Jenny Baker
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The SIOP Ambassador Programs Helps Conference Attendees Make a Connection

Jenna-Lyn Roman, Ambassador Program Communications Lead, SIOP Membership Committee

I distinctly remember when I registered for my first SIOP conference in 2015 and decided to check the box to participate as a newcomer in the Ambassador Program. At that time, the program allowed you to choose your ambassador, so I picked someone who lived in the city I was moving to the following fall for my master’s program. My ambassador, Nicholas Salter, and I had a long phone call to prepare me for the conference. He provided me with a lot of pertinent advice on how to navigate my first annual conference and make the best decision about which program to attend for my master’s degree. Now that I serve as an ambassador, I try to impart the advice that was handed down to me to my newcomers and pay it forward. Choosing to be involved in the Ambassador Program as a newcomer and an ambassador has been an extremely rewarding experience for me and has facilitated my making important professional connections and feeling like I belonged at the SIOP conference.


Nicholas Salter and Jenna-Lyn Roman (2015 Ambassador and Newcomer respectively) presenting a poster at the 2017 SIOP Annual Conference in Orlando, FL.  (Photo Credit: Christina Falcon)

In speaking with other newcomers, many of them would agree and have shared experiences regarding the program. Newcomer Tim Oxendahl, researcher at Oregon Health and Science University, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed being able to ask questions to an experienced practitioner and gain a better understanding of the field as a whole.” In a similar statement Dehlia Mahoney, graduate student at Montclair State University, noted that “getting to speak with my ambassador prior to the conference helped me have a better idea of what to expect.”

Our ambassadors enjoy the program as much as our newcomers. Kali Thompson, Compensation analyst at HCA Healthcare says she “loves how intentional the Ambassador program is about starting the SIOP experience off with building relationships.” She says that “this program has been a foundational piece of her involvement in SIOP.” Although she initially participating in the program as a newcomer, after a few years she “wanted the chance to give back to first time attendees and share her experiences with Newcomers.” Anna Hulett, Strategic Human Capital consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, “has had great experiences in the past and even ended up being a coworker and good friend” with someone she met through the Ambassador Program. She thinks that “mentorship-based programming like this is crucial for SIOP and the kind of community we want to create!” The Ambassador Program: We’d love you to participate!

Our newcomer base continues to remain strong with over 25% of SIOP conference attendees who are first-time newcomers participating in the program. With the annual conference growing every year, SIOP can be a very overwhelming experience, particularly for those who are new to the event. Since 2010, the SIOP Ambassador Program has supported our newest attendees by matching them with previous conference attendees willing to share what they’ve learned.

Serving as an ambassador is a relatively small commitment of time that can have a tremendous impact on first-time SIOP attendees, including providing a positive introduction to the SIOP community. Anyone wanting to participate as an ambassador or newcomer can sign up within the 2020 SIOP Annual Conference registration process, which opens in mid-December. We encourage everyone from graduate students who are more advanced in their programs, recent graduates in academic or applied jobs, or more veteran SIOP members to consider showing a first-time SIOP conference attendee the ropes.

A table with the program requirements for each role can be found below.



Program requirement

Registered for 2020 SIOP Annual Conference


Has already attended at least one annual conference


Attending for the first time

Agree to follow all program expectations

Provide information needed for matching process


Review available Ambassadors and select preferred match


Confirm Newcomer match invitation

Connect by email or phone at least once before the conference

Meet at least once in person at the conference


If you plan on being a part of the Ambassador Program, you may want to arrange your conference travel so that you don’t miss our events designed just for you:




New Member Education Session

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

4 – 5 pm

Newcomer Reception

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

5 – 6 pm

Ambassador Coffee Break

Thursday, April 23, 2020

10 – 10:30 am



We’re very excited about the 2020 SIOP Ambassador Program and look forward to your participation! Keep an eye out for this year’s program campaign and help us #MakeAConnection with someone new to SIOP. If you have any questions about the Ambassador Program contact us at or visit our webpage

We’d love to hear your stories about being a newcomer or ambassador!

If you had an experience with the Ambassador Program that you would like to share or photos of you with your ambassador or newcomer, please email me at For example: Have you continued your professional relationship beyond the conference in which you met? Have you had research project or SIOP or other conference presentations with your ambassador or newcomer? Do you now work with your ambassador or newcomer?








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