Reflections on 2017 NMCS from a First-Time Attendee

 As a graduate student passionate about integrating social justice, diversity, and inclusion into my roles as a researcher, instructor, therapist, and advocate, attending the National Multicultural Conference and Summit was a truly rewarding and inspiring experience. This was a rare conference where I felt like I was among family. Though I could sing the praises of each event I attended and person I spoke with, I want to share three key highlights from the trip to Portland.

  1. Keynote Conversations with NMCS Founders and ECPs – It is always so invigorating to hear from those we look up to within the field, and to hear what their vision is for psychology and how we are working to achieve that vision. The Founders conversation also allowed us an opportunity to see some of these giants in the field as real and genuine people who share a passion for multiculturalism. I loved hearing Dr. Nadal ask the ECPs about their experiences with imposter phenomenon, reminding me that so many others doing work in this field have struggled to feel validated.
  1. Symposium: Teaching a Multiculturalism-Informed Psychology of People – Though it was hard to choose just one of the wonderful talks I attended, one of the personal growth areas I am currently working on is my role as a teacher. I continue to look for new ways to infuse multiculturalism in any course that I teach, and I thought that this symposium offered so many practical ideas for ways to infuse social justice into teaching. Often we hear people talk about making introductory courses or multicultural courses more inclusive, but this talk discussed ways to infuse social justice into everything from Biological Psychology to specific LGBT Psychology courses.
  1. Breakfast with the Stars – This was by far one of the best networking events I’ve been to. Not only was the food delicious (and let’s be honest, graduate students are concerned about the food), but I was also able to swap research interests and ideas with Dr. Lisa Spanierman and talk about the realities of being an activist scholar with Dr. Rosie Bingham. Rarely do such networking events allow the time to really get to know someone – by the end of breakfast I found myself sharing by “greatest fears” with both women!

Overall, NMCS stood out as a unique conference where people really connect with one another on the work that we are doing. It was wonderful to spend time in Portland with like-hearted individuals, and I look forward to returning in 2019.

 

Keri Frantell, M.S.

University of Tennessee

Counseling Psychology Program

Third Year

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