a deeper insight into our research community, and a better understanding of the important work the SPSP student committee accomplishes.

Hannah Moshontz, Past Chair (

I applied to serve on the SPSP student committee primarily because I wanted to gain skills in "service" like how to organize an event, lead a virtual meeting, or guide a committee in decision-making. By serving on the committee, I developed those skills, but I also developed relationships with student and faculty members of SPSP, learned more about how professional societies like SPSP function, and got to work on projects that were personally important to me. For example, unequal access to information about the graduate school application process contributes to inequalities in our profession. In my time on the student committee, I was able to work on a solution to this problem. In collaboration with other students and with SPSP staff, I helped create a free online "road map" to graduate school that summarized the process, provided insider tips and advice, and pointed to other resources that are useful in building a competitive graduate school application. This was just one of the many positive experiences I had serving on the SPSP student committee.