12 May 2017

How Did You Get That Job? A Q&A with User Experience Researcher Dr. Laura Faulkner

The knowledge, skills and experience gained through your psychology education and training can successfully transfer to a variety of jobs that you may never have considered. As a user experience researcher, Dr. Laura Faulkner, PhD, utilizes her psychology expertise to help companies better understand how people perceive and respond to products or services. In this webinar, Dr. Faulkner discusses her "21-year love affair" in the user experience field. Learn how you can apply your psychology background to a similar career path.

Laura FaulknerSpeaker:

Dr. Laura Faulkner is the head of user experience research at Rackspace, a managed cloud computing company that helps businesses tap the power of cloud computing without the complexity and cost of managing it on their own. She has worked in user experience (UX) for over twenty years at companies and institutions: Pearson, FalconDay Consulting and the University of Texas-Austin. In all her roles, Dr. Faulkner’s focus is on “human beings: users as humans, development teams as humans, leadership as humans, all of whom need information and designs that move them forward in what they are doing and wanting to do. My goal is to collaborate and lead from inception through successful use, to make a difference.”

Garth FowlerHost:

Dr. Garth A. Fowler is an Associate Executive Director for Education, and the Director of the Office for Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training at APA. He leads the Directorate’s efforts to develop resources, guidelines, and policies that promote and enhance disciplinary education and training in psychology at the graduate and postdoctoral level.

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11 May 2017

Can I work here?

Can I work here?

Industrial/organizational psychologists offer their advice for helping job seekers determine whether a potential employer offers a good fit

Workers who feel valued by their employers are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and be motivated to do their best. They're also less likely to want to leave the organization in the next year, according to APA's 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey, which polled more than 1,500 U.S. workers.

The survey also found that work-life fit—or how well a job fits with the rest of an employee's life—plays an important role in employee retention, says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, who directs APA's Center for Organizational Excellence. "Americans spend a majority of their waking hours at work and, as such, they want to have harmony between their job demands and the other parts of their lives," Ballard says. That means that to remain competitive, employers need to create environments where employees feel connected to the organization and have a work experience that's part of a rich, fulfilling life.

How can psychologists determine whether a potential employer will give them that positive experience and work-life fit? Some industrial/organizational (I/O) psychologists point to the importance of matching an employee's values with that of the organization. Others say previous work experiences—such as the factors they did and didn't like about a job or supervisor—are key indicators of what to look for in a new role. Overall, though, determining whether an organization is a good match has to start with a thorough understanding of your career priorities, I/O psychologists say. "It is as much about what your needs and preferences are as it is about the organization," Ballard says.

Look inward. Before the job search, psychologists should pinpoint what their work interests are, says I/O psychologist Edgar Schein, PhD, a professor emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Start by conducting a self-analysis of your career to date to help you determine your strengths, your values and what motivates you—or, as Schein calls it, your "career anchor." His research on career anchors has shown that most people place different amounts of emphasis on the importance of eight categories or preferences. They are technical/functional competence; general managerial competence; autonomy/independence; security/stability; entrepreneurial creativity; service/dedication to a cause; pure challenge; and lifestyle.

So, for example, among clinical psychologists, some want to work for an organization because they are more security/stability oriented, while others want to set up private practices because they want to be on their own.

He points out, however, that often one's anchor can't truly be discovered before spending several years in the workforce. "This really is a deeper level of knowledge about oneself that isn't usually something people know when they graduate," he explains. "They need 10 years of experience to really figure themselves out."

Network with experts. Early on in your career, Schein recommends reaching out to psychologists who are in jobs you can imagine moving into. "Find someone ahead of you in your career and get a sense of what work is like for them at that job," he says.

Determine personal priorities. Job seekers also have to think about their personal priorities and interests before they start their job searches, says Helena Cooper-Thomas, PhD, a professor of organizational behaviour at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. Her point is backed by new research: In a meta-analysis of 92 studies with nearly 35,000 participants, employees whose interest profiles matched their job profiles were more likely to perform better, help others in the organization and stay with the company longer. The study, led by Michigan State University I/O psychologist Christopher Nye, PhD, shows that it's not a person's overall interest in a particular kind of work, but how their interests across various types of work match with the skills and tasks involved in a particular job. The researchers surmise that this match—known as person-environment fit—is a much better predictor of job performance than the more general interest or personality measures often used by college career centers (Journal of Vocational Psychology, 2017).

One way job seekers can determine whether their interests match with those of other company employees is to search for the employer on LinkedIn, Ballard says. There, you can often find employees' public-facing profiles, which can offer insight into the skill sets and longevity of people who work there.

Consider a "misfit" job. Candidates should also consider where they can tolerate or even benefit from "misfit," Cooper-Thomas adds. "If you're the type of person who likes to have fun at work by playing pranks or telling jokes, you probably wouldn't do well in a secure facility, while those with a competitive streak may conflict with the compassionate and calm values found in some health-care settings," she says.

But having knowledge or skills that are different from one's colleagues can result in more innovative ideas and helpful solutions, which can help employees get noticed and accelerate their careers, she points out.

Do more research. Once psychologists determine the factors that matter most to them in a job, they should read up on any organization they are interested in, paying particular attention to its mission or values statement, says Ballard. "Something that's often telling about an organization's attention to employee well-being is whether or not it has something about creating a positive or healthy work environment and supporting staff built into its mission statement or values," he says. He also recommends doing an Internet search using both Google and Glassdoor to see how the organization is portrayed and whether, for example, they've been embroiled in any controversy. "Look not just at the things the organization itself posts, but also the kinds of comments, statements and reactions they get from other people," he says.

Get specific in your interview. Of course, it's always helpful to ask about an organization's culture during the interview process—the drawback is that there is no guarantee that the recruiter's espoused values are the values in use, warns Cooper-Thomas. What can be more helpful, she suggests, is asking your interviewers to be more specific by sharing an incident at work that reveals the organization's values in action. Interviewers could discuss a time they were particularly proud of their employer, for example.

Cooper-Thomas also notes that every organization has different layers of culture, so job seekers should try to ascertain whether they would fit with the people they would work with on a daily basis, such as supervisors and colleagues. She suggests paying particular attention to how employers treat people: Is the receptionist friendly and helpful? Did the interviewers show respect by arriving on time? Did they answer the job seeker's questions honestly?

Gauge your potential support system. Also ask interviewers about the amount of autonomy employees have within the organization, the organization's structure and the kinds of support available, Ballard says. For example, if you're looking for a job where you're providing clinical services, you'll want to know whether there is administrative, billing and collection support.

In addition, pay attention to how formal or informal the work environment appears to be, as well as how diverse and inclusive it is, Ballard says.

And if it's important to you, talk to the recruiter and your potential supervisors about flexibility and work-life fit to find out if you'd have the ability to modify when, where, and how much you work to accommodate your needs.

Think about the "fun factor." Early career psychologists have spent many years studying and planning their career paths, and are usually quite passionate about further developing them, says University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor Ayelet Fishbach, PhD. But when it comes to sticking with a job, people thrive most when they're doing interesting work with people they like, according to research by Fishbach and behavioral science doctoral candidate Kaitlin Woolley (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2015). So, in addition to looking for benefits such as career development opportunities, it's important to consider whether you can expect to enjoy, be challenged, fulfilled and experience social connections in a work setting, the authors say. "A workplace that offers immediate benefits in terms of engagement and enjoyment is a place where people stay," Fishbach says.

Find out what a typical day would really look like. Finally, Schein encourages job seekers to get personal with the people they're interviewing. That means spending time to get to know the one or two people you have met in the organization by asking them why they got into the field and how they like their jobs. This tactic works best toward the end of the interview process, he says, or even as a follow-up call once a job is offered.

"What you really need to find out is not about all the benefits and bonuses that might be available to you, but what you'd really be doing day by day and would the people around you be supportive of that," Schein says. 

Trust your gut

Before you take a job, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Will I be pursuing my true interests in this position?
  2. Will I have the work-life balance I want?
  3. Do my co-workers seem to mirror my values?
  4. Will I feel valued by this employer and in this position?

By Amy Novotney


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28 Apr 2017

How to Earn That ‘Welcome Aboard’

How to Earn That ‘Welcome Aboard’

Excellent interview skills are critical to landing the job you want. Here's how to prepare and follow up.

Some job-seekers think that they don't need much preparation before a job interview because they are outgoing or comfortable talking about themselves. But interviewing "is a skill and doesn't happen automatically," says Julie McCarthy, PhD, professor of management at the University of Toronto Scarborough in Canada. Confidence and strong interpersonal skills will only take you so far in the eyes of a future boss. As psychologists who are experts in the area will tell you, thorough preparation is key because it helps potential employers get a deeper understanding of your competencies, weaknesses and career goals.

"The point of good preparation is not to get a job, but the right job," says Paul Fairlie, PhD, president and CEO of a human resources and organizational consulting firm based in Toronto. That preparation includes thinking about your work history and the competencies you've gained. "It's a lot of work, but once you do this, you'll have a better sense of who you are and the type of job that will engage you," Fairlie says.

Here's some advice from psychologist experts on what to do before, during and after a job interview to boost your chances of getting the right offer.

Before the interview

Research the organization. Search for news articles about the company and read its annual reports, says Paul Yost, PhD, associate professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Seattle Pacific University in Washington. Invite someone who works at the organization to coffee to learn about the company's values and culture. This type of research prepared his psychology students for interviews at Amazon.com. They learned that the concept of "fail fast" is a key aspect of the company's culture—in other words, be proactive with a bias toward action, but constantly seek feedback so you can adapt and change as you go, Yost says.

"With this in mind, they knew to give examples of when they'd been highly proactive and adapted when problems arose," he says.

For academic jobs, study up on the school's financial situation and accomplishments by searching the web and talking to faculty members, says Robert Ployhart, PhD, professor and department chair of management in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

"Ask professors and administrators about the priorities of the department," he says.

Learn about the interviewers. Look up each person on LinkedIn, as well as on work or personal websites, then use this information to connect with them during the interview, says Laxmikant Manroop, PhD, assistant professor of human resource management at Eastern Michigan University. "I always tell my students that the similarity attraction paradigm applies in the job-seeking process," Manroop says. "Interviewers tend to view candidates more favorably when they share something in common."

Find out more about the job. Learn about the competencies and duties that will be required for the position. You can do this by looking at the job description and interviewing professionals in the field or at the organization who can explain what the responsibilities in the job description really mean, says Yost. Also, read about the specific tasks, knowledge, skills and abilities needed for positions like yours on O*NET, the free database that offers information about hundreds of job types.

Develop your narratives. Employers want to hear about problems you faced, the actions you took and the results—known as PAR in the HR world, says Yost. Write one-paragraph PAR narratives demonstrating a variety of competencies. Then rehearse these stories until they come naturally. During the interview, you can decide which narratives to share based on the questions being asked. Yost used this strategy when interviewing for a highly competitive job for a senior human resources specialist position at Microsoft. "I put together PAR stories showing, for example, how I had worked effectively with executives, developed selection systems and dealt with a project that had fallen apart," he says. Yost got the job.

Improve your resume. Add those narratives to your resume, too. "Once you've done the hard work of wording these examples in a resume, you will have an easier time remembering these stories in an interview. It will become your personal brand and message," Fairlie says.

Rehearse. Find someone to role-play the interview with and practice answering expected questions, Fairlie says. Invite the mock interviewer to identify distracting habits, or even better, film yourself and watch the footage, McCarthy says. "Nonverbal communication is critical," she says. "By watching yourself, you may notice that you are fidgeting or not maintaining consistent eye contact, and it is easier to fix a bad habit if you are aware of it."

During the interview

Keep answers concise. "It's much more powerful to give a short, targeted one-minute answer than to ramble," says Yost. "Interviewers can ask questions if they are interested in hearing more details. Research has shown that candidates who speak confidently, with fewer pauses and a little fast are rated more positively by interviewers, so it's better to err on the side of the hare rather than the turtle when it comes to speech tempo during an interview (Journal of Applied Psychology, 2009)

Ask questions. Interviewers often ask candidates if they have any questions—and it's critical that you do, Fairlie says. "Having good questions shows you have initiative, motivation and strategic thinking," he says. Ask about the reporting relationships and work flow of the organization, for example. Inquire about the management style of the person you will report to, and why the position is vacant. Not only will your questions help impress the interviewers, the answers will help you decide if the job is a good fit for you.

Focus on the organization. Talk about how you will add to the organization rather than what you will gain from the job, Yost says. Don't ask interviewers how and when you can expect a raise or promotion, Fairlie says. "It can come across as something that is entitled rather than earned," he says.

Nonverbal cues matter. Arrive a little early, dress appropriately, be polite to everybody, smile and make eye contact. Research also shows that a weak or firm handshake can make the difference between getting a second interview or not, Manroop says. A firm handshake shows resilience, strength and confidence, he says (Journal of Applied ­Psychology, 2008).

Be observant. Get a sense of the organization by noticing the environment and interactions between people during the interview, says Lisa Dragoni, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Business at Wake Forest University. When she interviewed for her current job, she was impressed by the large community space at the school's entrance. "I asked how often it was used," she says. "I learned that faculty, staff and students used the area frequently for meetings and informal gatherings. The school had designed the room and office spaces to foster collaboration. Knowing that was part of my decision."

Stay engaged. It's important to show consistent energy throughout the meetings, Dragoni says. "I've sat on a number of selection committees, and I've been surprised how often faculty will say that candidates didn't seem very interested. I wondered if this was because the applicants were tired at the end of the day."

After the interview

Send a thank-you note. Ask for each interviewer's business card, and send each of them a tailored letter, either handwritten or via email, says Yost. "Don't send a generic note," he says. "Mention something specific that you are excited about doing in the role and how you can contribute," he says. "Even if you don't get an offer, this will help employers remember you when the next job opens up."

Be ready to negotiate your salary. Gather information about the salary range for the job—websites like APA's Center for Workforce Studies are good places to start. "The first person to name a figure loses, as the old adage goes," Fairlie says. It's ideal to ask the employer to give a salary range to start the negotiation process, but if candidates are asked first, "the best way to respond is to ask for more information about the job, showing you understand the link between job responsibilities and compensation," he says. Once the employer makes an offer, feel free to ask for time to think about it.

Follow up. If you don't get an offer, call an interviewer after a few weeks to ask for feedback about why you didn't get the job, Dragoni says. "If you ask people for input, they are usually open to having a conversation," she says. "Ask what the basis for the decision was, what you could have done differently or better, and then thank them for their suggestions."

Stay connected. Invite the interviewers to connect with you on LinkedIn because these contacts may become important for networking in the future.

By Heather Stringer


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25 Apr 2017

How Did You Get That Job? A Q&A with Mediator Dr. David Gage

The knowledge, skills and experience gained through your psychology education and training can successfully transfer to a variety of jobs that you may never have considered. Mediator Dr. David Gage, PhD, uses his psychology expertise to prevent and resolve conflicts between business partners and family business co-owners. In this webinar, Dr. Gage discusses his experience as a mediator and as a founder of his own company, BMC Associates. Learn how you can apply your psychology background to a similar career path.


David GageSpeaker:

Dr. David Gage is the founder of BMC Associates, a multidisciplinary team of mediators with backgrounds in business consulting, law, finance and psychology that specializes in preventing and resolving conflicts in a niche population: business partners and family business co-owners. Dr. Gage says his interest in business, and his psychological training in couples, groups and family systems, prepared him to be part of a team approach with this undeserved population.

Host:

Dr. Garth A. Fowler is an Associate Executive Director for Education, and the Director of the Office for Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training at APA. He leads the Directorate’s efforts to develop resources, guidelines, and policies that promote and enhance disciplinary education and training in psychology at the graduate and postdoctoral level.

This webinar series is based on, and borrows its name, How Did You Get That Job?, from the popular column in APA’s monthly member-magazine, The Monitor on Psychology.

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21 Apr 2017

10 Tips for Speaking Like a Ted Talk Pro

10 Tips for Speaking Like a Ted Talk Pro

Advice from the experts on how to make any presentation sing

Psychologists and graduate students are often called upon to speak to an audience, whether to give a conference presentation, deliver a lecture to a class, lead a meeting or give a talk in the community. But public speaking is a skill that comes more naturally to some than to others, and there are some common pitfalls to avoid, such as seeming disorganized or looking down at notes rather than at your audience.

Regardless of how practiced you may be at public speaking, there are some very effective strategies to use to deliver engaging talks. The next time you have a speaking engagement, try these tips to deliver your message like a TED Talk presenter:

1. Know your audience.
Keep in mind whom you are going to be addressing when you craft your presentation, says Robert Sternberg, PhD, a former APA president who is a professor of human development at Cornell University. Is the audience going to be mainly fellow psychologists, health professionals, other professional groups, students or consumers? What do they want and need to hear? Knowing whom you are speaking to will help you tailor the talk and will help keep the audience engaged.

2. Keep it simple, especially if you're going to give a talk to a general audience.
"People have a tendency to give presentations the audience doesn't understand," says Barry Schwartz, PhD, a psychology professor emeritus at Swarthmore College and a visiting professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He suggests giving a talk that makes people feel like they're smart and like they want to learn more about the topic. "The curse of knowledge is that once you know something, you forget what it was like when you didn't know it," he says. "I imagine that I'm going to present to my grandmother, who had a fifth-grade education."

3. Emphasize connection over content.
To best engage listeners, build your speech from an emotional place rather than from the content, says Kristi Hedges, leadership coach and author of the 2011 book "The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others." Rattling off facts and figures and talking at the audience isn't effective if they aren't interested in what you are saying. "Be clear about what you want the audience to walk away with when they leave and use that intent as a structure to frame your talk," says Hedges. Your passion for a topic can draw people in; talking without any enthusiasm for the topic can deplete energy in the room and eclipse your message. "Talk to persuade, not just to inform," adds Sternberg.

4. Be authentic.
Some speakers may try to sound like someone they admire instead of being themselves, notes Daniel Gilbert, PhD, professor of psychology at Harvard University. "Some people try to sing like their favorite singer or dance like their favorite dancer," says Gilbert. "Similarly, some speakers may try to sound like Martin Luther King Jr. or John F. Kennedy." Authenticity—sounding like yourself and using everyday language—is key to getting your message across to an audience, says Gilbert.

5. Diversify your delivery.
People don't learn just by listening—different people learn in different ways, says Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, APA's 2016 president. Use visual tools (such as slides or a video), incorporate research and tell stories. Anecdotes can be a particularly effective way to connect with an audience. "It could be a story about yourself, especially if you're using humor and making fun of yourself," says McDaniel. One important tip to keep in mind about multimedia presentations: Don't let the technology obscure what you're trying to say, says Schwartz. "PowerPoint is incredibly powerful, but use it to get halfway there, rather than expecting it to do the whole job for you," he says.

6. Shake it up.
Another reason to use different media in your talk is to make it more dynamic and compelling. "Using mixed media creates energy and vibrancy," says Hedges. Think about ways to use slides, video, audio, handouts, props and even spontaneous smartphone polls to engage your audience. You might, for instance, start with a video and then use powerful images later in your talk, says Hedges. Or you can begin with an engrossing question and use the audience feedback as data with polling software such as Poll Everywhere.

7. Stick to your points.
Before you talk, determine your main points and outline them, says McDaniel. Some people refer to notes on stage while others may use PowerPoint or Keynote slides as prompts. One cautionary tip: Avoid simply putting the text of your speech in slides. "Writing out the words you'll be saying on slides is boring," says McDaniel. "Slides should be used for emphasis."

8. Know the setup.
Have a run-through in the space you'll be speaking at if possible, especially if you'll be talking in front of a large audience. Test the tech system during that practice run to troubleshoot possible problems in advance. For instance, the sound may not run properly with your video or your slides may be set up behind you (which would mean you'll have to constantly turn your head to see where you are in your talk).

9. Don't lecture the whole time.
Keep in mind that people don't have long attention spans. If you need to explore a topic deeply, use humor, an engaging video or other media to present various aspects of the topic. You can also break up a long talk by posing questions to the audience, suggests Hedges.

10. Leave time for questions.
Talking until the last minute is a common mistake many speakers make, says Hedges. If you have an hourlong presentation, plan for 45 minutes of talking and 15 minutes for questions.

A Ted Talk on Ted Talks: To watch a video on how to give a great talk, go to www.ted.com/talks/chris_anderson_teds_secret_to_great_public_speaking.

By Katherine Lee


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20 Mar 2017

How Did You Get That Job? A Q&A with Legal Consultant Dr. Christina Studebaker

The knowledge, skills, and experience gained through your psychology education and training can successfully transfer to a variety of jobs that you might not have considered. Litigation Consultant Christina Studebaker, PhD, uses her psychology expertise to help evaluate cases and develop trial strategy by conducting small group jury research studies in which 30 to 50 people participate in a mock trial or focus group study. In this webinar, Dr. Studebaker discusses her career path and how you can apply your psychology background to a similar career.

Speaker:

Dr. Christina Studebaker, PhD, is Vice-President of ThemeVision LLC, a consulting firm that provides trial consulting, graphic design, and opinion research services. Studebaker has over a decade’s worth of experience with juror and jury decision making as a trial consultant. Prior to joining ThemeVision, Dr. Studebaker spent three years at the Federal Judicial Center, conducting empirical research on the judicial system. She also served as a professor of psychology for several years, teaching both undergraduate and graduate students. Most recently, she served as the Associate Program Director in Forensic Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Studebacker has authored articles published in Law & Human Behavior on topics such as pretrial publicity, damage awards, expert testimony, and juror decision making.

Host:

Dr. Garth A. Fowler is an Associate Executive Director for Education, and the Director of the Office for Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training at APA. He leads the Directorate’s efforts to develop resources, guidelines, and policies that promote and enhance disciplinary education and training in psychology at the graduate and postdoctoral level.

This webinar series is based on, and borrows its name, How Did You Get That Job?, from the popular column in APA’s monthly member-magazine, The Monitor on Psychology.  You can read Dr. Studebaker's interview from the June 2016 issue here. The magazine is a benefit of membership with APA.

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08 Mar 2017

Fellowship Opportunities at APA and Beyond

Fellowship Opportunities at APA and Beyond

Fellowships provide funding, support research, and enable researchers to study at desirable places while gaining great field experience. Fellowships are also hard to find. So, we’ve found some for you, listed below.

APA Congressional Program

  • Description: APA's Congressional Fellowship Program places fellows as staffers for a member of Congress or as Congressional Committee staffers for one year.
  • Why it’s great: This program provides psychologists with an invaluable public policy learning experience and an opportunity to contribute to the effective use of psychological knowledge in government. This program also broadens awareness about the value of psychologist-government collaboration within the federal government.

APA Executive Branch Science Fellowship Program

  • Description: The APA Executive Branch Science Fellowship Program places a psychological scientist in a federal executive branch agency with a science-related mission for one year.
  • Why it’s great: The fellowship offers placement in esteemed national agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy, and provides additional learning opportunities through a science and public policy seminar series administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and APA.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (MHSAS) Fellowship

  • Description: With grant support of $793,978 per year from SAMHSA, this fellowship is offered by APA’s Minority Fellowship Program, and provides financial support, mentoring, and professional development for 24 doctoral fellows and one postdoctoral fellow per year.
  • Why it’s great: The MHSAS Fellowship is designed to support the training of future practitioners in behavioral health services and prevention, and provides potential leaders with specialized experience in providing direct services or developing policy for ethnic and racial minority communities.

APA Services for Transition Age Youth (STAY) Fellowship

  • Description: The STAY Fellowship receives grant support of $532,000 per year from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA) for funding, mentoring, and professional development of up to 40 fellows at the master’s level per year.
  • Why it’s great: The STAY Fellowship is uniquely designed for students in terminal master’s programs in psychology whose training prepares them to provide mental health services to transition age youth (ages 16 through 25) and their families.

Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship

  • Description: Sponsored by the American Psychological Foundation (APF), the fellowship awards $25,000 for graduate students in child psychology.
  • Why it’s great: Not only does the fellowship provide development opportunities for students who are in the process of shaping their careers in various areas of psychology, but it also provides support for scholarly work that contributes to the advancement of psychology.

Summer Science Fellowship

  • Description: The APA Summer Undergraduate Psychology Research Experience Grants program offers up to five grants to college and university departments to support undergraduate research assistantships in psychology laboratories for six to eight weeks during the summer to provide undergraduate students with research experiences.
  • Why it’s great: This fellowship is uniquely designed to provide undergraduate students who have little or no prior laboratory experience with the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of how scientific research is conducted.

While students themselves are not able to apply directly for an opportunity grant, APA makes it very easy to forward the grant announcement to teachers or department chairs and request that their school participates. APA provides funds to pay each student at the institution’s current rate of pay for undergraduate research assistants.

APAGS/Psi Chi Junior Scientist Fellowship

  • Description: The Junior Scientist Fellowship provides support for students in the early stages of a research-oriented graduate program with funding for a research project so they can gain research experience.
  • Why it’s great: In addition to providing research experience, the fellowship also serves to increase recipients’ chances of securing a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship in the future.

Here are a few fellowships that are offered outside of APA that might be of interest as well:

APA-IUPSYS Global Mental Health Fellowship

  • Description: The APA-IUPsyS Global Mental Health Fellowship enables psychologists to contribute to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, for one year. Fellows focus on issues related to the WHO Mental Health Action Plan following an orientation period at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
  • Why it’s great: The fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a psychologist to contribute to WHO’s work and be involved with international mental health policy and implementation.

The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s Predoctoral Fellowship in Gender, Sexuality and Health

  • Description: The predoctoral fellowship, funded by a training grant award from the National Institute of Child Health and Development, Population Dynamics Branch, offers PhD applicants who are planning on entering doctoral training programs in the fall substantial funding, guaranteed for up to five years.
  • Why it’s great: The predoctoral fellowship is the nation’s first multidisciplinary doctoral training program in gender, sexuality, and health, and is designed to prepare students for research and teaching careers focusing on the role of gender and sexuality in shaping reproductive and sexual health, both nationally and globally.

Jacquelin Goldman Congressional Fellowship

  • Description: The fellowship offers up to $90,000 to developmental and clinical psychologists with existing experience working with children for the enhancement and promotion of psychologist-government interaction among psychologists and within the federal government.
  • Why it’s great: Fellows with an interest in public policy related to the psychological development of children will gain an unparalleled learning experience, attending a two-week orientation program on congressional and executive branch operations and participating in a yearlong seminar series on science and public policy issues.

Here are some other policy-related fellowships to consider:

James Marshall Public Policy Fellowship (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)

  • Description: This postdoctoral congressional fellowship provides the opportunity to apply psychological research to the analysis of social and science policy. Fellows enjoy access to a range of AAAS Fellowship professional development opportunities and support throughout the fellowship year and beyond.
  • Why it’s great: Knowledge of policy processes at the national level is “desirable” but not required, which means candidates who are interested in policy but don’t have a lot of experience in the policy field still have a chance.

The Dalmas Taylor Memorial Summer Minority Policy Fellowship

  • Description: The fellowship, jointly hosted by APA, provides graduate students of color with an opportunity to work on public policy issues for two to three months each summer in Washington, D.C.
  • Why it’s great: This fellowship is perfect for grad students who have committed to a career with a focus on ethnic minority issues.

Special Note: All applicants for the Dalmas Taylor Fellowship are strongly encouraged to apply for the APA Minority Fellowship Program Summer Institute.  Preference will be given to applicants who apply to both!

Society for Research in Child Development Policy Fellowships

  • Description: The SRCD offers both congressional and executive branch fellowships for postdoctoral scholars from a variety of disciplines who demonstrate exceptional competence in an area of child development research.
  • Why it’s great: Fellows are offered access to staff members of the SRCD Office for Policy and Communications in Washington to be used as a resource throughout the year. Following the fellowship, fellows move on to a wide variety of careers in academia, public policy, or research.

Capitol City Fellowship Program

  • Description: Graduates of master’s degree programs are placed in city agencies to participate in public policy making at the local level, and are given the opportunity to meet with city officials during the fellowship.
  • Why it’s great: The program simultaneously prepares fellows for government public service at the local level, and develops their management abilities.

Leaders for Health Equity

  • Description: This is a new fellowship program for early career health-care professionals offered by The George Washington University and funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies, with a focus on health disparities, designed to develop leaders in the advancement of health equity.
  • Why it’s great: The fellowship combines traditional in-person and online learning, and helps students build comprehensive knowledge of national and global health disparities.

Public Health Fellowship in Government

  • Description: Offered by the American Public Health Association, this fellowship offers placement in the House or Senate, and fellows are given the opportunity to work on legislative and policy issues such as creating healthy communities; improving health equity; and addressing environmental health concerns, population health or the social determinants of health.
  • Why it’s great: Fellows receive the opportunity to enhance public health science and practical knowledge in government.

Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellows Program

  • Description: This fellowship offers mid-career health professionals and behavioral and social scientists who are interested in federal health policy with an opportunity to work directly with health policy leaders.
  • Why it’s great: More than 250 RWJF fellows have participated in the policy process at the federal level and have applied that leadership experience to the improvement of the health-care system, public health and health policy.

White House Fellowship Program

  • Description: This fellowship provides early career professionals who hold a record of achievement and leadership with the opportunity to work with White House career staff and with Cabinet members. White House fellows typically spend a year as full-time, paid assistants to senior White House staff, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials.
  • Why it’s great: The mission of the program is for fellows to return to their former or new occupations more experienced in public policy decision-making and better prepared to contribute to national affairs.

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01 Mar 2017

How Did You Get That Job? A Q&A with FAA Manager Dr. Paul Eckert

The knowledge, skills, and experience gained through your psychology education and training can successfully transfer to a variety of jobs that you may never have previously considered. As Manager of Strategic Planning for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Dr. Paul Eckert, PhD, uses his psychology expertise to lead goal development and performance measurement for the world’s largest aviation safety and air traffic control organization. In this webinar, Dr. Eckert shares his experience about his career path and how you can apply your psychology background to a similar career.

Speaker:
Dr. Paul Eckert is Manager of Strategic Planning for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), within the Office of Policy, International Affairs, and Environment. He plays a key role in maintaining and improving the safety and efficiency of commercial aviation and space transportation. Eckert has also worked at NASA, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Boeing Company’s space exploration division. He is a former APA Congressional Fellow who worked in the office of Sen. John Breaux (D-La.).

Host:
Dr. Garth A. Fowler is an Associate Executive Director for Education, and the Director of the Office for Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training at APA. He leads the Directorate’s efforts to develop resources, guidelines, and policies that promote and enhance disciplinary education and training in psychology at the graduate and postdoctoral level.

This webinar series is based on, and borrows its name, How Did You Get That Job?, from the popular column in APA’s monthly member-magazine, The Monitor on Psychology. 

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30 Jan 2017

How Did You Get That Job? A Q&A with Health Policy Consultant Dr. Le Ondra Clark Harvey

Want to use your psychological background and training to inform and guide lawmaking? If so, you should consider a job in policy consulting.

APA member Dr. Le Ondra Clark Harvey, PhD, leveraged her skills into a chief consultant job for the California State Legislature. Find out how you too can use your own psychological expertise to land a similar job.

Speaker:

Dr. Le Ondra Clark Harvey is the Chief Policy Consultant to the California State Assembly Committee on Business and Professions. She and her staff analyze legislation that impacts hundreds of thousands of licensed professionals throughout California and makes policy recommendations to legislators. Prior to her promotion to Chief Consultant, she worked as a principal consultant to the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development and as a health policy consultant to the office of Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. 

 

Host:

Dr. Garth A. Fowler is an Associate Executive Director for Education, and the Director of the Office for Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training at APA. He leads the Directorate’s efforts to develop resources, guidelines, and policies that promote and enhance disciplinary education and training in psychology at the graduate and postdoctoral level.

This webinar series is based on, and borrows its name, How Did You Get That Job?, from the popular column in APA’s monthly member-magazine, The Monitor on Psychology.  You can read Dr. Clark Harvey's interview from the January 2017 issue here. The magazine is a benefit of membership with APA.

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03 Aug 2016

The Life-Changing Power of Mentors

The Life-Changing Power of Mentors

Midcareer psychologists talk about the mentors who shaped their careers.

Selecting a mentor can be one of life's most important decisions. "Mentors are crucial whenever people are faced with new phases of their career or life that require the development of new knowledge, skills or attitudes," says mentoring expert Drew Appleby, PhD, professor emeritus at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "Mentors help people determine who they want to become, how they must change in order to become these people, and how they can take advantage of their college or work experiences to bring about these changes."

Mentoring takes many different forms, ranging from the formal arrangement between a student and adviser in graduate school to informal relationships people develop throughout their careers. Midcareer mentoring is often informal and starts somewhat spontaneously, Appleby says. "You may meet someone, have a conversation and suddenly realize you'd like to be like this person," he says. "If this person shows a genuine interest in you, that is an ideal way for mentoring to begin."

Psychology practitioner Jean Carter, PhD, of Washington, D.C., says a variety of mentors helped her navigate such important transitions as selecting a graduate school and moving from a shared space to her own office.

"Informal mentoring can be a single meeting, episodic or ongoing," Carter says. "It can be as simple as one time when you talked to someone who gave you an insight that influenced your career. If you are open to those mentoring moments, they are more likely to happen."

The Monitor interviewed five midcareer psychologists for insights on how they found their mentors, how their mentors helped them succeed and how they are paying it forward by mentoring others.

Kavita Murthy, PhD: counseling psychologist in Austin, Texas

How did you meet your mentor?

 

Kavita Murthy, PhD (credit: Eric Coleman)
Kavita Murthy, PhD

I met my mentor Larry Bugen about 13 years ago when my colleague and I were interested in starting a private practice. We were looking for office space when Larry, a well-known couples psychologist, was downsizing his practice. Friends connected us. As I shared office space with Larry, we got to know one another and started to realize how much we thought alike. He was 20 years older than me, so there was that affection of a fatherly figure and I looked up to him, but it never felt like a superior-inferior relationship. It was more like we were equals.

 

How did your mentor help you succeed?

Larry had a lot of confidence in me and believed in me when I wasn't able to believe in myself. One year, for example, I gave a talk at the Texas Psychological Association's annual meeting about couples therapy and trauma, and he sat in on my two-hour workshop. After it was over, he told me it was a good workshop, but I had deferred too much to other people's work during the talk. He encouraged me to believe in my own ideas and theories and spend more time on that.

He also wasn't afraid to share with me the mistakes that he made from time to time. When I was hesitant to take on a couple due to the potential legal issues involved, he would share what he would have done differently when he took on a case that was similar. When I felt too biased toward one person in a couple, he would tell stories of when it happened to him. He also taught me that it's OK to make mistakes, and that I could get through any mistake if I worked to repair it.

How are you paying it forward by mentoring others?

I have taught various counseling classes and practicum courses at the St. Edward's University master's of counseling program in Austin, which gives me an opportunity to supervise people who are working in the field. I always choose to teach in an experiential way and I'm not afraid to show my own vulnerabilities and mistakes. Larry taught me to be real, and that's how I want to be with mentees. During the live demonstrations, I try to give positive and encouraging feedback rather than simply pointing out what they've done wrong.

Now I'm entering a phase of life in which people are starting to seek me out to be their mentor, and that is a new thing for me. Mentoring others inspires confidence and wisdom in my skills as a therapist. I cannot believe I've been on this journey for 20 years. It's time to give back and I am eager to do so.

Jane Halonen, PhD: professor of psychology, University of West Florida

How did you find a mentor?

Jane Halonen, PhD (credit: Silver Image/Michael Spooneybarger)
Jane Halonen, PhD

I met my mentor in the library. When I got my first teaching job, I had zero background and didn't really know what I was doing. Out of desperation, I went to the library and found a book by Bill McKeachie called "McKeachie's Teaching Tips," and every problem I ran into he addressed in that book. I started having personal contact with him when I joined a grant for a book that was looking at critical thinking in psychology. When it was time to do the acknowledgements, I approached him and he said, "Of course." I ended up interviewing him for a later book project, and we bonded in a way that made me feel like the person who was the most knowledgeable about teaching was in my court. He was not only exquisitely smart about teaching, but also a very humble and gentle human being.

How did your mentor help you succeed?

Bill has an incredible capacity to help people get excited about learning, and that is something I adopted. He also reinforced the importance of making things better in the classroom and this helped me find a niche of scholarship that was satisfying to me. Before this, research seemed like more of an obligation, but he showed me that collecting data about how students learn is really interesting.

Bill also taught me that even as the professor, I didn't have to be the smartest person in the room. If I didn't know the answer to a question, I could just say, "I don't know." I found that advice so liberating. I use such moments to elicit student opinions and point out the opportunity to think critically.

How are you paying it forward by mentoring others?

When I see people who are excited about teaching, I try to show them helpful resources, such as the APA Div. 2 Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology. For new faculty in my department, I take them to lunch and let them know I'm happy to answer any questions.

Career development is also becoming a higher priority in undergraduate education. So, I teach my students how to be good critical thinkers, but I also recognize that I am getting them ready for the workforce. I take seriously the fact that the majority of my students are not going to graduate school, and I incorporate activities to prepare them for things like job interviews.

Marietta Collins, PhD: associate professor, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta

How did you find a mentor?

Marietta Collins, PhD (credit: Michael Schwarz)
Marietta Collins, PhD

I was in my third year of graduate school when I applied for a research assistantship with Nadine Kaslow, who worked in psychiatry and behavioral sciences. We shared an interest in providing mental health services for underserved populations, which had not been an emphasis in my clinical psychology program. I hadn't been able to find a mentor, and she was someone I could connect with. She was a very open and available person. She was also interested in helping me figure out where I wanted to go professionally and how to get there.

How did she help you succeed?

Nadine believed in me and encouraged me in a way that nobody else ever had. I was an African-American in a predominantly Caucasian field, and she believed there was a place for me not only as an African-American, but also as a researcher focused on underserved populations. She was one of the first non-African-Americans I felt I could talk openly with about race issues.

Nadine also created opportunities for me professionally. When she was writing an NIH grant about pediatric sickle cell disease, she invited me to be part of the process. Once she received funding, I helped with the study. This experience helped me when I went on to write grants of my own.

When I had my first child, she was also available to talk about the importance of being a mother and how to balance my career as a psychologist with being a parent. She helped me set goals and believe I could successfully navigate both of these roles.

How are you paying it forward by mentoring others?

When I was part of Nadine's research lab as a graduate student, I helped to bring other African-American students to the lab. I had the opportunity to supervise and mentor these students, interns and fellows. Once I was a faculty member, I formed the African-American Training Research Lab, which is a support group for African-American women in psychology. We have co-authored a couple of articles, including one about the importance of mentoring for African-American trainees in psychology. I also hold an annual potluck at my home for incoming minority trainees to give them an opportunity to network with one another and other minority faculty members.

Sue Frantz, PhD: psychology professor, Highline College in Washington

How did you find a mentor?

Sue Frantz, PhD (credit: Brian Smale)
Sue Frantz, PhD

I wasn't actively looking for a mentor when I met someone who turned out to be a mentor for me. I was working at Highline College when I was serving as the director of Project Syllabus for APA's Div. 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology). I had heard of Ruth Ault because she was the director of the Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology. I met her for the first time in Florida in 2005 because we were both readers for the AP psychology test. Throughout the week, we had time to socialize and she encouraged me to go to APA's Annual Convention. I thought the convention seemed overwhelming, but she suggested that I focus on division activities.

How did your mentor help you succeed?

When I attended my first convention, Ruth invited me to sit next to her at the division's annual meeting and introduced me to people. She helped me understand what Div. 2 was about, how APA works and who the people were in the organization. This background helped me move into leadership positions, such as a member and later a chair for the Committee for Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges. I also served on APA's Membership Board. Currently I'm vice president for resources for the division and a college representative for APA's Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools. When I was thinking about creating ToPIX (Teaching of Psychology Idea Exchange), a wiki of teaching resources, she provided valuable advice on how to move that idea forward.

How are you paying it forward by mentoring others?

I used to go to conferences with the goal of learning something new for myself. That's still a goal, but not the primary one. Now I want to meet people who are new to the profession to find out what they want to do. I have conversations about the starter opportunities in APA, like being a reviewer for different resources. In January, APA's Early Career Psychology Committee had a social, and I had wonderful conversations with several people. Five years ago, I also started a blog (SueFrantz.com) about technology you can use that is specifically geared for instructors. I started it because I think there are a lot of instructors doing things the hard way, and I wanted to share ideas with them.

Sue Frantz, PhD: psychology professor, Highline College in Washington

How did you find a mentor?

William Buskist, PhD (credit: Tracy McDaniel)
William Buskist, PhD

I was a graduate student at Brigham Young University in a new experimental psychology program when I found my mentor. Initially, I was involved in research on errorless learning, but I discovered I wasn't all that interested in it and switched major professors. I was intrigued by the work of a new professor in the department, Hal Miller, who was fresh from Harvard where he had worked with the matching law. He was interested in applying the matching law to human behavior and I switched to his lab. The more work I did in the area, the more fascinated I became with this line of research. I also enjoyed being around Hal — I liked his work ethic, the way he treated people and his interest in helping his students succeed in whatever they attempted to learn.

How did your mentor help you succeed?

Hal represented the kind of professional I wanted to become. He showed me it is important to take an interest in the individual, and modeled that by being extremely generous with his time. I fell in love with what I was doing as a graduate student, and I would wait for him to show up at his office nearly every morning because I was so eager to share what I was learning or my ideas for a new study. Even though I was probably a pest at the time, he took it in stride and always supported me.

He also encouraged me to take the next steps in my career. For example, we had replicated some research on birds with humans, and he suggested that I send my data to the author of the research we replicated. I eventually met the researcher and we stayed in touch, and that connection led me to my position here at Auburn University.

How are you paying it forward by mentoring others?

About eight years after I started at Auburn, the department chair asked me to help him revamp our introductory psychology course. At the time, the department was using only graduate students to teach the course. These first-time instructors had received no training for teaching and were unsupervised while they taught. He asked if I'd be interested in developing a training program for new graduate instructors. I created two graduate-level courses on teaching and a teaching fellows program. More than 100 graduate students have gone through the program and of those, seven have won national teaching awards.

Overall, I try to involve graduate students in every aspect of my work, and always publish graduate student co-authors. I get so much satisfaction from watching these students succeed, whether it's giving their first lecture, publishing research or landing their first job.

  • Reach out to a professor.
  • Attend APA's Annual Convention and approach someone with like interests.
  • Assist a researcher involved in a study that interests you.
  • Serve on an APA committee, board or project and network with people in the group.
  • Reach out to a practicing psychologist who has expertise in your specialty.
  • Explore APA resources that offer mentoring at www.apa.org/gradpsych/2005/01/mentor-find.aspx.
  • Think about what you need in a mentor and start looking for these qualities in people you meet.
  • Get involved in smaller state or local psychological associations.
  • Approach someone during a field placement while in graduate school.
  • Attend social gatherings offered by psychology departments or APA divisions that give you an opportunity to network.

By Heather Stringer


Interested in Mentorship? Read our collection of articles on Mentorship curated specially for APA members and affiliates.

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