Regional conventions start March 5,
2014, and I encourage all students to attend, especially those not graduating
this academic year. Attending a convention this spring will give you ideas
about activities in which you can engage over the following year (or two) to further
enhance the field of psychology and beef up your resume, vitae, or graduate
school application. See what students at your level are working on, talk with
students ahead of you in the job or graduate school process, and meet faculty from
institutions to which you might apply.
Take the opportunity to hear
faculty talk about the research areas you find most interesting and to ask them
questions about their projects. In addition, see what research other students
are presenting and which research projects win a Psi Chi Research Award. Use
that information to plan ahead for submitting your own work next year
(submissions are usually due October or November). If you are graduating soon
and headed to graduate school, pay attention to graduate student work. Here are
some tips to consider before you leave for regional conventions that will help
you make the most of your time there:
a convention app or sticky tabs in the printed program to mark what sessions you want
to see when. Regional conventions have several options almost every hour of the
day. To avoid missing sessions you really want to see while you frantically search
the program, review it ahead of time to decide which sessions are most
important to you. If the convention has an app, you will not only receive
updates if anything in the program changes, you also can use it to create your
schedule. If there isn’t an app, use sticky tabs to mark your program book. And
for any hour that has no competing sessions, consider why that speaker or event
is so important and consider adding it to your schedule. But don’t forget to eat
and check out the local scene. Sessions typically run all day so schedule lunch
and dinner around the sessions you most want to attend.
topical program areas, including Psi Chi. When you are looking for sessions to attend, pay
attention to the organization of the program. Every regional convention has
different areas or tracks, such as teaching, developmental, social, clinical,
professional/career, and Psi Chi. Some have programming planned by graduate
students, which is good to include in your schedule if you are in or will be
applying to graduate school. Of course, make sure to add the Psi Chi sessions
to your schedule, including the Psi Chi Distinguished Speaker! Typically, the Psi
Chi speakers hold an intimate discussion about their research with students in
the hour after their talks.
address labels. Take
advantage of networking opportunities that occur at conventions by bringing along
name and address labels. Sometimes poster presenters run out of copies of their
presentations, or speakers don’t bring enough copies of handouts for everyone
in the audience. In addition to wanting copies of interesting research results,
you may find exhibitors from whom you would like to request information, books,
or merchandise. Bringing your own address labels will make leaving your contact
information quick and easy, and you won’t have to worry about whether people
can read your handwriting. If you print your own address labels, consider
printing some with your e-mail address and some without.
comfortable shoes and be prepared to cover more distance than usual. Even at smaller meetings, you will
likely cover quite a bit of distance as you move among your hotel room, the poster
display areas, paper presentation rooms, exhibit halls, and nearby restaurants
and tourist sites. Do what you need to do to move about comfortably and avoid
blisters and sore feet, whether that is having a change of shoes for walking versus
presenting or packing plenty of adhesive bandages.
dress up—dress professionally.
Make sure that your stylish attire makes you look like you are attending a
professional research convention for students, faculty, and researchers who are
serious about the study of psychology. The faculty attending could be your
future graduate school mentors or peers. The students attending could be your
future professional peers too. No matter how great you look in that outfit, ask
yourself if it is better suited to a night out dancing or a wedding reception
than a professional convention. Your attire doesn’t have to be black and boring
to be professional. You can express your own sense of style, but avoid anything
that might be perceived as too sexy, casual, or trendy. If in doubt, ask a
trusted faculty member for advice.
attending any regional convention.
Although your chapter is located in a particular region, you can attend, submit
a poster to Psi Chi, and win a Psi Chi Research Award in any region. So look at
the location and dates of the regional conventions and attend the one that
makes the most sense for you.