Division 35, the Society for the Psychology of women, is pleased to honor our past president, Dr. Melba Vasquez, as a Great Leader in feminist psychology. Dr. Vasquez is the current 2011 president of the American Psychological Association; she is the thirteenth female president, first Latina president, and the fourth president of color. Over the many successful years of her distinguished career, she has been a strong leader in feminism, multiculturalism, and social justice. She is devoted to mentoring early career feminist psychologists. At the 2011 Midwinter Meeting of the Division 35 Executive Committee, Dr. Vasquez spoke about leadership in the field of psychology, providing encouragement and support for women to get involved.
Dr. Vasquez obtained her doctorate from the APA accredited scientist-practitioner Counseling Psychology program at the University of Texas at Austin in 1978. Prior to that, she was an English and Political Science middle school teacher and was working on a Master's degree in School Counseling when a mentor encouraged her to apply to the doctoral program in counseling psychology. As a first generation college student, she had never considered obtaining a doctorate, but because of the encouragement of her mentor, the entire field of psychology has benefitted. Now she provides similar mentorship to others in Division 35 and the field as a whole.
After earning her doctorate, Melba worked at the APA accredited University Counseling Center at Colorado State University, where she also held a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology. She became internship training director and taught courses in the counseling psychology doctoral program. After four years at CSU, she returned to the University of Texas at Austin as a senior psychologist at the Counseling & Mental Health Center. There she served as internship training director, and taught courses in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program.
While working as a trainer of interns at university counseling centers, she also volunteered as an internship site visitor for the APA Committee on Accreditation. She has sat on committees to organize and coordinate two education conferences, the Supply and Demand Conference, and the Competencies Conference. She was a member of the Education Task Force for reorganization of the now Commission on Accreditation.
After 13 years of university work, she entered full time independent practice, initially planning to do so temporarily, with plans to return to university administration at some point. However, she very much enjoyed independent practice, and found that she was able to continue active involvement in professional leadership, advocacy, and scholarship. She has been in full time independent practice in Austin, TX since 1991.
She has provided a wide range of leadership service, including serving as the current President of APA, President of the Texas Psychological Association, APA Division 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women), and 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology). She is a cofounder of APA Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues), and served as its first Council of Representatives Member. She has also served as a Council Representative for Divisions 17 and 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice). She has served as member of chair on various APA Boards, Committees and Task Forces. She is also a scholar, and has coauthored 4 editions of Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counseling: A Practical Guide (with K. Pope), How to Survive and thrive as a therapist: Information, ideas and resources for psychologists in practice (also with K. Pope) and Ethics for Psychologists: A commentary on the APA Ethics Code (with L. Campbell, S. Behnke & R. Kinscherff), and over 70 book chapters and journal articles. She is a Fellow of 9 APA Divisions, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology. She has received numerous awards and recognitions and the Society for the Psychology of Women is pleased to honor her accomplishments and achievements again today.