Advocating for the Graduate Psychology Education Program on capitol hill. Meeting with Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, September 2014.
My leadership philosophy
Leadership is not about a leader. Leadership is about a team. Even more importantly, it is about a community. The best leaders are not those who attain an office or a title, but those who identify a need for action and mobilize a team to accomplish a goal on behalf of a community. Communities care about finding real, lasting solutions to the problems they face; they wish to see their members thrive and have their grievances addressed. Good leaders are not those who look and act the part of being a leader, but those who work hard to solve problems and enrich a community in the process. Teams accomplish goals, not leaders; however, a good leader can motivate and inspire a team to excellence.
As APAGS Chair, my goal is to lead by motivating and working with an amazing team of graduate students and psychologists in APA and APAGS to tackle the real problems facing graduate students in psychology. Through my experiences in graduate student governance, my university’s graduate employee labor movement, and APAGS, I know that a motivated and organized team can overcome even the most difficult obstacles.
Advocating for Graduate Student Labor at the University of Connecticut
GEU-UAW files for legal recognition, April 2014
When I arrived at the University of Connecticut (UConn) in 2012, I was welcomed into a wonderful community of graduate students. My university is a great institution, and I love being a student here! Nevertheless, many graduate students at UConn were being squeezed by administrative cuts that left graduate assistants with worsening health benefits, additional work for no additional pay, and no legal venue in which to make their concerns heard. In early 2014, I joined a motivated group of graduate students from across departments at the university who sought to form a labor union for graduate employees. In the course of a few short months, our organizing team won support for unionization from a majority of graduate teaching and research assistants at UConn, and in doing so formed UConn’s Graduate Employee Union, GEU-UAW Local 6950.
Graduate assistants support the GEU-UAW bargaining committee appeal to university administrators
After our union gained recognition, I ran to serve as a member of our new union’s first bargaining committee, which is charged with negotiating our union’s first collective bargaining agreement (our first contract) with the University. It was an honor to be elected to serve on this committee with five other awesome graduate assistants at the university. Negotiations between our union and the university are ongoing, but already we have made significant progress in securing critical rights for graduate workers at UConn, such as paid parental leave, protection from workplace discrimination, intellectual property rights, and the right to work in a safe and healthy environment.
Being a part of UConn’s graduate labor movement has taught me that challenging obstacles can be overcome with hard work, determination, and–most importantly–the dedication of a hard working team and the support and solidarity of a community. I am continually stunned by how much can be accomplished by a determined group of people working together towards a common purpose.
Getting involved in APAGS
Advocating for graduate students at the University of Connecticut continues to be a rewarding enterprise that has enriched my graduate school experience. However, my investment in my own training as a researcher and as a clinician has for some time been set apart from my graduate student activism. So, becoming involved in APAGS became a natural next step for me. I joined APAGS’s Science Committee in 2014, and have had the pleasure of meeting graduate students who, like me, are invested in graduate students and the field of psychology.
APAGS is a unique organization; few other academic fields have a national organization devoted entirely to supporting the growth and development of graduate students that is run by graduate students themselves. APAGS is an important voice within APA that influences and shapes the way in which our profession is governed. As APAGS Chair, it is my aim to bring my experiences in graduate student advocacy to APAGS and ensure that graduate student continue to be heard and addressed by APAGS and APA.