Shira Gabriel: Statement

I am excited to be considered for Member at Large for Science Programming.  Owing to my roles as Editor of Self & Identity, former Associate Editor at SPPS, and current Associate Editor of Character & Context, I have spent a great deal of time in the last few years reading about the amazing science being produced in our field. This broadening of my knowledge base has caused me to be the most excited about our science than I have been since I first joined the field in 1995. I am so proud of the wonderful scholarship being done all around the world.

Although we learn about research in many ways (e.g. reading journals, visiting other programs), the opportunity to meet together in large groups and learn about the newest work, get to talk to one another in person, and develop new and unique ideas is irreplaceable.  I would be grateful for the opportunity to play a role in guiding how we gather together and learn from one another.

However, in one way I am not an obvious choice for this position.  I have only returned to attending our main conferences a few years ago.  When my children were young, it felt like it would be too difficult to pack them up and bring them with me and too expensive and emotionally difficult to leave them behind. So I skipped conferencing for many years.

That changed when my children entered grade school. After attending the SPSP conference for the last few years, I realize that I gave up a great deal by not attending.  Our scientific gatherings are exciting, productive places where people have the opportunity to learn, make important connections, and further their careers.  As Member at Large, one of my priorities would be to help minimize the impact life circumstances have on allowing people to attend our conferences, further their careers, and enrich our science with their input.  Conferences shouldn’t be inviting only to those with grants to pay for their travel and few responsibilities at home.  Although I am aware that these are not easy issues to address, all efforts should be made to make conferencing accessible to young parents and affordable to those with financial constraints.

In addition to working to make sure that our Science Programing is accessible to all, I hope to ensure that the focus of the programing stays primarily on sharing the new and exciting developments in our labs with one another.  Conferences should be an opportunity to learn about the new research, talk to new people, and develop professionally. In addition, we should continue the debates about replicability and do all we can to encourage open science and best practices.

Thank you for considering me for this position. I can’t think of anything more rewarding professionally than getting to increase our ability to gather together and develop our science together.