Jenny Baker
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Highlights From the 37th SIOP Annual Conference

Whitney Botsford Morgan, University of Houston-Downtown

Though much has changed in our world the past few years, thanks to the SIOP Administrative Office, Executive Board, and Conference and Program Committees, our commitment to providing a SIOP Annual Conference that builds community for I-O psychology practitioners, educators, researchers, and students from around the world has remained the same. 

Over 4-plus weeks, more than 4,000 registrants explored virtual and in-person professional development opportunities, 200 live presentations, and more than 500 research posters. The conference offered high-quality, peer-reviewed content, diversity in perspectives and topic areas, and a blend of science and practice.

More than 3,000 registrants gathered in Seattle the last week of April 2022, which was the first in-person annual conference since 2019.  In-person registration included attendance at any of the in-person live and virtual live sessions, the Opening Plenary and Closing Lunch Event, general receptions, breakfasts, coffee breaks, and the exhibit hall. Virtual registration included access to virtual live sessions, select simulcast in-person live sessions, and virtual networking. Either registration granted attendees access to select virtual live session recordings the week of May 2. You may view the Opening Plenary here.

In addition to the peer-reviewed content, the Theme Track, named by then SIOP President Steven Rogelberg, was “Better Together,” featuring five informative, interactive, and inspirational sessions on various ways we can collectively use our talents to be better together in our organizations and in our professional society. 

There was also an incredible opportunity to hear from Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, who shared an update on the work of the select committee while engaging with SIOP President Steven Rogelberg, Lilia Cortina, Jeff McHenry, and Scott Tannenbaum, who each have expertise in collaboration, civility, teams, and organizational culture. This was a unique opportunity for the SIOP community to engage in-person with Representative Kilmer, positioning the science and practice of I-O psychology at the forefront of improving the work of the federal government.

There was strong interest in add-on events during the 4 weeks of conference programming:

  • The Natural Language Processing Advanced Professional Development was completely full with 50 participants. 
  • There were three virtual and seven in-person Workshops, with 368 participants in total!
  • The Conference Career Center (formerly the Placement Center) provided a forum for organizations to find I-O talent and for job seekers to find roles for the next phase in their careers.  There were 239 participants (virtually or in-person) who engaged in a practitioner track or academia track with virtual coffee break sessions and an open house for in-person attendees.
  • Three of the four consortia (Doctoral, Master’s, and Early Career Faculty) were held completely virtually. The Early Career Practitioner track was held in person in Seattle.
  • The tradition of the Frank Landy 5K Fun Run continued! More than 150 attendees took a short bus ride to beautiful Lake Union to complete the scenic run.

The conference concluded with a Closing Lunch Event that includes lunch stations with market-style entertainment, featuring the Pike Place Market fish mongers! Attendees could shop local from 12 entrepreneurs in support of Ventures Marketplace, which serves as an incubation program for product-based business. Attendees were able to pick up souvenirs while supporting the Seattle community. We connected with the entrepreneurs afterward who reported strong sales and that they felt it was “a smashing success”!

SIOP took numerous precautions to provide a safe meeting environment for more than 3,000 people, including vaccination or negative test verification, daily health screenings, optional masking, and color-coded lanyards to demonstrate social distancing comfort. Although SIOP does not have the ability to conduct formal contract tracing, we were interested in the health impact of this event and can use this data to better understand the situation. It is likely that, moving forward, COVID-19 will continue to exist in some form. It will take all of us in the SIOP community working together to protect the health and safety of all who participate in SIOP events.

Planning for the 2023 SIOP Annual Conference is already underway. A working group to develop the 2023–2027 Conference Charter met in June to discuss the future of the annual conference. The Conference Committee will hold its summer planning meeting in July. More details about the look ahead to 2023 will be shared this fall.

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