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Focus on the Future
by Virginia Andreoli Mathie, Psi Chi Executive Director - Psi Chi National Office
Category: Executive Director's Message
The beginning of the new academic year is an exciting time. For many people the fall nip in the air is invigorating and inspires them to think about the future with much enthusiasm. If you are a sophomore or junior, you might be thinking about what courses, research and field experiences, service activities, and leadership positions would help you build strong credentials for your graduate school or job applications. If you are a senior, you might be starting your job search or graduate school applications. If you are a graduate student, you might be planning your master's thesis or dissertation, starting your practicum or internship, or thinking about how to expand your professional network. If you are a chapter advisor, you might be considering ways to engage students in chapter and professional activities. No matter what stage of your professional life you are in, Psi Chi has benefits and resources that will help you as you look forward to the future.
For those of you seeking information about careers in psychology or graduate school, Eye on Psi Chi is an excellent source for articles offering advice on how to build an impressive professional resume, identify career options for people with bachelor's or advanced degrees in psychology, prepare effective graduate school and job applications, and succeed in graduate school or in the job market. As you read these articles, you will note that graduate schools and employers value the skills and knowledge provided by research experiences. I encourage you to talk with faculty members about the best way to get involved in research at your school. To assist you in the research enterprise, Psi Chi has research grants that fund undergraduate and graduate research; research awards that recognize outstanding research conducted by undergraduate and graduate students; opportunities to present research at regional and national conferences; and a journal, the Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research, for publishing high quality undergraduate student research. Dr. Christopher Koch's article in this issue (page 22) provides an excellent timeline for establishing your research credentials and using Psi Chi resources to do so. You can also expand your publication record by writing an article for Eye on Psi Chi. Previous issues of our magazine reveal the breadth of issues covered and the invaluable contributions made by student authors.
Many students are looking for internship or service opportunities to develop the teamwork, oral communication, writing, organizational, and leadership skills so highly valued by employers and graduate programs. Psi Chi currently supports research internships through several programs: the Summer Research Grants, the NSF/REU Grants, and the new Psi Chi FBI National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime Internship Grant. Another new internship program, the Psi Chi/APA Science Directorate Internship Grant, provides an opportunity for Psi Chi members to develop their leadership and administrative skills as well as learn more about psychological science. Leadership and service opportunities also abound within Psi Chi itself. As Dr. Robert Youth points out in his commentary in this issue, people must make an effort to acquire the skills and abilities necessary to be an effective leader. Psi Chi offers many opportunities to do this. Consider organizing a project for one of Psi Chi's national service projects or being a candidate for chapter officer. Ask your advisor for information on how to play a leadership role at the regional level by assisting with the regional conferences or organizing a regional undergraduate psychology research conference. By becoming involved in Psi Chi at this level, you will not only develop your leadership potential, but you will also expand your professional network. If you are a graduate student, remember that as a result of your experience as a graduate student researcher, and member of your undergraduate Psi Chi chapter, you can play a critical leadership role in your current school's Psi Chi chapter while continuing to enhance your own leadership skills and professional network. Psi Chi welcomes the continued involvement of graduate students in its chapters. The Psi Chi National Council is very excited about its new national leadership initiative, the Psi Chi National Leadership Conference. Although we are just beginning to plan the first conference to be held in 2007, we believe it will provide an engaging opportunity for Psi Chi chapter officers to enhance their leadership skills, learn about leadership in general, and leadership within Psi Chi in particular.
If you are a Psi Chi faculty advisor, keep in mind that Psi Chi offers resources, such as the article on page 18 by Drs. Sleigh and Nelson, to assist you in your role as a chapter advisor. Psi Chi also offers grants to support your research and awards to recognize your invaluable contributions as a Psi Chi chapter advisor.
To all of our members, as you look ahead to the next stage of your academic and professional life, remember that Psi Chi has much to offer you. Watch for our announcements on the Psi Chi website, in the email Psi Chi Digest, and in Eye on Psi Chi. I encourage you to use Psi Chi programs to help you achieve your professional goals. Best wishes for a rewarding and successful beginning to the new academic year.
Fall 2005 issue of Eye on Psi Chi (Vol. 10, No. 1, p. 6) published by Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2005, Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.