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Eye on Psi Chi: Fall 2006
Student Memberships Lead to Greater Opportunities in Psychology
Christopher Koch, PhD, George Fox University (OR)

McCannon and Bennett (1996) found that students typically do not become members of organizations because they are too busy, and when they do join it is usually to list membership on a resume and to meet people with similar interests. They concluded that advisors need to be more purposeful in promoting the benefits of student memberships. There are a variety of benefits of membership in Psi Chi that are regularly covered in the Eye on Psi Chi. However, should you become a member of another psychology-oriented organization? If so, what are the benefits of membership in organizations like the APA, APS, or WPA, for example?
The short answer to whether or not you should become a member of a psychological association is "yes." Student membership demonstrates a level of commitment to the profession and provides opportunities to network and learn from other psychologists at conventions and through publications. However, national, regional, and state psychological associations offer more than networking and conventions to their members.
National Psychological Associations
The APA and the APS are national associations that support the science and practice of psychology through publications, conventions, advocacy, and other programs. To become a student affiliate member, students simply have to be enrolled as a full-time student pursuing an associate, bachelor's, or graduate degree in psychology or a related field at an accredited degree-granting institution.
American Psychological Association
The 2006 annual membership fees for a student affiliate member of the APA are $45 for graduate students and $27 for undergraduates. Graduate student affiliates are automatically members of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS). APAGS is a student-run group that expresses the needs of students to the larger organization and is responsible for student-oriented programming and the annual convention. Undergraduates can join APAGS for an additional $18. Student affiliate members receive the American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the association, and the Monitor on Psychology, APA's monthly magazine. Members also receive a $10 credit toward an APA journal subscription. Journal subscriptions are discounted up to 60 percent for members. Registration fees for the annual convention are also reduced for student affiliate members. Finally, the APA Insurance Trust offers competitive insurance rates for counseling and clinical graduate students.
In 2006-07, the APA is providing a special membership offer for Psi Chi members. Psi Chi student members and chapter advisors who join APA for the first time will receive a free copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Use the special APA membership application form in this issue of Eye on Psi Chi or on the Psi Chi website (www.psichi.org) to participate in this special offer.
Association for Psychological Science
Membership fees for the APS are reduced for both graduate ($58) and undergraduate students ($35). The APS is offering an additional dues offer of $25 for Psi Chi student members who join APS as new members in 2006-07. See details of the special APS membership offer and how to apply on the next page of this issue of Eye on Psi Chi or on the Psi Chi website (www.psichi.org).
As part of your student affiliate membership in APS, you receive Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, and Psychological Science in the Public Interest along with the Observer which is the monthly news publication of the association. An archive of these journals is available online along with in-press articles. You are also eligible for a number of grants and awards including the Student Research Competition, Travel Awards, and the Research on Socially and Economically Underrepresented Populations (RiSE-UP) Award. Additionally, there is the Student Grant Program which provides $250 awards for graduate student members and $100 awards for undergraduate student members for the purchase of research materials prior to data collection. Student members also receive discounted registration fees for the annual APS convention.
As with APAGS, the APS Student Caucus (APSSC) provides an opportunity for students to become actively involved in the advancement of psychological science. APSSC is a self-governed body of graduate students, with an undergraduate representative, responsible for student-oriented programming at the annual APS convention. In addition, APSSC sponsors student grants and awards and manages a mentorship program.
Regional and State Psychological Associations
Student membership is also available for the regional psychological associations (e.g.,WPA). Membership fees are reduced for students. Regional membership, for some regional psychological associations, is automatic if you are a member of APA or APS and complete the membership form. You can also join with the endorsement of a faculty sponsor. The primary benefit of student membership in regional psychological associations is reduced regional conference registration fees. Regional meetings provide tremendous opportunities for student presentations and networking. Psi Chi has a program at each regional meeting and strongly encourages chapters and members to attend their appropriate regional convention. Information about Psi Chi's programs at regional conventions and links to the regional psychological associations can be found HERE.
State psychological associations (SPA) are somewhat varied in the degree to which they involve student members. Although the majority of SPAs are aimed at professional psychologists, some SPAs actively involve academic psychologists and students (e.g., the Virginia Psychological Association). SPAs do hold annual conventions which provide additional presentation opportunities, networking, and learning about psychology. SPAs are particularly oriented toward the legal issues associated with the practice and science of psychology at the state (and federal) level. Therefore, membership and involvement in a SPA would be an excellent beginning point if you want to learn more about advocacy and the legal efforts necessary for psychology to advance as a discipline. You can check to see if your SPA has a student membership category at www.apa.org/practice/refer.html.
Summary
Membership in national psychological associations, like APA and APS, and regional and state psychological associations can play an important role in your development as a psychologist. As with most memberships, the extent to which you benefit from membership in these organizations is directly related to how actively you take advantage of the opportunities they provide. To receive the maximum benefit from these organizations, I recommend becoming a member of your regional psychological association and at least one national organization. Become familiar with all of the student programs available to you through these organizations as well as Psi Chi's programs at their annual conventions. Develop a plan for using these programs over the next two years. Read the journals you receive as a member in APA or APS. These journals are highly regarded and provide excellent sources of the latest and most influential research in psychology. Finally, attend at least one convention per year. The opportunities the conventions provide for learning and networking can have a significant impact on your career as a psychologist.
Reference
McCannon, M., & Bennett, P. (1996). Choosing to participate or not: A study of college students' involvement in student organizations. College Student Journal, 30, 312.

Chris Koch, PhD, received a BS in psychology with honors from Pennsylvania State University, a MS in experimental psychology, and a PhD in cognitive-experimental from the University of Georgia. He is currently in his 12th year at George Fox University (OR) where he has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology, Director of External Scholarship, and headed University Assessment. During that time, he has also promoted research in psychology by planning a biannual undergraduate research conference, editing the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Psychology, and working with youth organizations and local high school classes on psychologically-based research projects. He has served as a councilor for the Psychology Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research and the President and Western Region Vice-President of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology. He has held a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities at the University of Virginia, was a Fulbright Scholar to Russia, and is a fellow of the Western Psychological Association. His primary research interests focus on the interaction between attention and cognitive and perceptual processes.

Copyright 2006 (Volume 11, Issue 1) by Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology



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