Over the past three weeks we have featured a series of posts written by MSP students who attended or presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Humanistic Psychology: American Psychological Association: Division 32 that was held in Chicago on March 26-29, 2015.
Presenting at an out of state academic conference may not sound ideal for financially oppressed graduate students. However, it can be very rewarding and well worth the efforts. Outside of general anxiety caused by the demands of graduate school, most students have busy schedules and a desire to simply focus on getting through their programs. For me, it was a chance to push myself outside my comfort zone and speak on topics that are lacking in conventional psychology.
My most recent presentation at the Division 32 Humanistic Conference was this past March in Chicago, just three days after successfully defending my dissertation. It was a moving panel presentation on “The Experiences of Students of Color in Predominantly White Graduate Programs.” I provided personal testimony on the complexities the experience of being a student with an ambiguous, but strong minority ethnic identity. With the limited time of 15 minutes, I discussed points such as contextual blindness of institutional leadership, biases of dominant cultural value systems, cultural misappropriation, oppression, microaggressions, the continuance of colonization, and the need for graduate programs to have more inclusive and humble administrative actions to address these issues. This panel presentation was brought forth by fellow MSP alum, Dr. Teresa Turner, who researched, “The Experience of Success for At-Risk African-American Students in Higher Education.” The panel also included MSP alum, Dr. Demetrius Ford, and Saybrook doctoral student, Lisa Vallejos.
My motivations for presenting at the Division 32 Humanistic Conference were to share my passion and learn from others, bring awareness, master my presentation skills, as well as to network and build connections with other likeminded individuals in the field. I’m grateful to have presented with such brilliant and passionate individuals, and if anything, having the platform to address multicultural issues to better inform practice and training.
To those interested, the application process is fairly simple, it can be helpful to talk with someone who has already gone through the process. It can be somewhat nerve-wracking waiting to find out the status of your proposal. However, choosing to frame your presentation as a panel and collaborating with individuals from others schools can help increase your odds as well as afford opportunities to influence others and grow both personally and professionally.
Angela May Beers, PsyS, L.L.P (PsyD 2015)
Angela May Beers, PsyS, L.L.P received both her masters and doctorate degrees from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology. Since 2008 she has worked as a psychotherapist at organizations such as Vista Maria, a female adolescent residential facility, Catholic Social Services, and in the Michigan prison system, for the Michigan Department of Corrections metro facilities. She has also worked as adjunct faculty teaching introductory psychology courses at Macomb Community College in Warren, MI. She recently completed her doctoral internship at the American Indian Health and Family Services in Southwest Detroit. Angela’s primary interests lie within the cross section of spirituality, consciousness, and multiculturalism.