Student Task Force Blog

Regular blog postings on students' issues and concerns.

April 7, 2021

What I learned during an (almost) all online internship

Communication matters. Be direct, clear, and write the important stuff down! By now, many of us have adjusted to Zoom and learned the online etiquette. However, joining into an already established team can be hard. As you are trying to learn the culture and dynamics of the organization you are also being evaluated in many different spaces. Therefore, it is important to be direct and ask for what you need as body language can be difficult to read online. Be clear with your actions and intentional with your words so you know when you can continue talking and when it is time to allow space for someone else. Lastly, make sure you are taking notes so can always reference back to them when you are unsure what to do.   

Connection: Starting at a new work place with new people is a lot of change. It is important to invest in relationships with your cohort, supervisors, and other team members. The more disconnected you feel from the team, the more isolated you could feel. So get invested and connected with the people you are working with. Some may even be willing to meet up for work related (or non-related) gatherings. Ultimately, spending time upfront to build connections with your cohort can pay dividends over the long haul of your internship.

Always check in on your learning goals. No matter what setting you are in, the learning goals with which you began internship can sometimes get forgotten as the year goes on. One helpful hint is to set a reminder in your calendar sporadically throughout the year to remind yourself to check in with your supervisor. No one wants to be at their mid-year review and realize that they have made no progress towards their goals.  

Be flexible. This quality is important during internship, especially, during a pandemic. Our best laid plans can run headlong into the realities of working in the midst of a public health emergency. Sometimes we just need to adapt and we learn different things than we anticipated. However, if something is super important to you, then make sure to communicate and fight for it! The how you get there may have to change.

You are not alone. Internship is a stressful, chaotic, and rewarding experience. In many ways if feels like school as you are learning most of the time and constantly being evaluated. But in other ways it feels like a job (because you are finally getting paid!). One of the most important takeaways I have learned over internship is that others feel the same way I do. Sometimes I am stressed, tired, happy, annoyed, or excited to start the next phase of my career. Others at the site often feel the same way. So do not be afraid to talk about what you are experiencing. 

Erika Brink is a sixth-year doctoral student at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She is currently completing her internship at Washburn Center for Children in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

September 22, 2020

The enhanced EPPP (EPPP: Step 2): what Division 31 members need to know

Why the enhanced EPPP (EPPP Step 1+ EPPP Step 2)?

  • The object of the enhanced EPPP is to create universal standards across the jurisdictions to aid mobility as psychologists change jurisdictions or temporarily practice in a jurisdiction where they are not licensed (ASPPB 2020).
  • The purpose is to focus on assessing clinical skills from practice experiences (i.e., practica, internships, postdoctoral fellowships) of candidates for licensure.
  • By adding a second, skills-based assessment of competency, psychology will be more aligned with competency assessment models used for other doctoral-level healthcare professionals (such as physicians).
  • The enhanced EPPP will strengthen psychologists’ arguments when lobbying third-party payers for reimbursement coverage and government agencies for federal programs.
  • There are upfront costs for developing Step 2 of the EPPP, and ASPPB has lowered the cost of the enhanced EPPP-Step 2 to $450, which is significant as the new test uses more expensive technology than Step 1 (meaning ASPPB is not profiting from the test).
  • The enhanced EPPP is currently in a beta testing phase, with an estimated go-live date of Jan. 1, 2022, for jurisdictions that have adopted it as part of their examination requirements.
  • Because the enhanced EPPP includes assessment of both knowledge and skills, it provides legitimacy to the public, payors, and interdisciplinary systems for the profession of psychology.
  • Unlike other forms of testing, certification tests like the enhanced EPPP are for the express purpose of protecting the public from those who lack the judgment and skill to perform their job safely. The focus of the enhanced EPPP is to protect the public. 
  • The enhanced EPPP is a particularly well-developed and managed testing program that meets or exceeds all professional standards that it is obliged to meet.
  • The validity of the enhanced EPPP is established in the very first activity in the development of the exam—the Practice Analysis.
  • Like all reputable certification tests, the ASPPB began its development process for the enhanced EPPP by assembling panels of practicing psychologists who spend years establishing the content outline of the prospective exam.
  • As in the development of certification tests, development of the EPPP-Step 2 included peer review committees who performed comprehensive surveys of employers and practitioners, asking them exactly what the essential requirements of being a psychologist are.
  • To remove the enhanced EPPP as a licensure requirement weakens the ability of psychology licensure agencies to protect the public. The burdens placed upon psychological practitioners to earn licensure must be considered in the context of the public’s right to know that their psychologists are safe.
  • Cost is one of the greatest burdens of the test as early career psychologists (ECPs), and students have limited resources. The enhanced EPPP will add an additional and burdensome expense to ECPs who are already facing financial hardship due to the existing student loan crisis. An additional test will come with both the cost of the test itself as well as the likely burden of test preparation materials.
  • Indirect costs associated with a second exam include lost productivity, lost income, and increased debt due to the additional time required to prepare for the two-part exam.
  • The timing of the exam may be a concern if students are permitted to take the EPPP-Step 1 prior to graduating. Concerns include: (1) whether the process for how schools  approve a student’s eligibility to sit for the exam will be standardized across jurisdictions, (2) whether the EPPP-Step 1 scores will be used as a measure for internship readiness, and (3) whether the exam scores will be used in disciplinary dealings as a measure of success or failure. 
  • Concerns have been raised regarding the validity of the exam after publication of a recent study of exam scores in the state of New York suggesting there might be different pass-rates among demographic groups on EPPP-Step 1 (Macura & Ameen, 2020; Sharpless 2019; Sharpless 2019). 
  • Adding additional steps to licensure may further delay entry into practice.
  • ASPPB (2020) has stated that already-licensed psychologists will not be required to take EPPP-Step 2; therefore, this places an undue burden on early career psychologists in comparison with already licensed individuals. 
  • Additional barriers to licensure may negatively impact the number of individuals aspiring to be psychologists. As individuals seek a career in serving the public’s mental health needs, excessive regulations and hurdles may deter individuals from choosing a career as a psychologist. Psychology may lose highly qualified students to other professions.
  • Some have argued that there is not enough information on the EPPP-Step 2 validity and ability to predict psychologists’ competent care or risk to safety to the public (Callahan et al., 2020).

(The counterpoint positions presented here are arguments that Robin McLeod is developing in a longer article that is in progress.)

  • Validity: Point: ASPPB thus far has failed to address many standard facets of validity including structural validity and stability across subgroups (Callahan, et al, 2020). ASPPB thus far has relied exclusively on unpublished research that has not been subjected to peer review and lacks evidence of external validity. Adoption of a poorly validated and vetted test is in direct conflict with the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (2014) jointly developed by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Psychological Association (APA), and National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), as well as the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.
    • Counterpoint: The EPPP-Step 2 meets AERA, APA, and NCME Standards of Testing (2014). The recent published criticisms of the EPPP (Callahan, et al, 2020) stem from a misunderstanding of which standards govern certification tests. A certification test includes licensure exams which are mandated by state, provincial, and territorial (SPTA) jurisdictions in the practice of psychology. The proper standards to hold the EPPP against are in Chapter 11 of the AERA Standards (2014), which concerns certification testing specifically. Several important points are identified in the AERA Standards: 
      • There is no expectation that a certification test demonstrate predictive validity because the purpose of certification tests is “to ensure that those who are licensed possess knowledge and skills in sufficient degree to perform important occupational activities safely and effectively (AERA, 2014, p. 174).
      • There is no expectation that a certification test must demonstrate construct or structural or factorial validity as many have suggested. “Validation of credentialing tests depends mainly on content-related evidence” (AERA, 2014, p. 175). Further, the EPPP is developed using an IRT Rasch psychometric model, as many credentialing tests are. Since this is not a multidimensional IRT model, there is literally no expectation of complex structure. A Rasch model presumes a single quantitative dimension.  
      • In addition, the notion that a certification test is primarily founded on content validation suggests that critics are misguided who suggest that peer review is somehow lacking in the EPPP. On the contrary, the validation of a certification test takes place under what is probably the most peer-reviewed process in all of testing called a Job Task Analysis. 
  • Diversity: Point: For many years, the profession of psychology has valued diversity within the field and in the general public. There are already documented concerns (Macura & Ameen, 2020; Sharpless 2019; Sharpless 2019) for problematic differential validity of the current EPPP-Step 1 and a potential problem for the EPPP-Step 2. Addition of the EPPP-Step 2 without evidence of validity across diverse populations could further negatively restrict the diversity of individuals entering professional psychology, thus reducing access to care, particularly access to culturally competent care.
    • Counterpoint: The makers of the EPPP-Step 2 are working to address diversity issues in item development. Until the test is implemented, claims cannot be made that the test discriminates against different groups. The research question will be whether there are differential outcomes, and ASPPB has communicated a commitment to conduct such research.
  • Gatekeeping: Point: The mission of ASPPB, and in turn the creation and management of the enhanced EPPP, is to “support U.S. and Canadian psychology licensing boards in meeting their mandate of public protection (ASPPB, 2020).” However, there is no demonstrated crisis in the profession of psychology to need an additional test beyond the existing EPPP. Licensure board complaints are rare (ASPPB, 2019), and it is even more so for complaints to be made against the early career psychologists who are subject to the test.
    • Counterpoint: Licensure exams do not predict public harm. Licensure complaints are made against those who have passed the licensure exam. Further, it is true that there is not a demonstrated crisis in the profession of psychology; however, there is a crisis in the legitimacy of examinations in protecting the public. That crisis is addressed by the EPPP-Step 2. The lack of assessment of competency of licensees weakens the ability of psychology licensure agencies to protect the public. The burdens placed upon psychological practitioners to achieve licensure must be considered in the context of the public’s right to know that their psychologists are safe.
Future directions:
  • There are reasons to revise, or even retire, the previous EPPP to make way for an improved, single test of competence rather than requiring an additional exam for examinees. 
  • If EPPP-Step 1 is retained, timing of when the exam is to be taken should be shifted to pre-graduation.
    • EPPP-Step 1 could be given pre-degree or immediately following coursework. This can reduce costs of study materials. However, state licensing boards would need to approve this move. 
    • If EPPP-Step 1 is moved to pre-degree, there will be additional peer support and loan money to cover costs. This would also mirror medical students’ exam process.
    • Moving the EPPP-Step 1 to pre-degree can help as a gatekeeping mechanism. 
    • Moving EPPP-Step 1 to pre-degree may put additional responsibility on training programs to prepare students to pass.
  • Moving EPPP-Step 1 to pre-degree may increase pass rates by linking the test closer to classroom work.
  • ASPPB and outside entities should study differential outcomes for diverse psychologists through a peer review process.
  • ASPPB and outside entities should continue to provide additional information on validity as test is implemented.

Brief bios
Paul T. Korte, PhD, is a clinical psychologist at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital, Columbia, Missouri, where he serves as team lead of the Behavioral Medicine and Neuropsychology Service and has clinical responsibilities in the Primary Care-Mental Health Integration program. He serves as chair of the Div. 31 Integrated Care Task Force.

Kathleen Ashton, PhD, ABPP, is a board-certified health psychologist and director, behavioral health, for Cleveland Clinic Breast Center. She is president-elect of APA Div. 31. 

Robin McLeod, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in Minnesota, president and chief business development officer, Natalis Counseling and Psychology Solutions, and secretary of Div. 31. She also serves as item writer for the enhanced EPPP-Step 2.

Erika Brink is a sixth-year doctoral candidate at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota and is currently pursuing her predoctoral internship at Washburn Center for Children in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is the student representative for Div. 31.


Stringer, H. (2016, July/August). A new licensure test is on the horizon. What is it and why is it necessary? Monitor on Psychology.

Bradshaw, J. (2020). ASPPB rolls out EPPP-2 – names ‘early adopters’. National Psychologist.

Karr, J., Bailey, T. (2018, May 8). APA Responds to ASPPB about the EPPP Part 2 Exam? gradPSYCH Blog.

Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) (2020). The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP): Frequently asked questions.

Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. (2019). ASPPB disciplinary data system: Historical disciplinary report.

American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, National Council on Measurement in Education., & Joint Committee on Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (U.S.). (2014). Standards for educational and psychological testing. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

Callahan, J. L., Bell, D. J., Davila, J., Johnson, S. L., Strauman, T. J., & Yee, C. M. (2020). The Enhanced Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology: A viable approach? American Psychologist, 75(1), 52–65.

Macura, Z., & Ameen, E. J. (2020, April 9). Factors associated with passing the EPPP on first attempt: Findings from a mixed methods survey of recent test takers. Training and Education in Professional Psychology. Advance online publication.

Sharpless, B. A. (2019) Are demographic variables associated with performance on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)?, The Journal of Psychology, 153:2, 161-172, DOI: 10.1080/00223980.2018.1504739

Sharpless, B. A. (2019, December 12). Pass rates on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) according to demographic variables: A partial replication. Training and Education in Professional Psychology. Advance online publication.

August 28, 2020

Beginning school this fall

COVID-19 has been present for seven months now. Many of us are falling into a routine and have varying levels of anxiety surrounding returning to school or participating in school online. Additionally, many practicums and internships are struggling to decide if they should be in-person or online. Just remember to take a deep breath. You got this! Let’s talk about some strategies to use if you will be online and in-person to make sure you are practicing self-care and advocating for yourself.

Online: We know Zoom fatigue is real, even if you can wear shorts or sweatpants.

  • Take a break. Get up and walk around outside or in your house. Make sure to put plenty of movement breaks in your day.
  • Start or join an online social hour. This will allow you to meet your peers or colleagues and have additional support.
  • Identify what you are grateful for each day, even if it is the little things.
  • Don’t forget about your hygiene. It can be so easy to let this slidebut self-care is important.

In-person: This may be just as stressful as being completely online and that is okay.

  • If you are very uncomfortable about being somewhere in person, it is okay to make that known. Let your peers or colleagues know being six feet apart is important to you.
  • If being in-person does not bother you, that is okay. But be mindful of others and ask how they feel so you know if they need extra space.
  • Identify what you are grateful for each day, even if it is the little things.

No matter what format you are in this fall, check in with yourself and make sure you are getting what you need from your site and school. If you are not, who is a safe person you can reach out too? Identify that person early on and start building a relationship with them. We are all in this together and internships, postdocs, and schools are willing to work with you. 

Erika Brink
Sixth-year doctoral student, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Predoctoral intern, Washburn Center for Children
Student chair, APA Div. 31

May 11, 2020

Surviving your research defense during COVID-19

The end of the semester is finally here! However, it may be nerve-racking if you are preparing to defend your dissertation online. We are in new and uncertain times, so it is okay to feel nervous. This blog post is designed to help you think through some of the logistics of defending your research remotely. 

Check with your program

  • Does your school require a specific platform such as Zoom?
  • Is your defense open to the public, or is it reserved for the committee?
  • Who is the organizer of the meeting — you or your chair? What is the plan if you need to leave so they can deliberate?
  • If it is open to all, will participants be muted?
  • Will people be able to interrupt and ask questions, or can they type and submit them online?
  • Have a back-up plan if things go awry. 
  • Make sure your platform is bomb-proof — meaning no one can just “join in” and potentially throw off your presentation. 
  • Make sure you communicate the plan at the beginning with everyone.
  • Make sure roommates or family are not using the internet so it does not affect your streaming. 
  • Do not have applications running in the background. 
  • Make sure your computer has all the updates the day before, or turn off updates if you do not want new software.
  • Really practice the first few slides. Have them memorized! That way, if there is any hiccup, it will not throw you off because you have practiced the first few slides so often.
  • Practice transitions! There will be minimal hiccups if you are able to do a trial run with friends or your chair. 
  • Add some extra time just in case there are connection difficulties. 
  • Make sure your setup has enough light and is distraction free.
For more information, check out APA’s interview on defending your thesis from home

Erika Brink
Fifth-year doctoral student, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Student chair, APA Div. 31

September 1, 2015

My Journey through Outrage

Like so many of you, my reactions to the Hoffman Report ranged from shock, to disgust, to outrage. I couldn't wrap my head around the report and its findings - that some senior leaders at APA colluded with the Department of Defense in order to allow psychologists' involvement in settings where detainees were being tortured. As someone who has spent the past five years involved in the leadership of APA, I questioned my own judgment, sense of respect for the organization, and passion for engaging in its work. My outrage gave way to embarrassment and sadness. What I previously viewed as a professional achievement now felt like something to hide and run away from.

To make matters worse, the formal responses by APA felt hollow and woefully insufficient. I didn't see my outrage reflected by the organization, and felt anger in response to what appeared to be "managed" communications. Such was my mindset as I traveled to the 2015 Annual Convention - with a heavy heart, and a suitcase full of disappointment.

But then I arrived. I sat in APA's Council meeting among many colleagues and friends. And what I saw surprised me. Despite the stress and horror of everything that had transpired, I witnessed the most civil and respectful Council meeting that I had seen over the past three years. I heard passionate pleas for action, personal stories and perspectives on the underlying thread of racism in what had transpired, a range of emotions, and a general will to do good and correct the course of APA. When resolution NBI 23B (PDF, 650KB) passed (instituting a policy that clarifies the definition of torture and preventing psychologists from participating in interrogations where detainees are not afforded Constitutional protections), via a verbal roll call, I watched the room erupt in excitement. In a flurry of emotion hugs, cheers, and tears followed. This moved me.

Throughout the convention I witnessed a similar constructive and emotional tone. I heard graduate students share and process their reactions in the APAGS town hall, and the views of the larger membership in the general APA town hall. I watched leaders reflect, listen, feel, and (most importantly) truly show remorse and apologize. Through these events, I felt inspired by the genuine desire to take strong action, correct the problems in APA, and address the horrific transgressions that were perpetrated.

I am still outraged. But that outrage is now blended with small glimmers of hope. I believe that there is much work to be done. "Fixing" what transpired goes far beyond the torture issue alone; rather, such a task necessitates addressing larger cultural problems deeply embedded in the organization. Issues of transparency, collaboration, power and privilege, checks and balances, and the disconnect from the voices of the membership must be addressed. This is no small feat.

But I can see a better APA. An APA that is truly a members-first organization; an APA that prioritizes its values and human rights above other interests, such as prestige and profit; an APA that strives to be a force of good in the world above all else.

And building that APA will take time. It will take strong, dedicated, impassioned leaders to help steer the ship back on course, to rebuild the foundation that has fallen. When I first read the report, I (like many) considered leaving APA. Did I really want to be part of an organization where such things occurred? No, I could not stay. 

But then I realized that I had to. Change can only be made by those who are outraged, by those who wish for change to occur. If you choose to leave the table (via your membership or your activity in leadership), you give something up - your voice, which is worth holding on to. For if the most outraged among us - if those who truly value social justice and human rights - choose to leave, change will not occur. We need to stay, and stay loudly.

APA needs the perspectives of graduate students and ECPs to help shape what it will become. It is our future at stake, and our voices must be part of the dialogue. Our outrage can be productive, particularly when combined with passion, hope, and a vision that we can heal. This is why I am choosing to remain a part of the organization. For only with our collective voices can we advocate for a better future - for APA - and, more importantly, for psychology.

Jennifer M. Doran

To keep up to date on the Independent Review and the actions of APA and APAGS, see: Responding to the Independent Review

This article was originally posted on APA's gradPSYCH Blog: My Journey Through Outrage

May 27, 2015

Introductions and Tips for Getting Involved

Getting involved in the efforts of your SPTA can be intimidating, and it can be hard to know where to start. As the incoming co-chairs of the Div. 31 Student Task Force, we wanted to offer a little about our own experiences getting involved, as well as some practical tips for becoming an advocate for psychology in your own SPTA.

Rachel (West Virginia)

My name is Rachel Spero, and I am a rising fifth-year student in counseling psychology at West Virginia University. I am headed to start my internship at the Topeka, Kansas, VA this summer. My first experience with the West Virginia Psychological Association (WVPA) came four years ago as a result of a colloquium my department sponsored on the topic of “How to Become an Advocate for Psychology.” The then-president of the WVPA spoke to us. She was so passionate that after her talk, that I sheepishly went up to her and stuttered that I was interested in getting involved in any way possible. My expectation was to get a brush-off. I mean really, how could a first-year doctoral student be helpful lobbying the legislature? Surprisingly, she was thrilled by my interest and invited me to the next WVPA legislative strategy meeting.

I wanted to be involved but, frankly, going to a “strategy meeting” on a topic I didn’t know much about with a bunch of strangers sounded terrifying. As the date of the meeting got closer, my critical inner voice got louder. “You’re just a student, you can’t possibly be helpful.” “You have no idea what they’re going to be talking about.” “You’re going to embarrass yourself.” The voice got so loud, I almost called to cancel. In a moment of inspiration, I instead picked up the phone and called two of my friends and asked (okay, I begged) them to go with me. When they agreed, I found that I was able to crowd source the courage to make it through the front door.  And thank goodness I did, because there was some really delicious free food (the siren song of starving graduate students everywhere).

If the night had ended there, I would have called gaining the courage to attend and getting a scrumptious steak out of the deal a total success, but it got even better. As it turns out, most psychologists are not expert political lobbyists either. I found comfort in knowing that most of the established psychologists in the room didn’t know all of the steps of getting a bill passed, the names of all of the state representatives or the complete structure of the legislature at the state level (psychologists: they’re just like us). Even better was finding that my own unique skill set was very much in demand. The WVPA wanted to increase their online presence and as it turns out, I’ve earned the title “social media expert” based solely on the amount of time I have spent procrastinating on Facebook. I left the meeting feeling a part of something larger than myself. The psychologists were also so excited to have students there that they encouraged us to bring a new friend to each meeting (think: a psychological advocacy pyramid scheme).

The rest is history. I fell in love with advocacy work, my SPTA and encouraging other students to get involved. The benefits that I have gained from my time with the WVPA include networking with psychologists statewide, which led to some amazing opportunities down the line, making friends in other programs across the state and having unique opportunities that really helped my CV to stand out during the dreaded internship application process. 

Chris (Idaho)

My name is Chris DeCou, and I am a rising fourth-year student in the clinical psychology program at Idaho State University. Much like Rachel, my own involvement in advocacy began at the state level after a presentation by the president and advocacy director of the Idaho Psychological Association at our weekly department brown-bag meeting in 2012. I was encouraged to learn about the ongoing advocacy efforts in Idaho. However, I also was intimidated by the limited involvement of our students in state advocacy at that time. I also noticed thoughts of, “Nobody cares about students’ perspectives,” and, “No students have time for advocacy work.” These thoughts do represent important challenges for student involvement in SPTAs. However, I have found that legislators and our SPTA leadership have been extremely supportive of students who wish to be involved in advocacy, and legislators have been very responsive to phone calls and emails from students.

Another thing I have valued about my involvement in advocacy efforts in Idaho has been the opportunity to learn how to explore and discuss controversial policy issues constructively and discern the competing merits of controversial political initiatives related to the practice of psychology. This process of constructive criticism and refinement of policy initiatives has been very meaningful to me in becoming involved in advocacy efforts, as it has allowed me to bring my own skills as a researcher and scholar to bear on important policy conversations. It has felt like a domain that students may be uniquely skilled at, given their active involvement with thesis and dissertation projects. Thus, research expertise and translational understandings of empirical findings is another important skill set that graduate students can offer their SPTAs and their state legislators, as emerging psychologists with a strong foundation in the current scientific literature. Although we are still building our student advocacy efforts in Idaho, I am encouraged by the growing interest of students and the strong support from policymakers and the Idaho Psychological Association. Getting involved can be overwhelming and it can be confusing to know where to start; however, the benefits do outweigh the risks.

Tips for Getting Involved
  • Find a way in. Check your SPTA’s website, go to a local conference, email the SPTA contact person. See what is happening in your SPTA and offer to help. Also consider reaching out to program alumni who are now involved in your SPTA.

  • Bring backup. Take a few friends with you. Bribe them with food if necessary. Similarly, consider hosting collaborative events/initiatives that include your psychology students’ association and your SPTA.

  • Don’t sell yourself short. You’ve got something to offer. From your knowledge of social media, your topic of research interest, to your level of energy – you have something unique to contribute to your SPTA.

  • Go grassroots. In addition to the broader initiatives SPTAs are pursuing, students have their own issues and advocacy agendas that matter. Don’t be afraid to cultivate student interest in student issues and offer to pursue policy initiatives spearheaded by students within your student organization in collaboration with your SPTA.

  • ACT. APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT) is there to help you learn the basics of how to advocate on behalf of graduate students everywhere.

  • Pick-up the phone, write an email. Never forget that a quick phone call or email to a legislator, commissioner or other policymaker is a powerful advocacy tool and well worth the time.

  • Reap the rewards. Whether it be scoring a prime practicum spot or finding researchers to collaborate with, there is a lot to gain from getting involved.

If you have any questions about getting involved with your local SPTA, please contact your ever-eager-to-help Student Task Force co-chairs, Chris DeCou and Rachel Spero. And as always, we are here to be your voice. Let us know what is important to you.

April 2, 2015

Graduate Students, Div. 31 Is Your APA Home

If you are a student working steadily toward a graduate degree with an emphasis on psychology, then you already know what it is like to feel that you are on a journey. You may have even been told by your family or graduate program that you had started down a new “path” in life when you were accepted into school. Depending upon your educational and career goals, the journey to your degree varies in length. However, the feelings of facing the sometimes ambiguous process of your education and the feelings of uncertainty when trying to achieve the distant goal of completion of your degree, are universal. In some sense, the feelings that emerge are like homesickness. You may be happy that you have begun the undertaking of your educational journey, but you may feel unsure of what lies ahead. For example, when it is time to apply for practicum or internship, most of us tend to want a sense of security to know that we are on the right path.

For students, belonging to an APA division can bring many benefits. Benefits of leadership opportunities and potential scholarship and travel awards. Division membership can also bring with it a sense of belonging to a team with a greater purpose and a sense of security that we can achieve our educational goals. There are many divisions within the APA for students to join. Each division has its culture, history and mission. Most importantly for students, all APA divisions want some student involvement. APA divisions recognize that students, who become involved, may also someday become the new leaders of that division. Div. 31 wants to help students achieve their goals and wants to support students to become the next generation of leaders in the APA and at the local state, provincial and territorial psychological associations.

The mission of Div. 31 is to provide advocacy for state, provincial and territorial psychological associations (SPTAs) and state issues within the governance structure of the APA. Div. 31 facilitates communication among the SPTAs staff and their members to promote and recognize the activities of individual SPTAs and their representatives. Essentially, Div. 31 membership empowers you as a student with information to make informed choices which can support your educational and career goals. Div. 31 membership also affords you opportunities for leadership on the national and local psychological association levels. Div. 31 will also support and recognize your leadership activities and connect you with other student leaders across the SPTAs.

Div. 31 is the home and voice for professionals and students within the APA. Div. 31 is your APA home regardless of what school you attend, where you live, what other APA divisions you belong to, or even what path you choose in the field of psychology. Div. 31 is your home and voice for issues concerning you as a student on the local psychological association level and the national level. Div. 31 is charged to work on the current issues that directly affect students, particularly the internship crisis and reimbursement for interns. No other division of the APA has goals that directly focus on student issues like Div. 31. Which is why Div. 31 is a student’s APA home and membership to students is free.

Div. 31 wants to connect you to the network of other student leaders across states, provinces and territories. As a member, you will have the opportunity to be connected through the Div. 31 student newsletter, the division blog and the Div. 31 student task force blog. These communications will provide you with opportunities for leadership within Div. 31 and at your local psychological association. Essentially, if you have something to say about student issues, want to create real change or just want to stay up-to-date on the issues affecting students, it is time to join Div. 31. Div. 31 needs students in every psychological association to support this network and needs your voice. Div. 31 is your home within the APA that will keep you informed about issues that affect your career in psychology while offering you the opportunities to become a leader to create positive change for all members.

The door to your APA home is open, join Div. 31 for free today. To learn more, you can follow us on Twitter at @APADivision31.

Jean-Ellen M. Metivier
Doctoral Student, Department of Clinical Psychology, Fielding Graduate University
President, Fielding Graduate University Psi Chi Chapter
APAGS DSRN Representative, Div. 31

November 26, 2013

Standing Tall: The Vital Role of Students

We are all leaders. Our field is one of leadership and it is a powerful vision to think of joining together with a loud voice that speaks from compassion, commitment, and expertise in what it means to be human. Take a step this month and to see where the path leads you. Reach out, get involved and use that voice that got you to where you are today to advocate for a better tomorrow. 

Action Steps 
  • Speak to your classmates and colleagues. Find a couple of friends to join you in taking steps towards getting involved. 
  • Make sure to seek out opportunities that interest you. Do not spend precious time on things that you will not be engaged in or passionate about. However, realize that we all change and it is okay to be involved in one area for a while and then decide to get involved in something else later on. 
  • Join APA and seek out student leaders in the divisions you are interested in. Ask how you can get involved in those divisions. 
  • Join your state psychological association and specifically the graduate student chapter of the association when possible. 
  • Join and get involved in local chapters of the state psych associations. These are often nearby and allow you to meet others in your area who can plug you into specific interest groups, etc. 
  • Join APA Div. 31 (State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Association Affairs). Their main goal is to provide you and your psychological associations with useful resources, services and benefits as well as being your voice for psychological association issues within APA. 
  • Join the APA Division 31 student listserv by contacting Connie Paul, PhD. This is where we as students can discuss important things like student debt, healthcare reform, etc. and to brainstorm great ways to get involved in advocacy around these issues. 
  • Take opportunities to give presentations or lead discussion groups in practicum placements or other places where you see a need or a space to do this. This can be in schools, churches, hospitals, clubs, organizations, homes for the elderly, sports teams, etc. 
  • Ask your supervisors, advisors, etc. about ways to get involved in writing or offering psychoeducational materials: Division 31 will publish what you produce in one of its five blogs. 
  • Be confident in yourself and the roles you take on. Remember the importance of psychologists and consider the ways we are needed in our society.

    Nikki Frederick
    APA Div. 31 Student Task Force Chair

August 26, 2013

Div. 31 Symposium on Student Leadership Sets Stage for Next Steps

During the 2013 APA Convention in Honolulu, Div. 31 allotted convention programming hours for student programming, a novel approach that had never been done before because of a low student presence within the division. During the past year, student membership has exploded in Div. 31, and the division is looking for further ways to make it the professional home that students can claim as their own. The symposium entitled “Future of SPTA's Graduate Student Involvement, Leadership, and Innovation” addressed issues about advocacy and SPTA concerns. Speakers included the APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT): Paul Ascheman, PhD; Mike Parent, MS; and Sabrina Esbitt, MA. Greg Wilson, BA, proposed and ran the symposium.

The graduate student leadership presentations (PDF, 2.5MB) focused on what the APAGS ACT looked like from a systems level and how the ACT network is a key player in disseminating information related to science and practice to students across a vast network of student representatives from around the country.

Esbitt focused her presentation on the model of her organization, the New York State Psychological Association, to describe the work and advocacy she has done on behalf of students in New York. She also spoke about the challenge of advocating for the needs of all students in such a large state, in which most of the doctoral programs are located within New York City. Nesbitt’s talk demonstrated why it is imperative that students join their state psychological associations and how they can become members and leaders within these organizations.

Ascheman spoke about the APAGS ACT, first explaining what the network is, how it is commonly used and how communication in the organization is bi-directional, meaning that the team obtains communication from around the country not just on student issues but also on issues occurring within the SPTAs that have huge ramifications for students and training. Lastly, Ascheman discussed the “NY 22” action that took place last year, in which 22 interns would have lost their funding and ultimately that year of training had it not been for the advocacy of students sending more than 3,000 letters to the New York governor’s office. The direct action secured those internship positions and set a precedent for what student advocacy can accomplish.

Finally, Parent spoke about how students can be engaged in advocacy efforts on the front line through his presentation titled “Front-Line Advocacy: Strategies for Boots-on-the-Ground Students.” Parent spoke about the internship crisis and how groups such as those mentioned by Ascheman and Esbitt have and continued to play crucial roles in advocacy efforts on student-related issues. Parent viewed the internship crisis, and advocacy as a whole, through a feminist/post-modern and organizational behavior approach and highlighted that the nature of these advocacy-related efforts are based within social justice causes. His presentation highlighted hierarchies of power and how students can sometimes feel disempowered because of where they find themselves within hierarchal structure.

Overall, the symposium was well received. The participants asked many questions, and excellent dialogue occurred throughout the symposium. Several participants requested contact information for the speakers so they could consult with them. A similar presentation at the 2014 APA Convention is planned. Div. 31 is focusing on generating a pipeline for those interested in advocacy and leadership and continuing to make psychological research and practice relevant to students and emerging professionals.

June 20, 2012

Advisory About Obama's Announcement Regarding Deferred Action for DREAMers

Claudette Antuna, the chair of the Division 31 Student Task Force, forwarded an announcement that clarifies President Obama's executive order regarding so many people within our communities who are at risk for deportation. The clarification follows:
To: Washington State Alliance for Equal Justice Leadership Group

As most of you probably heard, President Obama announced this past Friday that his administration would be granting a temporary form of immigration protection known as deferred action to certain undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States before the age of sixteen, have been living in the US for five years or more and who meet other requirements.... In order to address some of the initial questions, we have prepared a community advisory in English and Spanish (PDF, 233KB) that provides basic information about the announcement. The primary message we want to ensure the community understands is that the administration has not yet announced or put in place a process to accept applications for this new initiative, so no one who is not currently in deportation (removal) proceedings can apply yet. We anticipate that the process will be announced sometime during August but we will send out an announcement when the process is in place. The advisory provides our recommendations on what people who may qualify for this program can do at this point.

Please let me know if you have any questions. We anticipate having additional information in the coming days which we will share with all of you.

Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
615 Second Ave, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104
Telephone: (206) 957-8609
Fax: (206) 587-4025

May 9, 2012

Psychology of Immigration Resources

Please read the report by the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration initiated by former APA President Melba Vazquez. The executive summary of the report (PDF, 408KB) and the full report are available.
A web-based resource "Psychology of Immigration 101" describes this new area of emerging practice. An APAGS webinar on the topic, "Immigration: Things you must know for research, training, and practice," is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, 12:30 to 2 p.m.

For more information, please contact Efua Andoh at (202) 336-6045.

April 24, 2012

Welcome to the Student Task Force Blog

Throughout the next months, the Division 31 Student Task Force blog will broadcast "just-in-time" information about leadership and advocacy skills, and advocacy efforts that affect students.

For instance, Dr. Benjamin, President of the Division, and a first-year member (of a three-year term) of the APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) just announced that BEA has requested that APA authorize three million dollars over a period of three years to provide seed funding to increase the number of APA accredited internship programs. Such funds will be used to assist programs in the application process for APA accreditation including application and site visit fees, program consultation, administrative and supervisor support, intern stipends/benefits or other direct costs in seeking accreditation.

Priorities will be given to those applicants that (1) expand the number of positions, (2) serve underserved populations, and (3) prepare psychologists for the 21st Century health care system, especially for integrated primary care and work in community health centers. BEA recommends collaborating with APPIC in this capacity building effort, and anticipates this program will have a positive impact on the internship imbalance.

Our division is on the vanguard of helping to fix this crisis. Members of our Division will need to lobby the members of the APA BOD and COR in order to change the existing limited efforts that have been meted out to end the internship crisis. More about who to contact and when will be posted later this year.

This policy change will help considerably. In addition, stay tuned for more information about changes in the Commission of Accreditation procedures that also will ease the internship crisis. Both sets of changes will prepare our internship programs to bid and provide services to those who will need behavioral care under the Affordable Care Act (that will open services to 40 million more people). Remember that unless the internship has accreditation, it would not be eligible for reimbursement from federal programs.