Wilson Leadership Research Award Winner (2008-09)
Psi Chi is pleased to announce the 2008-09 Kay Wilson Leadership Award for Outstanding Chapter President, Kelly A. Gibson
of Juniata College (PA).
The Psi Chi/Kay Wilson Leadership Award was established to honor Kay Wilson, Executive Officer of Psi Chi from 1991-2003. Under Kay’s leadership,
Psi Chi doubled its membership and increased its grants, awards, and national visibility. Kay not only demonstrated excellence in leadership but also realized
the role Psi Chi plays in developing future leaders in psychology. This award is dedicated to her commitment for leadership.
The award is presented annually to one chapter president who demonstrates excellence in leadership of the local chapter.
Such leadership should assist Psi Chi in achieving its purpose "to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship of the individual member in all ﬁelds, particularly in psychology,
and to advance the science of psychology."
As the winning Psi Chi chapter president, Ms. Gibson received a cash award of $500 and travel expenses to attend the Psi Chi/Eastern Psychological Association’s Convention in New York, NY
to receive an engraved plaque commemorating the award. Please see Ms. Gibson’s personal statement about her role as chapter president.
Kelly Gibson graduated from Juniata College this past May with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a minor in education. In addition to serving as president of Psi Chi, she was the
teaching assistant for the Introduction to Psychology class. Ms. Gibson also worked for Juniata’s Human Resource Department and completed research with the Ofﬁ ce of Institutional Research,
where she studied student satisfaction and retention. Her interest in psychology is in working with children and teens. During her junior year at Juniata, Ms. Gibson interned with the Huntingdon
County Salvation Army, where she helped to coordinate and implement an after-school program. This summer, she worked at a summer camp for children with behavioral disorders. Ms. Gibson plans to eventually work as
a school psychologist. She will pursue a masters degree in education followed by certiﬁcation in school psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania this fall.
When I was elected president of Psi Chi, I had three goals. First, I wanted to develop a stronger chapter with a larger and more active group of members. Second, I wanted to work more with
other clubs on campus to increase visibility. Third, I wanted to increase the number of Psychology Club members who eventually became members of Psi Chi. During my term, I achieved all of these goals, as well as learned a
great deal about group leadership.
To develop a stronger chapter, I started with the large number of people who had registered to be on the mailing list. In order to get as many of these students as possible to come to the
First meeting, we offered incentives. More than 30 people attended this First meeting! The next challenge was to keep them coming back. I planned and announced regular meetings and there was always something going on or
something to talk about. The biggest event was our third annual Battle of the Bands, during which the chapter worked together to raise close to $1,000 for charity. I learned an important part of retaining members is to make
Sure they always feel like they are a part of something and have a purpose in the organization. I made sure to send frequent emails so that everyone was always up to date on current Psi Chi events.
Working with other clubs on campus is a great way to strengthen visibility, keep the chapter active, and support fellow student leaders. Right from the beginning of the year, I worked with the president of Students of Business to organize a bowling
fundraiser. I also spoke regularly with the president of Juniata Active Minds and our Psi Chi chapter helped sponsor a speaker. Because Juniata is a small school and there are always several activities available, working
with other clubs helps to decrease the amount of competition for students’ time.
At the beginning of my term as president, there were only Five Psi Chi members on campus. Throughout the year, I made frequent announcements
about Psi Chi requirements during meetings and in the college’s daily announcement emails. I am proud to say that during my presidency, we inducted 15 new members. Nine of these new members are underclassmen and will still
be around to lead the chapter next year.
During my presidency, I learned a lot about group leadership. My role as president taught me patience and persistence. Even when you are motivated, the rest of the chapter might not be.
Therefore, while it is important to delegate jobs and make sure as many people are involved as possible, it is also paramount that the leader is organized and has backup plans with enough time to implement them. Another key
aspect of leadership is to be passionate and optimistic, even when things are not going as planned. I feel like I have made a lasting impression on those who will lead the chapter in the future.