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From Hawaii to Washington, DC: Spring Conference Opportunities Abound for Those Who Plan Ahead!
by Rebecca M. Stoddart, 1999-2000 Psi Chi National President - Saint Mary's College
Category: Presidents' Messages
Welcome back to another exciting year as a Psi Chi member! This special edition of Eye on Psi Chi, our Summer Orientation Issue, is devoted to helping you make the most of the numerous benefits that Psi Chi has to offer. Because the Editor and Psi Chi Executive Officer Kay Wilson and Associate Editor Dan Bockert have worked tirelessly on this issue to include information for the newest Psi Chi member through experienced faculty advisors, I urge you to look carefully over the Table of Contents so you don't miss anything this year.
I'm going to devote just a few paragraphs to giving our newest members and chapters a "heads up" on one of Psi Chi's largest benefits to you: the opportunity to present your research and attend one or more of the regional and national psychology conventions at which Psi Chi sponsors student paper and poster presentations, as well as a whole schedule of events tailored to your academic and career interests.
Never heard anything about going to one of these conventions before, or why you should think about attending one? Please take a minute to go to the Psi Chi website, www.psichi.org, and click on the link to "Conventions." There you can read about the exciting sessions that Psi Chi sponsored at the eight spring and summer 2000 psychology conventions held around the country. These include nationally known speakers such as Philip Zimbardo, Ludy Benjamin, and Robert Cialdini, plus our famous sessions on "Great Jobs With a BA in Psychology" and "Getting Into and Surviving Graduate School." To find out which conferences are scheduled in your region of the country for spring and summer 2001, see page 68 in this issue.
Hundreds if not thousands of Psi Chi members attend these conferences each year, and what they tell us over and over is, "This is the best experience I've had as a psychology major. Next year we're going to bring our whole chapter!" "Next year more of us are going to submit our research and present it in one of the Psi Chi poster sessions!" "Next year we're going to start fundraising earlier so that more of us can come to this conference!"
My second "heads up" to you is that the only way to get to one of the conferences is to start planning now! For example, while the first conference isn't until March 2001, you have to send in an abstract and brief summary of your paper by October 15 in order to present a paper or poster there. An added incentive is that by submitting a paper for presentation, you become eligible to win one of the 78 Psi Chi Regional Research Awards of $300 each for papers presented at these conferences. If you look at the page titled "Calendar" in this issue (page 8), you'll find a list of important dates for Psi Chi, including the deadlines for submitting papers to all of the regional and national conventions. Write down the date for your region on your school calendar, post it on your Psi Chi bulletin board and e-mail list, and remind your faculty advisor each week! And start working soon on your paper submission.
Planning now for the expense of travel and hotel accommodations to attend a conference will go a long way toward helping you and your chapter achieve your goal of attending your regional and/or national conference. My chapter is located only 100 miles from Chicago, the annual site of the Midwestern Psychological Association Convention, so we can drive there, but your regional convention may be located far from your school. How much will it cost to fly? To charter a school van or bus? To stay in the hotel for two or three nights? To eat in restaurants?
Many chapters around the country pride themselves on their successful fundraising, which enables them to bring 50+ Psi Chi members to a convention each spring. But this takes planning! For fundraising tips, you can check the Psi Chi website and click on "Chapter Activities," then open "Fundraisers" (you may also refer to pages 34-35 of this issue). And don't forget to apply for funds from your Student Government Association, which may help fund students who attend conferences.
If all of this sounds a little overwhelming right now (and probably is, especially if you haven't even bought your books yet), take heart. You're a member of Psi Chi! You can do this! It just takes planning. I hope I've whet your appetite to attend one of the psychology conferences across the country and to participate in the wonderful events that Psi Chi sponsors at each. Best of luck with all you hope and plan to achieve this year!
Summer 2000 issue of Eye on Psi Chi (Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 3, 10), published by Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2000, Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.