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Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Reaches Out to Atlanta University Center Undergraduates at 2010 SIOP

Kizzy M. Parks
K. Parks Consulting, Inc.

At the 2010 SIOP conference, the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA), chaired by Jimmy Davis, arranged an outreach event for undergraduate students from the Atlanta University Center (AUC). The AUC consists of four historically Black colleges and universities: Clark Atlanta, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, and Spelman College. The event consisted of a panel discussion and complimentary 1-day SIOP conference passes for 12 undergraduate students.

The outreach activities kicked off with a panel discussion on the campus of Morehouse College in the Kilgore Center for Leadership the day prior to the conference opening plenary session. Roughly 60 students attended the event. Four I-O psychology professionals served on the panel moderated by Jimmy Davis: Derek Avery, Laura Morgan Roberts, Kizzy M. Parks, and Ella Washington. The panelists discussed their current roles and research activities, advice to prepare students for a career in I-O psychology, how they picked their graduate program, and how students may get involved in the field at this point in their academic studies, as well as answered numerous questions from the students.

Following the panel discussion, SIOP granted 12 one-day passes for students to attend the conference and get a feel for the Society as well as the profession. The students attended a variety of morning sessions, interacted with vendors, and even had the opportunity to speak with then President Kurt Kraiger.

Overall, the students enjoyed the experience of hearing the panelists’ comments as well as the opportunity to attend the conference. Student’s reactions to the events are best captured in their reflections below:

Attending the SIOP conference as an undergraduate was such a blessing and an eye opener. To be surrounded by a plethora of influential individuals was truly an amazing experience. As an undergrad who has taken an I-O course before, attending the conference exposed me to concepts, principals, and ideas that I was unaware fell within the field. If you are unsure of what particular category or research area to study within I-O, you will definitely leave the conference knowing which area to go into. I also got a chance to meet the president of SIOP, and he was simply inspiring. He explained that with hard work, perseverance, and dedication we can achieve the same success he has already accomplished; although, my attendance at the conference was brief, I felt confident that I made an impression on some individuals. The people attending the conference are extremely polite and are open to providing words of encouragement as well as information on how to make it into graduate school. I would like to thank Dr. Jimmy Davis for choosing me to attend this conference. If I could attend it every year, I would not hesitate. Andrew T. McGee, Morehouse College

The experience of attending the SIOP Conference was remarkable, allowing me to network, learn, and explore I-O psychology not only as a undergraduate student but also as a perspective consultant. I used the different workshops to my advantage, allowing me to brainstorm and see how I can expand my future goals as an I-O psychologist. Danielle Jones, Spelman College

The prior panel discussion provided answers to questions that I have had for years. The information from the panel discussion and the sessions at the SIOP conference has given me new direction and focus in my journey into I-O psychology. All in all, the 25th Annual SIOP Conference gave me direction and guidance in my vocational, educational, and research endeavors more than any one event I can name. As a psychology major, it was always difficult to get advice on entering I-O because clinical, counseling, and law held the majority of students’ interests. The information at the sessions and the willingness of the attendees to give advice to my peers and me was refreshing and well needed. The worth of the conference is the epitome of invaluableness. I cannot thank Jimmy Davis and the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology enough for making this experience possible. Kahoa K. J. Bonhomme, Research Associate, Morehouse Male Initiative Marketing Manager, INA

I want to first thank CEMA as well as Kurt Kraiger for the opportunity to experience my first SIOP conference here in Atlanta. The conference was an eye-opening experience, it was much better than I expected. I loved the fact that there were so many sessions available for every person’s interest. I enjoyed the session about social networking; I never realized there were so many variables that could ultimately change the dimensions of a study. The available networking opportunities are unlimited at the conference, which is an important aspect that I feel should be available at conferences instead of having only a few sessions that are scheduled back to back, leaving no room for one to actually communicate with the other attendees—therefore, in my opinion, defeating the main purpose of a conference. I met so many people that stated that if I had any questions about what I wanted to do in the future, then I could contact them. I believe that this opportunity should be given to more undergraduate students in order to increase the interest in I-O psychology in the future. Attending this conference has allowed me to finally decide what I want to accomplish in my scholastic as well as professional career. I enjoyed every aspect of the SIOP and I look forward to attending future conferences. Dyonne Bourne-Clark, Atlanta University

 We are grateful for the support and participation of Kurt Kraiger, the panelists, and the conference attendees for making this a successful outreach endeavor. Our goal is to expand the outreach efforts and institutionalize these events at all future SIOP conferences. If you would like to assist with the outreach efforts or have any suggestions, please contact Kizzy M. Parks, CEMA Chair, kparks@kparksconsulting.com.