From the Div. 18 president
By Femina P. Varghese, PhD
As I begin my presidential year, I am honored to write a column in the first student newsletter for Div. 18. I am so happy for the growth, organization and leadership that I am seeing from our student members. I firmly believe that they are the future of this division, and thus their voices are important. I hope this newsletter will allow us to hear the diverse voices in this group and get to know our student colleagues better.
I am particularly interested in hearing from our students because I first joined Div. 18 as a student. As a doctoral student at Texas Tech University, I had just begun my interest in criminal justice populations, and was developing my dissertation on work-related issues of inmates. Because it was such an under-researched area at the time, my co-chair, Robert Morgan, PhD, encouraged me to pose my questions to the Div. 18 Criminal Justice Section members both through the Listserv and during the social hour at the APA convention. At that time I was hesitant in doing so as I did not know many people from the division, and had only just joined as a member. But I will never forget how positively the members responded to the questions. The responses were helpful and insightful. They helped guide my research and continue to be useful in the work I do.
I hope the students of Div. 18 will take advantage of the resources available to them. While we offer several membership benefits, including a reduced fee for students, a peer-reviewed journal Psychological Services, webinars and conferences, I am convinced that the members are the greatest asset of Div. 18. Our members have expertise in a wide range of public service work. Therefore, I hope the students take advantage of interacting with our members personally through social hours and programs at the APA convention and the division conference, and electronically such as through the Listserv.
Further, as your current president, I would like to encourage the active involvement of student members in service to each section and the overall division. When I served as the chair of the Criminal Justice Section for Div. 18 and prior to that the chair of the ad-hoc membership committee, I loved hearing from our younger members. Students and early career members bring a unique positive energy and idealism that is so needed in our work. Further, they come with new ideas, technical savvy and social media expertise. The Div. 18 Facebook page, as well as the Criminal Justice Section Facebook page, were both developed and maintained by student members. Further, early career psychologists and students played a role in developing the Criminal Justice Section newsletter, The Gavel. I believe one should never underestimate the work of our younger members. I have been impressed with the quality and creativity that they exude in their work. I have also found pleasure in seeing how the students I worked with have developed and matured as early career professionals who continue to contribute to our division.
Further, I want to honor our student representative, Yolanda Perkins, for her leadership. She is a wonderful representative for our student members and has been a positive voice in helping us better serve them. Her leadership has clearly energized our students. Thank you for your work, Yolanda.
Thank you also for those who have developed this newsletter. Looking forward to seeing wonderful things from our students, both now and in the future.