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TIP-TOPics

Left to Right: Raymond C. Ottinot, Adam Bandelli, & Gabriel E. Lopez Rivas

Adam Bandelli, Gabriel E. Lopez Rivas, & Raymond Charles Ottinot
University of South Florida

A typical day in the life of an I-O graduate student ok, so I need to start studying for that methods exam I have on Wednesday. My major professor wants the literature review for my thesis on his desk by Thursday morninghow many sources did I include in the reference section? I have that presentation to give tomorrow in organizational psychology, should I use PowerPoint or just handouts, maybe both? Should I work on the presentation first or finish the lit review paper? Well the presentation is due tomorrowbut wait, I still have that paper due for motivation tomorrow morning. I should work on that first. I really need to clean up this apartment though, its a freaking mess! Im surprised I even know where half of my books are with all these clothes and articles everywhere. Well maybe I should eat first, I havent had a thing since this morning and that was only a bowl of cereal. That would be a good idea, but there MUST be food in the fridge in order to eat it! Perhaps food shopping would be a good idea. There you go again with foodalways thinking about eating. Am I ever going to get to the gym? Well my parents are flying in on FridayI definitely need to get some food before they arrive; I dont want them to think I starve myself. (Sigh) When am I possibly going to have the time to do all these things!? If this scenario is beginning to resemble certain days in your own life, do not worryyou are not alone!!!

Welcome to the 2005 TIP-TOPics column! We are Adam, Gabriel, and Charlie and no we are not hurricanes but three second-year students in the I-O psychology doctoral program at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Yup, we are writing this in the good ol sunshine state, where the palm trees are plentiful and swimsuits are acceptable year-round. So, some of you may be wondering who we are (and if youre not, just play along) and how did each of us get here? Well, lets find out

Hey, Im Adam. I was born and raised in New Jersey where I spent most of my childhood and adolescence playing sports, particularly the game of basketball. Although the game taught me a lot about hard work, discipline, and dedication, many of my current I-O interests originated from that period of my life. I am not sure when I ultimately decided that I-O was the field for me, but I believe it was close to the end of my junior year in high school. You might think that was pretty early to decide what one wanted to do for the rest of his life, but somehow I knew then that I-O was the place for me! I received my BA and MA at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in a 5-year accelerated I-O psychology program. It was during these years that I became familiar with a number of different topic areas and had extensive exposure to both the research and applied sides of the field. Following my tenure at FDU, I embarked on my quest for the PhD and joined the wonderful folks down at USF. I have recently completed my first year of the program here in Tampa and have been enjoying every moment of it!! (well maybe not every single moment, being a poor graduate student does have a few drawbacks) As a student affiliate of SIOP since my junior year, I have read a number of TIP-TOPics columns and have found them all to be insightful, educational, and entertaining. Having the opportunity to contribute to this wealth of knowledge seemed too good to be true! I am very excited to be contributing to this column and look forward to presenting useful (and at times entertaining) information that will help you along your educational journey. 

Hello! My name is Gabriel E. Lopez Rivas. The story so far is that I was born in Puerto Rico to two wonderful people (i.e., my parents) and moved to Florida at an early age. Since then there is not much of interest to report until midway through my undergraduate career when I became involved in research with faculty in the psychology department at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and was fortunate enough to stumble upon an internship opportunity at NAVAIR Orlando, a government research group that coordinates and conducts research for the United States Navy. Following my graduation from UCF with a BS in psychology, the internship became a full-time position. During my time at NAVAIR, I had the privilege of working with many wonderful psychologists from different disciplines, many of whom had graduated from different programs here at USF. This experience exposed me to I-O psychology in earnest and culminated in my deciding that I-O was the career I wished to pursue and that USF was where I wanted to be. I am very happy with how things have gone so far and am eager to make a contribution to the field and feel that this column is a wonderful place to start.

Bonjour! (I couldnt think of another way to say hello) I am Raymond Charles Ottinot, pronounced (O-TNO), and no, I was not named after the musician. I was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, FL where I am the only one of three siblings born in the United States to parents from Haiti. As an undergrad I majored in business and later on decided to minor in psychology, which turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I found out about I-O psychology through my research methods instructor, Jennifer Kisamore, who integrated I-O psychology into her classroom discussions. After talking with her and a couple of other people about the field, I turned my minor into a major; the rest is history. I find it hard to believe that I will be contributing to a column I read as an undergraduate, but I will put forth my best effort and deliver a great column.

Now that you know a little about us, some of you might be thinking, What do three second-year graduate students have to offer me, a person who has more experience than they do? Well, in our defense, weve just finished what is considered to be the most difficult year of graduate school, the first year, and the hypothetical situation that began this column was all too familiar to each of us during that time. Beyond that though, the answer to that question is most likely not much, and this is exactly the point that will drive our column. Our intention is not to provide advice but to present information we have collected about how others have succeeded and what others are currently doing to succeed. 

During the graduate process there are many challenges that students face. Not all of these challenges are academic in nature; they also come from other parts of our lives. We want to shed light on both of these areas by providing you with information about what others have done to succeed and what others are currently doing to accomplish the same. So, when we got together to discuss ideas and work on this column we realized that past issues of TIP-TOPics have tended to focus on what people should do now to prepare for their future. Although this was a great help and an excellent source of information, each of us were simply worrying about getting through the upcoming week! Through our experiences we have come to realize that there are an incredible amount of resources available to students to assist them with planning their future. However, there are not many places that students can turn to get information about navigating through the current storm. As a result of this realization, we decided that our mission for the next 2 years of TIP-TOPics will be to: 

1. Examine research areas that are important in the field right now and are something that all I-O graduate students should possess a general knowledge about.
2. Provide students with information on how successful I-O psychologists arrived at where they are today.
3. Provide a snapshot of what I-O graduate students around the country are doing to succeed as well as provide an open venue for alumni and students to share survival TIPS with other students.
In order to accomplish this task, we have focused our attention on three different areas that will become recurring sections throughout our tenure. Lets see what theyre about. 

I-O 101

A tremendous amount of research has been and continues to be conducted within the field of I-O psychology. Keeping up with all of it can be a daunting task, especially when you are a fledgling graduate student. Therefore, the first section of each of our columns will focus on research areas that all I-O graduate students should have a general understanding of (you dont have to be best friends with these topics but you should at least know them on a first-name basis). This is not meant to be a definitive source about a topic or a substitute for class readings but is meant to provide you with a general idea about what a given term means so you can avoid feeling like a grad student in the headlights when you inevitably hear the topic mentioned during class.

The areas that we will discuss were generated using two different approaches. First, faculty at various I-O programs across the country were surveyed and asked to provide what they felt were the current top 10 research topics within the field. This approach was supplemented by a search of the literature from three of the top I-O journals (i.e., Journal of Applied Psychology, Academy of Management, and Personnel Psychology). Our search was limited to the past year with the objective of identifying the most frequently recurring topics. The lists generated by these two approaches were then consolidated and items from that list were used as search terms in PsycINFO. This search was limited to the past 15 years, and the topic areas that received the greatest number of hits were chosen. It is important to note that the following areas are not an exclusive list, nor are they the only areas that are currently driving research efforts within the field of I-O. This list simply represents the areas that are generating a large percentage of research over the past few years. The seven areas that will be discussed include:

1. Occupational Health Psychology (OHP)the application of psychology to improving the quality of work life, and to protecting and promoting the safety, health, and well-being of workers.
2. Emotions in the Workplacethe role of emotions and how they affect people in their daily work lives.
3. Leadershipthe ability to significantly affect the thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors of other individuals.
4. Counterproductive Work Behavior (CWB)acts that harm or are intended to harm organizations or people in organizations.
5. Teamssmall numbers of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose.
6. Cross-Cultural Issuesconducting research across cultural and international settings. 
7. Research Methods/Measurementfocusing on sophisticated statistical methods such as item response theory (IRT) and structural equation modeling (SEM).

We will devote one column to each of these areas. You can expect each column to provide you with an overview of the topic, the type of research that is being conducted on that topic, the methods used to study the topic, and information from a leading expert on that particular topic. This list will also drive who will be interviewed for that issue as we will be speaking with someone who has made a great contribution to the area that is being discussed.

BI-O

In addition to discussing important topics within I-O, we will also provide you with information about how past graduate students have successfully navigated the stormy, doctoral waters to arrive at the port of career success (that was so vivid I thought I heard a sea gull). In a section cleverly entitled BI-O, we will conduct interviews with individuals who are well established in the field and ask them the questions that graduate students want answered. For example, instead of providing advice about how to develop an idea for a thesis or dissertation, we will ask people who have actually successfully completed the process and ask them how they did it. To this end, we developed a structured interview based on feedback from a survey of graduate students. For our survey, we generated a list of 21 questions and asked graduate students to select 10 of them. In addition, we asked them to provide any additional questions that they would like to see addressed. Based on a sample of 40 graduate students at USF, the following questions were the most frequently selected (i.e., these items were all endorsed by at least 50% or more of the sample):

1. What is your typical day at work like?
2. Did your graduate school experiences prepare you for working within the field?
3. How did you go about getting your first job once you had attained your degree? How long were you at your first job?
4. What things would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?
5. How did you go about developing your current research interests?
6. Is the work that you do now related to or the same as the work you did early in your career (i.e., during and immediately following your graduate training)?
7. What obstacles in graduate school and in your career did you experience that you were not anticipating and what advice would you give to students and young professionals to help overcome these challenges?
8. What were your greatest doubts in graduate school (e.g., felt it was the wrong field for you, felt that skills were inadequate) and how did you overcome them?
9. What were the most appealing characteristics/qualities of the career you selected and why did you choose this over the other side (i.e., applied or academic)?
10.What are the most satisfying and dissatisfying aspects of our field to you? How has this related to your career?

Our hope is that by asking successful I-O psychologists how they went through the graduate process we will be providing information that is both valid (because the person must have done something right to be where they are now) and inspirational (because everyone that we interview provides proof that it is possible to finish and, furthermore, that we do not have to be perfect to succeed).

Assessment Center

In addition to conducting interviews with past graduate students and discovering what they did to succeed, we also plan to talk to current graduate students. Our intention is to, via surveys, ask students questions related to various facets of the graduate school experience (e.g., time management, finances, health) in order to provide you with information about what other graduate students around the United States are doing to thrive in their programs. For example, have you ever wondered what other students do (or dont do) to effectively manage their time or what other grad students sacrifice in order to balance their budgets? Well, we will ask and present you with that information. Some of the topics we thought would be interesting to discuss include How do students manage their finances? What are students study habits? Do people have a social life outside of school? What do people do to maintain a semblance of health? How do students deal with the hurdles (i.e., thesis, comps, and the dissertation)? These questions are in no particular order, and feedback from you will determine whether we will discuss these areas or pursue other topics. The results of our student surveys will most likely range from the shocking to the obvious and will either confirm or disprove any beliefs that you have about other graduate students. Once again our purpose is not to give advice but to present you with information. How you use this knowledge (if you even find it valuable) in your own life is up to you. We also plan to use this section to provide a venue for students and alumni to share stories and/or TIPS with other students. The success of this section is contingent on your participation, so make sure to seize this opportunity to be heard. However, if no one responds we will go to Plan B: use the pages allotted for this part of the TIP columns to publish Starbucks couponsjust kidding!

Additional Issues

This section will focus on a variety of recent experiences that have affected the field and are worth discussing. In this issue, we would like to share our insights from the 2005 SIOP conference in Los Angeles, California. Let us begin by saying that a students first SIOP conference can be quite overwhelming. There are a number of different things to do throughout the entire weekend. From the posters, symposia, panel discussions, and roundtable meetings to the evening receptions, private parties, alumni reunions, and midnight get-togethers at the hotel bar, the conference has something for everyone. 

After making the most out of our first SIOP conference, we would like to offer four recommendations for those interested in attending future conventions. First, be proactive. Sounds simple enough, but when you are standing in front of a famous professor who does work in your area of interest it can be intimidating. However, the conference is your chance to meet the leading experts in our field. Do not pass on the opportunity to approach a professor and inquire about their research. This will be a valuable learning experience and is an excellent way to network with other professionals. Second, do not (and we repeat) do not try to be superman or superwoman (we are NOT referring to having a few drinks and jumping on the bar). What we are referring to is that there are numerous sessions throughout the weekend, and most people are not going to be able to make every sessionbelieve us, we tried. We would suggest choosing sessions that are the most appealing to you and then sending others e-mails for papers or presentations that you could not make. Trying to fit every poster or symposium into 2 days could end up giving you a nervous breakdown! Third, make sure to network with graduate students from other programs. Although it is important to network with professionals and faculty in the field, it is equally important to meet students that are going through the same experience as you are. The graduate students at the conference are the future of our field; why wait until you have your degree to begin networking with them? We feel it is crucial for students from around the country to know one another. To this end, we plan on putting together a roundtable at the next SIOP for graduate students to network and meet each other. We hope you will share your ideas with us and let us know what topics you would like to discuss. Finally, make sure you take advantage of exploring the city where the conference is being held. Staying in the conference for the entire time may please some, but the convention is held in a different location each year for a reason. Make the most of it by coming a day early or staying an extra day or two after the convention. This will allow you ample time to explore the city and still get the most out of the conference! 

We have presented our goals and outlined the agenda for our 2-year editorial term. However, this column will only be successful with your input and feedback. The information that we include in each column will be directly influenced by the experiences that you share with us. Relating specifically to our final content area, we hope that it will serve as an open forum for students to exchange ideas, knowledge, and general I-O related stories. If you would like to contribute to any of our columns or have suggestions you would like to offer, please feel free to contact us at tipsontopics@yahoo.com. If you would like to contact us individually, please feel free to do so: Adam (abandell@mail.usf.edu), Gabe (gabriel@mail.usf.edu), and Charlie (ottinot@mail.usf.edu). We look forward to hearing from and working with all of you!!!

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