Upcoming Event: Dec 6th Vigil @ UWindsor

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In Toronto, Women Won’t Forget is hosting the vigil at 6pm at Philosopher’s Walk.

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Conference Submissions

Conference deadlines are fast approaching. I wanted to write a brief post about something that I’ve learned from attending conferences over the years, but also from being involved with conference planning as part of the APAGS Convention Committee and the Feminist Research Group. Like many students, I let conference after conference pass by because “I didn’t have anything to present.” Well, I was wrong. And here’s three reasons why:

First, you don’t always have to have a finished dissertation or project or polished piece of work to consider presenting at a conference. Not every conference presentation has to be an earth-shattering piece of research and often the most valuable talks and panels are nothing of the sort. The work you’ve produced in school (e.g., term papers) and the experiences you’ve had (e.g., teaching, practica/ internships, applying for post-docs) have all taught you something, whether it was about a new topic or about what it’s like to be a grad student. Even (and especially!) the things we struggle with as students can be fuel for informative presentations. Presenting on non-research topics is often a matter of reflecting on what you learned and why it’s of value or interest to others. This may be a matter of fit – finding the right conference or division to present with. For example, if you’re a clinical student but the topic involves psychological theory or history, consider applying to these divisions. They often get fewer proposals and there’s a better chance that what you’re speaking about will reach the right audience. Larger organizations often have student sections that you can apply to present with (e.g., APAGS in APA). Though you can typically present on any topic (if you’re a student), these divisions can be a good fit if you want to discuss issues pertinent to the student experience. Also, keep an eye out for smaller, more specialized conferences (e.g., teaching and learning conferences) because they can be some of the best places to meet people and be exposed to current research in your area.

Second, you can reach out to others (via division listservs, department e-mails, friends) to put together panels or come up with programs to present. Yes, this can be intimidating and the process mysterious. If you’re not sure what the procedure is for a division or group, ask a colleague or send an e-mail to the contact person/representative. Often it’s as simple as asking them to forward your proposal to the members to gauge interest. If you have a great idea, consider organizing or chairing a panel discussion. Providing a framework for the discussion, linking each talk, and moderating the session is a different set of skills than simply presenting a paper. Chairing a panel at a conference is a great way to practice this in a relatively low stakes environment. If organizing isn’t your thing, you could also discuss or debate different perspectives on an issue, present several research projects in a similar area (and someone else is Chair), or conduct a workshop on a research method that you’ve used. You might also consider reaching out to community organizations to put together unique panels highlighting what research and practice looks like in the real world! The possibilities are endless. Reaching out to strangers can be a daunting, but it’s a great way to make contacts from other institutions and fields. This may not be for everyone and group work can certainly be challenging, but getting out of your comfort zone can be totally worth it 🙂

Third, it never hurts to try!

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of some upcoming deadlines:

APA (American Psychological Association):

  • CE Workshop Proposals: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, 5 p.m. ET.
  • Division Proposals: Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, 5 p.m. ET.
  • Film Festival: Friday, Dec. 1 through Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, 5 p.m. ET.
  • Associated Psychological Organization Requests: Monday, Jan. 22, 2018

APS (Association for Psychological Science):

  • Symposium submissions: November 15, 2017, 11:59 PM (latest time on earth)
  • Poster submissions: January 31, 2018, 11:59 PM (latest time on earth)

ICAP (International Congress of Applied Psychology):

  • All submissions: December 1, 2017

CPA (Canadian Psychological Association):

  • All submissions: December 1, 2017

Upcoming Event: ‘A Better Man’ Film Screening

For those of you in Windsor, the Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee Windsor-Essex (VAWCCWE) is hosting a screening of A Better Man next week, followed by a Q&A. A Better Man is a Canadian doc by Attiya Khan and Lawrence Jackman. The film begins with Attiya as she meets with her former abuser after many years, and follows their journey to delve into the past. I had the opportunity to see this film with my mother at this year’s Hot Docs festival in Toronto. It’s very interesting. Definitely not a typical story in terms of her former abuser’s willingness to participate in the process so openly, but it’s inspiring. I won’t say too much more, but there’s a lot to discuss after watching the film. If you’re in Windsor, consider checking it out.

Thursday, October 26 from 7-9pm at Caboto Club.

Doors open at 6:30pm.

Donation accepted at the door to purchase and maintain personal safety alarms.

Event details/Registration: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/a-better-man-screening-of-a-canadian-documentary-tickets-38356026909?utm_term=eventurl_text

Upcoming Events: Oct 4th Vigil, TBTN, & Conversations about Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Justice

This post is a brief one, but I wanted to pop in and share a couple upcoming events. The first event is actually coming up today, so it’s a bit last minute but it’s worth a mention:

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And with a little more advanced notice, the Windsor-Essex Take Back the Night 2017 is happening this Saturday, September 30th from 6-9pm. There will also be a post-rally event with food and fun on Maiden Lane! Meet at the Windsor Aquatic Club (401 Pitt St W).

Finally, the 12th Annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil to honour missing and murdered aboriginal women. In Windsor, the vigil will be Wednesday October 4th from 6-7:30pm at Dieppe Gardens.

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And for those in Toronto, the Native Women’s Resource Centre (191 Gerrard Street East) will be having their feast and vigil starting at 5pm on October 4th.

APA 2017 Convention: Weekend Update

Saturday started off with a Food For Thought breakfast with Dr. Deborah Tolman, professor of Women and Gender Studies at Hunter College and professor of critical social psycholog at CUNY. Super exciting! Dr. Tolman spoke about how she got started in her research (adolescent girls’ sexuality and desire) and things she learned during her career. She talked about the importance of understanding your audience and meeting them where they are – especially when your research deals with sensitive topics or non-traditional viewpoints. Check out her talk on the APAGS Facebook page.

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APA 2017 Convention: Thurs/Fri

Another convention done. What a whirlwind! First order of business – acquire ribbons. Second order of business – spend hours deciding what order to attach them to maximize visual appeal. (PS. How pretty is the SPSSI ribbon?! Well done, division 9.)

Now that we’ve covered the ribbons, here are a few of my favourite moments from days one and two.

One of the best things about convention is spending time with people that I don’t have the chance to see very often. This year I had a mini-reunion with my friend Jessica who lives in Chicago. She was invited to speak at the Alternative Careers program (bright and early Thursday morning!) about her work as a trial consultant and her adventure starting her own consulting firm. Exciting stuff! At the session we also heard from Eddy Ameen, speaking about the notion of “alternative” careers, Melissa Menzer about her job at the National Endowment for the Arts (I had no idea they did so much research!), and Jason Cantone about his work at the Federal Judicial Center (during which I learned the term “baby judge school”). It was a strong start to convention 🙂 Across the programs, the speakers discussed thinking about the transferable skills we gain during grad school and the various ways they can be applied in practical settings, conducting informational interviews (it never hurts to try!), advocating for yourself, pursuing varied (read: non-academic) experiences, and paying it forward when the time comes (and keeping an eye out for mentors in the meantime). Great stuff. Very early though, so I’m not sure how many students had arrived at convention yet.

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Dissertation Writing Obstacles: Proposal

I know, I know, do we really need yet another post about the dissertation writing process?! Much has already been written about writing and the interwebs are filled with various resources for students struggling with the writing process. While many of the struggles we face as students are similar (and believe me, the struggle is real!), people work in different ways and a lot of what I read and what people advised didn’t resonate with me. So I thought I would talk about my personal experience in case someone else out there finds it helpful. And besides, reading about writing basically counts as work, right?

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Upcoming Event: APA 2017

My favourite time of the (academic) year – conference season!!! CPA and APS have flown by and APA will be here soon (August 3 – 6). For those of you heading to Washington DC, here are a few of the awesome things that the APAGS Convention Committee has planned.

  • Food for Thought Breakfasts – A chance to hear from established psychologists working in clinical, advocacy, and research positions in an intimate setting. Bonus: free food.
  • Alternative Careers with a Doctorate – This one is always a favourite of mine. If you’re interested in working somewhere other than in clinical practice or academia – this is worth checking out. Each year APAGS invites people with interesting “alternative” careers (e.g., UX research, policy work, jury consulting, research for the National Endowment for the Arts & the EPA, etc.) about how they found their jobs & things they’ve learned along the way!
  • Intro to the R Statistical System – It might not be the most interesting topic (for us non-statsy folks anyway), but it’ll sure come in handy. The farther I get into my research career, I find myself working on projects and research I’d never have anticipated and have found myself wishing I had a broader knowledge of statistical software packages. For this reason, I wanted to highlight this session for anyone in the same boat!
  • APAGS Social – Food. Fun. Frolicking.

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(Above) APAGS Convention Committee planning meeting for 2017 convention

The full APAGS schedule can be found here. And if you’re on the fence about attending, gradPSYCH has posts about why you should attend convention, what to do if it’s your first time, and how to get there.

See you there!

Writing Good Letters

In the academic world, letters make the world go ’round. Letters for grants, scholarships, advocacy, awards, and recommendations are commonplace. If you hang around long enough, you will inevitably be asked to write one. Early on in my academic career, I was asked to write a letter for a student who was applying for a study abroad program, and recently, I was asked by a colleague to write a letter of support for a teaching award. In my experience, students talk a lot about how to locate appropriate references and ask for letters, but don’t really talk about how to write strong letters – especially as a student or early career professional.

I certainly don’t have any expertise in this area (I would love to hear your comments and tips!), but I thought it might be helpful to share a few thoughts for anyone in a similar position.

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