Reflection by: Courtney Wang, Psychology & Sociology '18
At the end of May, I attended the Association for Psychological Science (APS) 30th Annual Convention in San Francisco—a four-day event that brought together over 4,000 scientists across all disciplines of psychology. During this conference, not only did I present my year-long psychology honors thesis research and receive feedback from other students and world-renowned psychologists; I also had the opportunity to gain insight into research from experts in the field through workshops and lectures, in addition to building essential relationships with psychology colleagues from across the nation.
My research is about the effects of U.S. regional accents in a job hiring setting, which falls under the discipline of industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology. During my time at Rice, I did not get the chance to take an I/O psychology course, and the only I/O research I had been exposed to was the research conducted in my own research lab with Dr. Mikki Hebl. The APS convention gave me the opportunity to learn about other current I/O research and gain a deeper understanding of the field as a whole. Each day of the convention, I attended multiple lectures on topics spanning the field of I/O psychology and more. Additionally, I got to attend several symposium talks given by my advisor, Dr. Hebl, which was enjoyable for me after being deeply involved in her research process during my undergraduate years.
I was also able to receive valuable feedback from other I/O psychologists on my own honors thesis as I presented my research poster. I had previously not received any feedback on my research from anyone outside of Rice, and it was refreshing and insightful to gain a different perspective and be challenged with new ideas for the direction of my research. Additionally, this was my first time presenting any of my research outside of Rice. Presenting at events such as Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium (RURS) prepared me well for the convention, but it was a little nerve wracking and exciting to share with a wider audience at APS. By the end, I was more confident in my ability to communicate my research clearly and was grateful for the insightful discussions I was able to engage in.
Overall, attending and presenting my research at APS was an excellent way to round out my undergraduate psychology experience. My research presentation was the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work, and I was inspired by all of the remarkable work other psychologists are doing across the nation. I am extremely appreciative to have had such an experience as attending APS and I hope there will be more to come.