Candidate Statements

Div. 28 presidential candidate statement

Kelly Dunn, PhD, is a candidate for Div. 28 president-elect.
By Kelly Dunn, PhD

Kelly Dunn, PhD Greetings everyone, and thank you for the opportunity to discuss my interest in being the next Div. 28 president. I have been involved in a leadership position within Div. 28 since 2009, as the first co-early career representative, before moving to newsletter editor, secretary, program chair and now member-at-large. I have also been involved with the APA organization more generally, first as the behavioral neuroscience representative to the Science Student Council (2006-2008) and currently as a member of the Board of Convention Affairs. I hope my long history of involvement demonstrates how much I value Div. 28 and APA more broadly. 

The division has several valuable attributes to offer its membership that I hope to continue to grow as president. The first is advocacy. APA lobbies heavily to protect funding for mental health and substance abuse research, and there are many ways Div. 28 members can support or complement these efforts. Being able to “sell your science” and talk comfortably with your senators and representatives is a very important skill, particularly considering the high public health impact of our division. For that reason, one of my initiatives would be to increase advocacy efforts from our division members. The second is increasing our membership. The division has made great strides over the past few years in expanding membership and specifically in recruiting early career psychologists (ECPs) and graduate students. Our division is distinct from many others within APA because it provides ECPs with several opportunities to highlight themselves and move into leadership positions. For instance, as program chair, I provided opportunities for ECPs and graduate students to present at the convention by developing paper sessions and a datablitz that was specifically oriented towards our junior members. As president, I would continue to look for enduring ways that our graduate student/ECP membership could showcase themselves to help advance their careers and increase their employment opportunities. 

My final goal would be to increase the representation of preclinical researchers in our membership and at the convention. Although APA’s focus on professional licensure leaves the impression that it is a clinical organization, science is highly valued, and Div. 28 is one of the strongest basic science divisions. Though much of our human research is dependent upon the rigorous scientific efforts of our preclinical members, I have observed a decline in conference attendance from preclinical researchers over the past few years. Therefore, my third initiative would be to reinvigorate our preclinical membership base and increase its convention representation. I look forward to the opportunity to continue working for Div. 28 members.