Amber Stark

Member Spotlight: Jeanie Whinghter

Position/Employer
Currently, I work part time teaching I-O courses to graduate students at two online universities.

How long have you been a SIOP member?
I joined SIOP during my first year in grad school, 2001.

What roles have you had within SIOP?
I have been a presenter at conferences, reviewer for conference submissions, and volunteer (both member and co-chair) within committees. Currently, I am working within the Education and Training Committee. By far, the best experience has been the committee work—I have met so many incredible people within each committee, and I am always reminded of the diverse talent that we have within our field of I-O psychology. Shameless plug: If you are on the fence about committee work, I encourage you to give it a shot—you won't be disappointed!

Interest Area(s)
My interest area is within a smaller domain called occupational health psychology (OHP). I've been firmly placed in this area since it was a very tiny research focus, and it has been incredible to see it flourish. As I've grown in my career, I have seen some great advances to focus on areas close to my heart, such as work–life balance and health/wellness in the workplace.

What sparked your interest in I-O psychology?
My focus in undergrad was in the cognitive and clinical areas of psychology, as my school (Emory University) did not have an I-O program for psychology majors. I have maintained a focus on practical application of psychology and the business domain through my work in undergrad, and once I learned about OHP, I was sold! I-O psychology allowed me to connect each part of my work and educational experiences in a meaningful way, and OHP provided that platform to synthesize my background and career interests.

What role do you see I-O psychology playing in the future of work?
I admit that I am biased due to my love of I-O, but I think the bigger question is "where DOESN'T I-O psychology fit"? I see I-O psychology contributing everywhere! With the recent pandemic, what we know about work has completely shifted, and I-O psychology professionals are poised to apply our knowledge to support this "new normal." I appreciate the heightened focus on work–life balance and remote learning/work issues; I see these as important themes for the future of work. Whether you are a practitioner or educator, there is great opportunity to support the broader community. I am excited to see the way this goes!

Which of the Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2021 do you most strongly relate to and how can I-O psychology practitioners, educators, and students impact this trend?
This is a tough question, because so many of these are highly connected! As someone who has been in the online education domain for 15 years, I naturally relate to Trend #10 (virtual learning) and Trend #1 (remote work); I've been pleased to see how this has evolved throughout the pandemic, and I think this has connected our colleagues in truly wonderful ways as we supported the unprecedented need to quickly shift our work. As we create the "new normal," we have a great opportunity to understand how to create jobs that address employees and their unique needs (Trends #2, employee wellness, and #7, work life integration) through focusing on what employees need to do their jobs in a way that aligns with their well-being. I personally relate to these, as someone who has shifted my career direction to accommodate my family as first priority. I look forward to the contributions scholars are currently making to focus on the meaning of work—and our relationship with work—moving past the pandemic.

What advice would you give to students or early practitioners?
Hands down, the best thing I did as a student was maintain an active social network in AND outside of graduate school. While the people in my graduate programs were truly amazing, the ability to socialize with people who didn't care about dissertation progress or theory application or conference submissions was much needed to keep me sane!

What is one of your favorite SIOP Annual Conference memories/highlights?
My favorite thing about the SIOP Annual Conference is connecting with grad school colleagues and catching up over breakfast or coffee. It is so wonderful to celebrate the successes of colleagues who are now doing great things or to scroll through pictures of their families—sometimes, our kids tag along, which is a lot of fun! I love that we have the opportunity to grow together, both professionally and personally.

Please share one non-I-O-related bit of information about yourself
I am a mom of four, and I am starting my 10th year of homeschooling my kids this fall. Yes, it is just as chaotic as you might imagine!

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