A Note on Conference Collaborations

Prior to conference deadline season, I wanted to write a brief post about collaborating on research panels and workshops. Frankly, collaboration wasn’t really on my radar prior to becoming involved with APAGS and Convention Committee. I remember wanting to present at larger conferences (like APA or CPA) and being disappointed that the divisions I was interested in weren’t accepting individual talks. What ended up happening more often than not was that I ended up submitting a poster or not submitting at all.

I didn’t really know how these things came together but I had vague notions that everyone must know each other or come from the same school or have worked together in the past. Though this may be true in some cases, many times it’s not. The first time I was asked to be part of a panel with people that I had never met, it was through the APAGS Convention Committee and I assumed that it was something that was common for us but not everywhere else. I was WAY off on that one! I quickly realized that’s how a lot of presentations happen, and since then I’ve been much more proactive in trying to bring people together.

If you have a project or a rough idea for a conceptual frame that might span several related talks – take that seed of an idea and reach out to your network to see who else has work that might be a good fit. At this point, the idea doesn’t have to be fully formed as chances are that it’ll evolve as the participants bring their work and feedback to the collaboration. Don’t be afraid to develop something new for convention – if you have a good idea, you can usually find people with the right expertise to make it happen.

Where do you find these people, you ask?  

  • Divisions/Sections – If you’re a member of a division or section (like Division 45 or SWAP), make use of the listserv if there is one, or email the chair with your idea. the chair can then forward it to the division or point you in the right direction. Remember, these divisions/sections exist to connect people with similar interests and further research, teaching, or practice in the area. Make ’em work for you!
  • People you know – People know people. They know people that you don’t know, and who might be working on projects that would be appropriate. Simply asking around is a great way to meet new people and stay connected to old ones.
  • Pass it on! If you see a call to collaborate or are asked to jump in on something that’s not really your area, send the email to a colleague or pass along someone’s contact info who might be a better fit. This is how strong networks are made and as your network expands, more opportunities will be sent your way 🙂

A final note – some of your collaborations won’t come together for one reason or another. It can be hard to disappoint people, but these things happen and people generally understand. Collaborating is a great way to hone your leadership and organizational skills and get your work out there. All good things 🙂


Upcoming Event: Impact of Policy on Indigenous Children’s Access to Services Research Talk

For those of you in the Windsor area, Dr. Sinha from McGill University will be presenting on the impact of social policies on Indigenous children’s access to services. It looks like a great talk. I’ve asked about the possibility of streaming it or making it available online (I’ll keep you posted!) for those of us non-locals 🙂

P.S. The RSVP deadline has been extended to Monday, November 5th.

Dr. Sinha

Upcoming Events: “The Business Costs of Domestic Violence” & Sisters in Spirit (Oct 4th) Vigils

Apologies for the late notice, but if you’re in the London area tomorrow there is a public presentation by Dr. Vara-Horna, visiting scholar to Western from Peru. His talk is titled, “The Business Costs of Domestic Violence” and he will be speaking about evidence-based strategies to prevent and respond to domestic violence in the workplace. The talk is hosted by the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children. If you can’t make such short notice, there is also a webinar on Friday, October 5th from 12 – 1:30pm EST.5

VAW talk 1

Second, the annual Sisters in Spirit vigil (October 4th) in honor of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada is coming up this Thursday.

In Windsor, the vigil will be held at Dieppe Gardens from 6 – 8pm (see agenda below):


In Toronto, there are two Sisters in Spirit vigils:

  • Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto will be hosting a candlelight vigil and moment of silence at Allen Gardens at 5:30pm
  • YWCA Toronto Women’s Shelter will be hosting a moment of silence and vigil at 7:30pm

If you can’t make it out, NWAC (Native Women’s Association of Canada) has published a Community Resource Guide with information and actions that advocates, supporters, and educators can take to support the community and wok to end violence against Indigenous girls and women. Download the guide here

Resource: Informed Opinions Learning Hub

For those of you who have followed the blog for a while, you may recall an earlier post about being misquoted in the news. Part of the issue is that I’m not great at conveying my meaning clearly in a news-friendly way – further evidenced by the fact that none of the material from my interviews about the Athena award actually made it into the final articles. If you’ve ever seen me communicate in person, this probably comes as no surprise. At times, I’m at a loss for words and at other times I have too many words – meaning that I like to provide context for what I’m saying or describing.

What this all boils down to is that communicating with the media is a skill. The Informed Opinions learning hub with a variety of resources aimed to help women find their voice and communicate clearly as women are still under-represented in the media (see the research & about portions of the site). The organization also does a number of other things, such as connecting journalists with qualified, diverse experts via a database, but I wanted to highlight the Learning Hub in particular. There are trainings and resources on a variety of topics (training on written & oral communication, interviews, writing commentary, being strategic & increasing your impact) and if you expect to cross hairs with the media during your career, I would encourage you to check it out. And if you don’t expect to interact with the media, the trainings are also valuable for communicating with other stakeholders and audiences (think knowledge translation/mobilization), so again, I would encourage you to check it out.

Link: Informed Opinions Learning Hub

As always, this will also be added to my ‘Favourite Things‘ resource list.


Upcoming Event: Ending Sexual Violence & Harassment (Conference)

The CAMH Institute for Mental Health Policy Research is hosting a 1-day, free conference on sexual violence prevention for researchers, clinical and prevention practitioners, policymakers, and students. Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment: Current Research and Prevention will be held on September 24, 2018 from 9:00am – 3:30pm in the Bell Gateway Building at CAMH. The line-up looks great, so if you do work in the area and can make it to Toronto – check it out! Details are below and on the Eventbrite page (Register Here!).

CAMH Ending SV n Harassment

Research Randomizer

Just a quick post about a new resource I’ve added to my Favourite Things list on the  Research page (Research Things!). Simple, useful, and easy to use, Research Randomizer is a website that will generate random numbers within your specifications so you can both randomly sample and randomly assign. The website has easy tutorials on how to use the tool for your specific research-y purpose.

Research Randomizerhttps://www.randomizer.org 

And if you use the tool in something you’ll be publishing, here’s the suggested citation:

  • Urbaniak, G. C., & Plous, S. (2013). Research Randomizer (Version 4.0) [Computer software]. Retrieved from: http://www.randomizer.org/



APA 2018 Convention

Sorry folks! Usually I write my recaps a bit sooner, but I jumped right into internship (yay!) the day after convention it’s been a busy few weeks. As the semester is gearing up and my head is in the internship-clouds, I’ll keep this short and sweet. Where to begin…

This year’s convention was in the hot-yet-freezing city of San Francisco. It was my first time visiting and it’s certainly an interesting spot. I loved the legacy transit vehicles that are in use and it was fun to “spot” different cities as they passed (Hi TTC! Hi Detroit!). Amidst the beauty, San Francisco has a lot of poverty but also a lot of community activism and strength. Interestingly, after convention I came across an example of this in the health equity literature for my internship. Corburn and Cohen (2012) write:

“In Richmond, California, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, one-third of residents live at or below 200% of the federal poverty line, over 60% of the population is African-American, Latino, or Asian-American, one in seven people are unemployed, residents live with elevated concentrations of industrial and mobile source air pollution, and it is one of the most violent cities, measured by per capita homicide rates, in the United States. In Richmond, African-Americans have the highest rate of infant mortality, low-birth weight babies, and asthma hospitalizations in Contra Costa County, and residents of the Iron Triangle neighborhood, one of the poorest in the city, die on average 13 years earlier than their wealthier white neighbors.”

In the same article the authors describe the “Measuring What Matters” initiative, which came out of a partnership between community-based organizations and the health department, and aimed to identify areas of priority (and corresponding indicators) for the community in terms of health care inequities. The project has been ongoing since 2012 and the Richmond Health Equity Partnership continues to track progress and work towards equity on these indicators. On Sunday, I had a few hours to explore the city outside of the convention center and I came across many beautiful works of public art that highlight some of the ongoing struggles and concerns faced by the community.

Now, onto convention! Kicking off Thursday morning was a conversation with Dr. Stephanie Shields of Pennsylvania State University at the APAGS Cafe Chat. We made a circle and Dr. Shields was kind enough to let us pick her brain about research and her career. There were a few pieces of advice that stuck with me. First, keep a “mother CV” where you record absolutely everything and keep it updated. That way, when it’s time to apply for jobs or reflect on your professional journey, it’s all at your fingertips. Many of us already do some form of this (best intentions!), but remembering to keep it up to date when we’re busy and not actively job searching is a challenge. Schedule a time to review your CV on a regular basis, such as monthly or at the beginning of every semester. Second, keep all of the “life justifications” that you write. Y’know, all the awkward statements you write when applying to grad school and then again for scholarship applications and then again for teaching statements and then again for grant applications, and so on and so forth. Well, if you haven’t noticed already, if you plan to remain in academic settings you’ll basically have to keep writing these things for the rest of time. So you might as well (a) keep them and (b) use them as part of your reflective process. Dr. Shields spoke about looking back on the statements she’d written to identify growth and things to work on. To be honest, prior to that conversation I thought of those statements as a sort of necessary evil – painful to write and never to be thought of again. I’m fairly certain I’m not alone in that, which is a shame because it seems like a lost opportunity for scholarly development. And really, if we have to spend the time writing them, it makes sense to get as much out of it as possible.

APA 2018 1

When not in APAGS programming, I mostly attended teaching presentations on a variety of topics (e.g., scaffolding for millennials and rubrics). I may write about some of them in later posts, but one study that was particularly interesting was presented by Dr. Alvin Malesky of Western Carolina University. Dr. Malesky and team were interested in learning more about how students actually cheat in online courses. A very timely topic. Essentially, the researchers ran an online intro psych course exactly as if it was a regular course (including listing it with the registrar) but invited half of the students to cheat however they wanted. They even provided one student with funds to hire an online service that will take the course on your behalf. All of the students also completed journals about their perceptions of assignments (e.g., how much time they took, workload, etc.). Long story short, the instructors were not able to tell who was cheating (despite knowing that half the class was) and the assignments that students who were not cheating found most challenging were the ones that were the easiest for the other group of students. Overall the study raised more questions than answers about what this means for teaching, but several suggestions were made. Since first generation methods like turn-it-in are not sufficient for detection, and since instructors themselves are unable to tell, the panel suggested that mindful course design and use of engagement strategies may decrease instances of academic integrity violations. Interesting research design and certainly a lot to think about!

As always, the APAGS social was amazing – good drinks, good food, good people – but this year, we were also celebrating APAGS’ 30th birthday (#APAGSturns30) so we basically had a big birthday bash (complete with cake!). Afterwards, I ended up at baseball game – unfortunately, that’s about as sports-specific as I can get with the details. The stadium (ballpark? arena? who knows…) was right on the water and had a beautiful view of the water from several vantage points (though I have been told that there are no bad seats at a baseball game). The following night was the Division 30 social, which was a lot of fun and filled with colourful characters 🙂

There were a number of other excellent presentations (and I certainly have a number of reflections about the city), but I want to wrap up by talking about Convention Committee. This year was my third and final year on the committee 🙂 Unfortunately, this year we didn’t have a dinner with all the APAGS staff and other committee members, which was a little sad but I hope our paths will cross again. Convention itself was amazing and tiring and fun and I learned many things (as usual). As for the committee, I’m grateful to have had the chance be a part APAGS leadership and to have met so many fantastic people from around the world. I hope to continue my journey with APAGS in the form of an elected position, and you can read a bit more about my campaign on the Member-at-Large, Candidate Statement page.

Upcoming Event: Non-Citizen Voting, a Discussion

Apologies for the last-minute-ness of this post, but I wanted to pass this along because it’s important. And it’s especially important to staying informed and involved in our communities and governments in our current political climate. This Monday (in Toronto), Why I Should Care is hosting a discussion about non-citizen voting in municipal elections.

Read the blurb (and then RSVP!):

Dr. Ruth Koleszar-Green, Co-Chair of Indigenous Council at York University, and Chantal Desloges, one of Toronto’s top immigration lawyers, leads our discussion on August 20 about whether or not municipal voting should be opened up to non-citizens.

Since municipal politics mostly pertains to issues affecting day to day life, and not national affairs, perhaps it is time to rethink who gets to cast a ballot. Voting in municipal elections are historically low to begin with and people who have lived, pay taxes, and are active in this community for years are left without a voice. Should voting be based more on residency than citizenship requirements?

Many Indigenous people choose to not interfere with Canadian political governance structures thanks to the traditional understanding of Two Row Wampum and Dish with One Spoon Wampum. If municipal elections were based on residency versus citizenship eligibility could this increase Indigenous populations’ participation in elections that have such a great impact on their lives?

Now that Toronto is about to halve the number of representatives, having strong voices advocating for vulnerable populations is more important than ever.

Where & When: The Madison (14 Madison Ave) at 7:00pm (talk at 7:15pm)

RSVP here!

P.S. It’s free!

Upcoming Event: APA 2018!

10 days to go until the 2018 APA convention in San Francisco! This is bittersweet as it marks my last convention with the APAGS Convention Committee. I had the privilege of staying on for a third year and I couldn’t be more grateful. Becoming involved in APAGS is an amazing opportunity to develop leadership skills, learn how APA works, advocate for students, meet amazing people, and shape the future of psychology. If anyone out there is thinking of applying to a position with an APAGS subcommittee – go for it.

Ok, back to convention. APA has some great speakers scheduled and as usual, APAGS is planning a number of fun events, workshops, and talks – starting bright and early Thursday morning with a Cafe Chat (the re-branded Food-for-Thought breakfasts) featuring Dr. Stephanie Shields. This year, instead of a suite, the APAGS programming that’s not in the main convention areas will be at The Wave in the exhibit hall. We also have some surprises to celebrate APAGS 30th birthday this year (#APAGSturns30) – including a give-away of 30 gift certificates worth $30 each! One thing that won’t change is that our Thursday night social should be amazing. This year it’s at B Restaurant and Bar on the rooftop of the convention center. As usual, you can pick up your ticket at the APAGS booth in the exhibit hall. At the social, we’ll let you know how you can win one of those fancy gift certificates (it’s easy, I promise!). Hope to see y’all there!

Here are some helpful links to get you prepped:

  • APA Convention Program (online, PDF)
  • For students, download the APAGS 2018 Convention program here and check out the APAGS FAQs page
  • Keep up to date before and during the event with the Convention twitter (tweet tweet!)

PS. Two words. GOAT. YOGA. Do you really need another reason to attend convention?!?!?! I think not.


Rant and a Resource

As promised, a brief rant. Recently I came across an article about a new and (as far as I can tell) primarily abstinence-based anti-sexting campaign in Windsor-Essex (#KeepYourPrivatesPrivate). One goal of the initiative is prevention – to keep young people from sexting by educating them about the potential long-term consequences (and therefore preventing them). Obviously, I’ve simplified the messaging but that seems to be the gist. This is a laudable effort and in the campaign media, one of the scenarios does address non-consensual distribution of someone else’s images which is nice. My first concern is about the focus of the campaign. Certainly, harmful effects could be avoided if no one ever sent nudes – but when the central focus is on abstinence (and therefore the image-sender), it can be a quick jump to victim blaming when things go awry [see Albury & Crawford’s (2012) analysis of the Megan’s Story campaign] and also runs the risk of shutting down conversations about how to navigate online relationships. For example, discussions about boundaries, coercion, and consent in digital spaces, healthy sexual expression, readiness for sexual activity (even in online spaces), and technology-facilitated sexual violence. This relates to my second concern, which is that some studies suggest young people are already aware of the potential risks/consequences (though some may not be fully aware of legal consequences), devoting resources to educating them about consequences is probably not the most effective way to prevent harm and allow young people to flourish. In order to better support young people, we have to make space for difficult conversations instead of shutting them down.

I have a lot to say on related topics – but I’ve tried to pare down my message to the most useful objections. Now, onto the resource!

Dr. Creswell (via Sage) has a brief video tutorial on research questions in qualitative research. How to form them, frame them, and use them appropriately. I also think this would be a great clip to include when teaching research methods since qualitative methods often get so little love. Click here to check it out!


References & Related Reading (non-exhaustive):

Albury, K., & Crawford, K. (2012). Sexting, consent and young people’s ethics: Beyond Megan’s Story. Continuum, 26(3), 463-473.

Bond, E. (2011). The mobile phone = bike shed? Children, sex and mobile phones. new media & society, 13(4), 587-604.

Draper, N. R. A. (2012). Is your teen at risk? Discourses of adolescent sexting in United
States television news. Journal of Children and Media, 6(2), 221-236.

Strohmaier, H., Murphy, M., & DeMatteo, D. (2014). Youth sexting: Prevalence rates, driving motivations, and the deterrent effect of legal consequences. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 11, 245-255.