Update From the Fall 2010 APAGS Committee Meeting

From October 21st through October 24, the APAGS Committee met in Washington, D.C. to discuss issues affecting psychology graduate students and to develop resources to meet the needs of our diverse constituency. This meeting represented one of the largest in APAGS’ history. In addition to APAGS staff, 9 elected committee members, 5 appointed subcommittee chairs, 3 appointed liaisons, and 5 invited delegates were in attendance. Collectively, these 22 graduate student leaders represented a wide variety of psychology subfields, training programs, and geographic locations.

The APAGS Committee approved the development of several initiatives that highlight the key goals of our organization – to serve the needs of all psychology graduate students, promote diversity in psychology, nurture the professional development of graduate students, and advance the effective use of technology in psychology.

Below you can find summaries of these new initiatives.  


The doctoral internship crisis remained a top priority for APAGS. Nearly 25% of practice-oriented students are unable to complete their doctoral training due to the limited number of internships available. APAGS continued its multichannel effort to end this alarming crisis.

APAGS met with representatives from the APA Board of Educational Affairs, the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers, the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology, the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology, the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs, and the Council of Chairs of Training Councils. During these meetings, APAGS advocated for the following:

  1. The development of new internship sites.
  2. Increased accountability of graduate programs.
  3. Increased federal funding of graduate and post-doctorate training.

Specifically, APAGS encouraged the development of non-traditional internship sites (e.g. integrated primary care, rural areas, geographic consortiums, half-time internships), called for an end to match-rate discrepancies between training program websites and publicly available data, and pledged to continue advocacy for Graduate Psychology Education funding and the inclusion of psychologists under the Medicare physicians definition (psychologists are the only doctoral level healthcare providers not included in this criteria).

APAGS also discussed the reevaluation of internship training. Doctoral internships were created in the 1950s in an era where graduate students received minimal pre-internship training. Now, students enter internship with 500-1,500 hours of clinical experience. It is clear that the sequence of training has changed and psychology must reconsider how to address the realities of 21st century graduate training.

The APAGS Committee also met with Dr. Melba Vasquez (APA President-Elect), Dr. Norman Anderson (APA CEO), and Dr. Michael Honaker (APA Deputy CEO) to discuss the internship crisis. Dr. Vasquez provided the APAGS Committee with an overview of her presidential initiative on the internship crisis and invited APAGS to collaborate with her on this effort.

Throughout meetings, APAGS stressed the importance of discussing these issues early in undergraduate training. In our dialogs with graduate students, we’ve noted that many students were never informed about the competitive nature of graduate school admission, the internship crisis, post-graduate debt, or the average income of entry level psychologists. APAGS maintains that all students must have full and complete informed consent about graduate education in psychology before beginning graduate study and encourages the wide dissemination of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology's fact sheet.

The APAGS committee also discussed current steps graduate students can take to address the internship crisis. APAGS would like to encourage you to:

  1. Organize students in your department to seek mentorship from your faculty throughout the internship application process.
  2. Apply to internships that highly match your training experiences.
  3. Remain as geographical flexible as possible.
  4. Encourage your directors of clinical training, practicum, and externship sites to form regional internship consortiums. A toolkit to develop internships is available here.

For more information on APAGS’ initiatives to end the internship crisis, click here.

In addition to the internship crisis, Shanda Wells, APAGS Member at Large Practice Focus, led a discussion on potential initiatives to increate graduate training in integrated primary healthcare. The dialog focused on building awareness of integrated primary healthcare and increasing training opportunities for students interested in this field.


Thanks to the leadership of Michael Scullin (APAGS Science Subcommittee Chair) and Lyra Stein (APAGS Member at Large, Research-Focus), APAGS approved the development of a Junior Scientist Fellowship. This fellowship is a partnership between APAGS and Psi Chi, the international honor society for undergraduate psychology majors. APAGS and Psi Chi will collaborate to provide mentorship and financial support to first year doctoral students who have demonstrated a commitment to psychological science.

Additionally, APAGS continued to discuss the possibility of developing a graduate student peer-reviewed scientific journal. Discussion on this item focused on finding ways to provide graduate students with training in journal editing and to create new pipelines for graduate student authorship and publication.  


Rachel Becker, APAGS Member at Large Diversity Focus, introduced the concept of a diversity training resource center. This resource would synthesize information on diversity training, practice with diverse individuals, and cutting edge research methodologies for diverse populations. Becker aims to collaborate with APA divisions 17, 35, 44, 45, and 51 in the production of this resource.

In a response to an incident of discrimination against a GLBT student, APAGS passed a policy supporting the inclusion of a transgender option in all APA forms and data gathering efforts. This policy was developed by Mike Parent, Chair of APAGS Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns.

Professional Development

APAGS approved 5 new professional development opportunities for graduate students.

First, APAGS will implement a pilot program to fund graduate student travel to the 2011 APA Convention in Washington, D.C. Additionally, APAGS Committee members will provide awardees with leadership mentoring during convention. This initiative was developed by Ethan Mereish, APAGS Member at Large Membership Focus.

Next, the APAGS Committee voted to fund an additional social hour at the 2011 APA Convention for members of the Division Student Representative Network and approved the development of a student social hour for the 2011 National Multicultural Conference and Summit in Seattle. These social hours were developed by Dr. Cristina Cruza-Guet, APAGS Member at Large Communications Focus, and myself, APAGS Chair-Elect.

APAGS also approved resources to support the development of interviewing skills in graduate students. Specifically, these resources will guide students through the process of interviewing for doctoral internships and academic/research post-doc positions. Susan Wilson, the APAGS Chair, developed this initiative.  

The APAGS Committee also voted to extend Rachel Casas' (APAGS Past-Chair) 2010 pilot program on leadership development. This past year, APAGS funded graduate students to attend APA’s Education Leadership Conference and the fall APA Consolidated Meetings (which was this meeting). Based on the enthusiastic feedback of attendees, APAGS will continue this program in 2011 and expand the program to include attendance at the 2011 APA State Leadership Conference, 2011 APA Education Leadership Conference, 2011 APA Spring Consolidated meeting, and 2011 APA Fall Consolidated Meeting.


Finally, APAGS approved the development of a new media resource guide. This guide will provide graduate students, early career psychologists, and established professions with training in the use of new media technologies, overview the ethical conflicts of new media, and describe ways in which all subfields of psychology can use new media to promote their professional goals. I will be developing and editing this resource guide.

We Need Your Feedback

APAGS is committed to developing open, collaborative, and transparent relationships with all graduate students in psychology. We welcome your feedback on these new initiatives as well as all existing programs and resources. Please take a moment to explore the APAGS website, join APAGS on Facebook and Twitter, and connect with your elected representatives. We want to hear from you and look forward to working with you to further the development of all psychology graduate students.

APAGSAli Mattu11 Comments