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The
Community
Psychologist

Volume 47 Number 4 
Fall 2014

Student Issues

Student Issues

Edited by Chuck Sepers and Meagan Sweeney

Fall Update

Congratulations to Meagan Sweeney, winner of the 2014 National Student Representative (NSR) election. To learn more about her, be sure to find her self-introduction below. We as NSRs serve overlapping 2-year terms as voting members of the SCRA Executive Committee. The primary role of the NSRs is to advocate for the needs of our student members, as well as highlight available opportunities (e.g., funding, professional development, etc.).

To that end, there are a number of new and exciting changes that should ultimately serve to enhance your student membership. Those with a keen eye will have already noticed that the SCRA website (scra27.org) has undergone a dramatic facelift and with it, a new student page (http://scra27.org/who-we-are/students/). The website will serve as a central location outlining student resources and upcoming and ongoing opportunities, including listserv instructions, conference dates, and funding opportunities. Please check this page frequently for updates. Along with the new website, there is also a new NSR email address: StudentReps@scra27.org. The new website format is fantastic—well organized, visually appealing, and packed full of helpful resources. I strongly encourage everyone to check it out.

There are other exciting new changes that affect students this year. This year SCRA has been working with a social media consultant to enhance the content of our online communications and to grow our online communities. Additionally, a new eNewsletter will feature highlights from SCRA publications in the coming months, including the American Journal of Community Psychology, The Community Psychologist, the SCRA book series, SCRA-sponsored conferences, as well as featured colleagues and their work.

We will be looking for new submissions for the Student Issues column for the spring issue due November 15th deadline. If you have a paper you would like to share, we strongly encourage you to submit it to StudentReps@scra27.org. Submissions are limited to five double-spaced pages. Check scra27.org for full details.

We also want to thank Danielle Kohfeldt for her years of service to SCRA as NSR. We wish Dr. Kohfeldt the best as begins teaching Community Psychology at Bridgewater State University this fall. Good luck Danielle! 

A Self-Introduction from Our New National Student Representative Meagan Sweeney

Meagan Sweeny

I was born and raised in New York City, one of the most diverse places in the world. Walking three blocks in my neighborhood involves meeting people of countless ethnicities, religions, and cultures.

I received a scholarship to SUNY Stony Brook Honors College for my undergraduate degree, and completed research on the effect of anxiety on working memory, specifically inhibition. While I enjoyed my lab and my work, I learned that I did not want to do work only in a laboratory setting.  Later, I attended Teachers College, Columbia University and assisted in a study on the effects of prejudiced experiences on risk taking behaviors, especially in the LGBT community. It was the more hands-on role I had been looking for. Currently I am in the Clinical/Community Ph.D. program at The George Washington University, where our theme is the prevention of behavioral, emotional, and physical problems and the promotion of health in diverse urban communities. I am working on the behaviors and emotions surrounding emergency preparedness, with the idea that emergency preparedness prevents anxiety and distress after a natural or man-made disaster.

I have a strong background in community psychology, both in action and in research. From five until eighteen, I was a Girl Scout. I took part in countless community outreach events, such as bake sales, fundraisers, and beautification projects. These values stayed with me throughout high school and college, where community service was a daily part of my life, from participating in blood drives to volunteering at a suicide and crisis hotline that served the local community. After graduating from Stony Brook, I set aside a year for service, working for the American Red Cross as an AmeriCorps Volunteer. My position was Community Outreach Coordinator, in charge of the borough of Brooklyn. I reached out to every non-profit organization I could in order to give presentations on emergency preparedness. I am pretty sure I entered every library, PTA group, Civic Association, and Community Center that existed in Brooklyn to deliver my message. I also delivered programs on basic first aid, water safety, and hygiene to children in public schools. 

Now as a first year graduate student, I am combining my research skills and background in outreach. I am collaborating with the Red Cross to evaluate the effectiveness of the very presentations I used to deliver.  No longitudinal study has investigated whether or not people actually go home and use the information from Red Cross presentations to become more prepared. We are also interested in understanding demographic and psychological factors that influence who becomes prepared and who doesn’t.

As the National Student Representative, I welcome the opportunity to edit submissions to The Community Psychologist, judge awards, assist with Biennial planning, and help with social media outlets. I would like focus on SCRA student outreach initiatives, and encourage greater student involvement. I will promote advocacy and outreach events to the student population as a way to increase their involvement and empowerment in community psychology and SCRA. 

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