A former chair and a former member-at-large share what it’s like to be a part of the Student Committee.

Camille Johnson
(SPSP Graduate Student Committee Chair, 2002)

At the second SPSP conference in San Antonio, students interested in creating a Graduate Student Council were invited to a meeting one evening. Why did I show up? Because it seemed like an opportunity to be part of a movement to improve SPSP, and because I was curious. From that first meeting, we created the mission statement for the GSC and set specific goals. These goals were: provide information, provide resources, and help people achieve their career goals.

We then created projects to meet each of those goals. We created a preconference for women in academia, the Poster Award, and a webpage.

A lot has changed in SPSP and the GSC since then. Everything has grown. What is interesting is that in my current role in administration, I do a lot of the same things we did sitting on the floor in a conference room. I work with a small group of dedicated people who think about missions, goal-setting, and creating initiatives to meet those goals.

It wasn't about prestige; being a member of the GSC was a result of feeling like I was a member of the field and I wanted to give back. I made friends that I still have, and while most people have long forgotten how the GSC was formed, I'm proud to see things that we helped create, like the poster award and the mentoring lunch, still helping graduate students. I'm now on the SPSP training committee and excited to help social psychologists at all stages of their careers.

 

Lameese Eldesouky
(SPSP’s Graduate Student Committee Member-at-Large, 2016-2017)

My main role was serving as the chair of the Outstanding Research Award (ORA) committee. I wanted to make the ORA review process easier for reviewers and more fair for applicants.

My committee members and I tried to make improvements to the ORA by selecting three advanced graduate students as reviewers, and making close matches between the application topic and the expertise of reviewers. We also changed the rubric by placing a much stronger emphasis on research quality (e.g., theoretical background, statistical appropriateness), rather than pretty and perfect results. We also gave concrete examples for every criteria on our rubric to help reviewers. In addition, we sent out the rubric before the ORA application deadline so that applicants knew what reviewers would look for, and have the opportunity to ask us questions.

Before and after the ORA-related tasks, I also helped out with some other committees. For instance, I contacted mentors for the GSC Mentoring Lunches to help finalize who would be a mentor, what they would discuss, and when they would be available. And I helped with the GSC Professional Development Symposium by identifying potential speakers and symposia topics, like pursuing careers beyond academia.

My fellow GSC members and I tried really hard to address student needs and to make as many improvements as we could. One thing that’s exciting is that the GSC’s importance and role in SPSP has increased over time. This has allowed for more funding, more communication with the executive board, and more opportunities for graduate students to make significant contributions. Contributions aside though, the highlight of SPSP for me was getting to know and work with other graduate students from other universities. The free registration was also a huge plus.”