Darren Bernal, PhD
University of West Florida
If selected to join the Psi Chi Board of Directors my principal areas of focus would be to
a) increase the scholarly activities of Psi Chi members by broadening
the entryway into research activities,
b) increase chapter service projects, and
c) expand membership of underrepresented groups in Psi Chi.
Many students have shared that research becomes easier after their first conference submission or publication. In an effort to increased scholarly activities, I intend to facilitate the first participation of students in scientific conferences by expanding the materials available to Psi Chi members and working with chapter advisors. Additionally, I would work to diminish financial barriers to participation in membership and research. I would begin by working with local chapters, departments, and exploring other options to subsidize membership.
My experience working with organizations that focus on international populations, ethnic minorities, and underrepresented groups may be an asset to the board achieving the goals of the strategic plan. I would also bring experience expanding membership of both a local Psi Chi chapter and large scientific organizations such as the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Finally, I would work to reflect the voice of the Southeastern region by strengthening communication between the regions chapters.
Darren Bernal is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of West Florida, where he has served as Psi Chi coadvisor for four years. He graduated with a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Miami in 2014. His research focuses on the role of socioeconomic status in mental health disparities, mindfulness and performance, and psychological well-being. He serves on APA's Committee for Socioeconomic Status and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues membership committee. His work with Psi Chi focuses on expanding membership, fostering student research, and promoting the impact of the chapter on campus and the community. Under his guidance, the UWF Psi Chi chapter has become reenergized. The chapter has increased active membership, and will be hosting two large events to benefit the local community. Additionally, the Psi Chi chapter has begun sending members to present research at scientific conferences.
Dr. Bernal grew up in Jamaica and Washington DC and is an avid traveller. He teaches study abroad courses on mindfulness, sexuality, and well-being. When he is not teaching, traveling, or researching mental health disparities he can often be found working on his favorite "R&R" plan of rowing and reading.