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Eye on Psi Chi: Fall 2013

Attendance Tips
for Regional Conventions

Martha Zlokovich, PhD, Psi Chi Executive Director 

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:

Use 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.

Review 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.

Bring 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.

Wear 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.

Don’t 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.

Consider 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.

A high school teacher in Pensacola, Florida, inspired Dr. Martha S. Potter Zlokovich to pursue psychology as a career. She completed her BA in psychology at UCLA, and MS and PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Florida.

Dr. Zlokovich joined Psi Chi in 2008 as its second Executive Director, leaving Southeast Missouri State University after teaching there for 17 years. This move, however, was not her first involvement with Psi Chi. She served as chapter advisor since 1993, as Midwestern Region Vice-President (1998-2000), and as National President of Psi Chi (2003-04). In 1996, Southeast’s chapter won the Ruth Hubbard Cousin’s National Chapter of the Year Award, and several chapter members have won Psi Chi Regional Research Awards at MPA and/or had their research published in Psi Chi's Journal.

At Southeast, Dr. Zlokovich taught Child Development, Adolescent Development, Lifespan Development, Advanced Child Psychology, and Introductory Psychology for Majors. She also served as chair of the department. Her research interests have focused on student study habits, study beliefs, and persistence to graduation as well as adolescent and young adult contraception and sexuality.

Dr. Zlokovich and her husband Neil have two sons and a daughter-in-law. Aaron (Truman State University, 2010) and Stephanie live in Lexington, KY and Matthew is a senior civil engineering major at the University of Alabama.

Copyright 2013 (Volume 18, Issue 1) by Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology



Eye on Psi Chi is a magazine designed to keep members and alumni up-to-date with all the latest information about Psi Chi’s programs, awards, and chapter activities. It features informative articles about careers, graduate school admission, chapter ideas, personal development, the various fields of psychology, and important issues related to our discipline.

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