Committee Reports

Early Career Psychologists Committee report

The committee discusses and identifies activities, projects and programs that promote the engagement and participation of early career professionals

By Jessica Gallus, PhD, and Krista Langkamer-Ratwani, PhD

Division 19 is committed to promoting the engagement, participation and growth of the membership, especially Students and Early Career Psychologists (ECPs). Under the directive of our immediate past-president (Armando Estrada, PhD), the Division 19 Early Career Psychology Committee was created in the summer of 2010 to (a) identify activities, projects and programs to promote the engagement and participation of ECPs; (b) advise on successful strategies for recruitment, retention and engagement of ECPs; and (c) compile a report documenting activities and recommendations for the Executive Committee. After extensive consultations with past-president Estrada, and several formative discussions among members of the ECP, the committee decided to pursue the following objectives:

  1. Establish a permanent ECP committee

  2. Develop information for Division 19 website

  3. Develop Travel Award for ECPs

  4. Develop ECP programs for APA

  5. Conduct ECP Needs Assessment

We are pleased to report that the ECP Committee organized a symposia and a poster presentation for the 2012 APA Annual Convention. A poster presentation entitled “Early Career Psychologists’ Perspectives on Careers in Military Psychology” will be presented Friday, August 3 and an ECP Conversation Hour with senior military psychologists on “Successful careers in military psychology: Wisdom offered by skilled professionals” will take place on Saturday August 4. After careful consideration, the Division 19 Continuing Education Committee recommended that the division take the following steps moving forward:

  1. The Division 19 ECP Committee recommends that the division make the ECP Committee a permanent committee within Division 19. By establishing a more formal presence within the Executive Committee, the ECP committee will better be able to align its’ goals and mission with the overall goals of Division 19. This presence will serve to enhance collaboration and communication between the ECP committee and the division as a whole. Therefore, it is proposed that the permanent committee consist of three members serving staggered terms. A new member will be appointed each year. During his or her third year as a member of the committee, the member will serve as chair. Additional members will be selected by the committee, with approval of the President, to pursue specific ECP initiatives. Responsibilities will include the following: (a) reporting to the EXCOM on initiatives related to ECPs and ABD/job-seeking/interning students who are transitioning into the military psychology workforce, (b) conducting a needs assessment to identify the needs of ECPs, (c) organizing social activities for ECPs at the Convention (i.e., activities related to the hospitality suite), and (d) promoting awareness of military psychology for ECPs (e.g., contribute to the division website, blog, and yearly submission of a symposium to APA).

  2. The Division 19 ECP Committee recommends generating at least one networking or social activity for ECPs at APA. This could include a happy hour, a community outreach activity, a meet and greet session, or the informal pairing of junior ECPs with more senior military psychologists.

  3. The Division 19 ECP Committee recommends that the EXCOM approve the creation of a discussion forum with the understanding that the best form of media will be determined by the ECP-focused needs assessment (described below). Early Career Psychologists, as well as pre- and post-doctoral trainees, may benefit from increased engagement around topics important to their professional development. These individuals increasingly represent a technologically sophisticated cohort, able to communicate with each other utilizing various social media platforms. Social media platforms may include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and online journals (blogs). The forum will allow posting from ECP committee members on pertinent content and then allow all members to provide comments, to ask additional questions, and will be moderated by designated members of the ECP committee. Developing an integrated system of communication between these members has the potential to increase peer support, collaboration, and engagement in Division 19 activities.

  4. The Division 19 ECP Committee recommends that an ECP-focused needs analysis survey be developed and fielded, for results to be reported no later than August 2012. Potential topic areas include current ECP Division 19 activity, interest in various social media forums, mentorship and networking opportunities, professional challenges, and Division 19 improvements. Results of the survey can be used to inform the development of initiatives that are of value to ECPs and to identify opportunities for greater engagement with ECPs and Division 19.

  5. The Division 19 ECP Committee recommends the establishment of an ECP Travel Award to support ECP attendance and engagement at the Division 19 events. The ECP Travel award would help to off-set costs associated with participation in Division 19 activities (e.g., midyear and annual meeting; participation in other Division 19 sponsored events). Although APA does offer a similar travel awards to all members, including ECPs, we believe that it is imperative that we establish a mechanism to support ECPs within Division 19. We believe this is particularly important given the current economic climate, which is likely to see a reduction on conference participation for members of our profession. The Division 19 ECP Travel Award will help to promote participation and engagement of ECP members and further the goals and mission of the Division 19 ECP committee and Division 19 (see Strategic Plan). We propose that 5-10 awards be given in the amount of $750 each for a total of $3750-$7500 per year. Awards would be given on a competitive basis and acceptance of a poster/presentation at the Division 19 annual meeting would be required. We would also give special consideration to individuals attending the conference for the first time.

Additional information regarding the ECP committee may be obtained from ECP Co-Chairs:

Dr. Jessica Gallus
U.S. Army Research Institute
Foundational Science Research Unit
2511 Jefferson Davis Highway/DAPE-ARI-FSRU
Arlington, VA  22202-3926

Dr. Krista Ratwani
Aptima, Inc.
1726 M. St, NW (Suite 900)
Washington, DC 20036 

 Early Career Psychologists Committee

  • Dave England

  • Jessica Gallus

  • Rhett Graves

  • Arwen DeCostanza

  • Kristen Kochanski

  • Greg Matos

  • Krista Ratwani