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SIOP Award Winners: Meet Deirdre J. Knapp 2021 Distinguished Service Contributions Award Winner

Liberty J. Munson

As part of our ongoing series to provide visibility into what it takes to earn a SIOP award or grant, we highlight a diverse class of award winners in each edition of TIP. We hope that this insight encourages you to consider applying for a SIOP award or grant because you are probably doing something amazing that can and should be recognized by your peers in I-O psychology!

This quarter, we are highlighting SIOP’s 2021 Distinguished Service Contributions Award: Deirdre Knapp.

What award did you win?

I won SIOP’s Distinguished Service Contributions Award for 2021. I was nominated for the award by one of my longtime colleagues at HumRRO, Dr. Cheryl Paullin.

Share a little bit about who you are and what you do.

I received my PhD in I-O psychology from Bowling Green State University. I’ve worked at the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) for most of my career—almost 34 years now. Although I was a manager for 14 years and vice president for operations for 11 years, I continued to do project work throughout my time at HumRRO. In 2019 I returned to an individual-contributor role as a principal scientist. I’m edging my way to full retirement, but I enjoy my work so am not quite ready for that yet.

My work has primarily involved performance measurement, often for purposes of large-scale criterion-related validation efforts (particularly for the U.S. Army) and for various professional certification and licensure programs. Some of the more interesting technical challenges I’ve had have involved conducting job analysis work that forecasts evolving job requirements and/or supports selection of suitable (not just convenient) performance measurement strategies.

What do you think was key to you winning this award?

I started volunteering with SIOP and several other professional organizations early in my career. These early experiences showed me the value of professional service—for me, my employer, and to our profession—which reinforced my interest in continuing to serve in various capacities over the course of my career. So, starting early and keeping at it over time was one key to my winning this award. I think another key is that I have been a visible voice for I-O psychology in my service to other professional associations, most particularly APA. This is an effective strategy for broadening the reach and influence of I-O psychology, and I am grateful that SIOP leaders appreciate that by recognizing service outside of SIOP.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

After a lifetime of being a work-focused single person, I met the man of my dreams in my mid-50s. We learned to SCUBA dive for our honeymoon in 2015. Learning to dive presented a totally new kind of challenge for me, both mentally and physically. We’ve been able to practice our diving skills on some amazing vacations, including the Galapagos Islands, where we were lucky to be on the last voyage of our cruise ship before borders closed down in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Not quite as exotic, but my husband and I are working on our ballroom dancing skills too.

What piece of advice would you give to someone new to I-O psychology?

Take opportunities where you find them, including learning from those around you whether or not they are I-O psychologists. Career planning is great but recognize that many of your opportunities to grow will be a result of fortunate breaks that simply come your way. Get involved in SIOP and other professional associations to help you create a network of colleagues who can help you develop professionally. Actively volunteering is a great way to develop that network and to gain organizational and leadership experiences that will likely improve your day job skills as well.


About the author:

Liberty Munson is currently the principal psychometrician of the Microsoft Technical Certification and Employability programs in the Worldwide Learning organization. She is responsible for ensuring the validity and reliability of Microsoft’s certification and professional programs. Her passion is for finding innovative solutions to business challenges that balance the science of assessment design and development with the realities of budget, time, and schedule constraints. Most recently, she has been presenting on the future of testing and how technology can change the way we assess skills.

Liberty loves to bake, hike, backpack, and camp with her husband, Scott, and miniature schnauzer, Apex. If she’s not at work, you’ll find her enjoying the great outdoors or in her kitchen tweaking some recipe just to see what happens.

Her advice to someone new to I-O psychology?

Statistics, statistics, statistics—knowing data analytic techniques will open A LOT of doors in this field and beyond!

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