Chapter Spotlight

Student Affiliates in School Psychology chapter spotlight: Florida State University

The chapter focuses on increasing community involvement, fundraising for relevant nonprofits and its presence at state and national conferences.

By A. Paige Blankenship and Katelyn A. Kuchta

This year, the chapter's primary goal was to increase community involvement and fundraising for relevant nonprofit organizations. The chapter's secondary goal was to increase Florida State University's (FSU) presence at state and national conferences.

The FSU chapter of SASP was formed in the mid-2000s, and became officially recognized as a student organization by FSU in 2010. Formally, the FSU SASP chapter was utilized primarily as a social club and a means of communication between cohorts, but this year the members became more interested in community outreach and involvement as well as fundraising for non-profit organizations and conference participation.

This year, the chapter's primary goal was to increase community involvement and fundraising for relevant organizations. In February, SASP members contributed to a bake sale in FSU's College of Education building to raise awareness about adolescent depression, bipolar disorder and suicide. Not only did the organization sell baked goods, but they also disseminated information about suicide awareness. The bake sale raised $300, which was donated to Families for Depression Awareness for their “Sweeet! Baking for Healthy Minds” program.

In the month of March, SASP members volunteered and participated in Capital City Youth Service's (CCYS) Celtic 5-kilometer race. CCYS is a private, nonprofit agency, which offers a continuum of services for runaway, homeless, truant, ungovernable, and other at-risk youth and their families in the Tallahassee area. Proceeds from the 5-kilometer race will go towards CCYS's new Transition Living Program , serving older homeless youth in the Tallassee area. Since the club did not historically participate in fundraising or community outreach, the chapter is proud of their activism and involvement this year.

The chapter's secondary goal was to increase our presence at state and national conferences. In October, eight SASP members presented at the Florida Association of School Psychology's 39 th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. Presentation topics included “Moving on Up: Helping High-Functioning ASD Students Transition to Middle School” and Improving Social Skills among Foster Care Children: A Group Curriculum .” Over 75 percent of the chapter's members and two of the school psychology program's professors attended our state conference. In February, six students presented at the National Association of School Psychology's Annual Convention in Seattle, Washington. Presentation topics included “Traumatic Brain Injury: Improving Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Functioning and Improving Social Skills among Foster Care Children: A Group Curriculum .” Over 25 percent of the chapter's members and two of the school psychology program's professors were able to attend the NASP convention on the opposite side of the country. The chapter's goal of increasing presence at state and national conferences was successful. Although the attendance rates improved significantly this year, the chapter's members are most proud of the increase in SASP member presentations.

The chapter in currently applying for a grant in hopes of holding its first annual research/case study symposium at the end of the spring 2014 semester with a focus on home and school collaboration. With the amount of enthusiasm and contribution demonstrated by FSU SASP members, the 2013-2014 school year looks promising, and the chapter plans on doubling their community involvement and fundraising. Similarly, with many promising projects in the works, the chapter hopes to continue increasing presentation and attendance rates at upcoming conferences. Through hard work and dedication of FSU's SASP members, the chapter hopes to continue helping and enriching the local community as well as developing professional skills to help their members reach their full potential.

About the Authors

A. Paige Blankenship , BS, is a second year PhD student in the combined school psychology/counseling psychology program at FSU and is the FSU SASP Chapter Vice President. Paige received her BS in psychology from the University of Florida in 2008. She has worked as a graduate assistant for the MS/EdS school psychology/counseling program at Florida State University since 2011. Paige also works as an evaluator at the Adult Learning Evaluation Center at FSU and in the Quality Assurance Department of the State of Florida's Department of Children and Families, with prior experience as a Guardian ad Litem. Paige's research interests include traumatic brain injury, crisis intervention, response to intervention and suicidality.

Katelyn A. Kuchta , BS, is a second-year EdS/MS student in the school psychology/counseling psychology program at FSU and is the FSU SASP Chapter President. Katelyn received her BS in Psychology from the University of Central Florida in 2011. Katelyn currently holds an assistantship through the Louise R. Goldhagen Multidisciplinary Evaluation and Consulting Center and also works as an evaluator at the Adult Learning Evaluation Center at FSU. Katelyn will be beginning her school psychology internship in a Florida school district in the fall 2013. Katelyn's research interests include crisis intervention, response to intervention, emotional behavioral disorders, and suicide prevention.