Early Career Professionals Committee Report – May 2016

One of the charges of our committee is to enhance the visibility of ECPs in our division. In service of this, we will start profiling the accomplishments of SCP ECPs doing great work out in the field. We put out a call a few months back asking you all to share your great work or tell us about someone who is making a difference in our field. We learned about the work Dr. Meladee Garst has been doing as a Staff Psychologist at the Counseling and Testing Center (CTC) at Wichita State University.

Dr. Garst was hired to help develop Multicultural and Diversity programming on campus, and the list of initiatives she collaborated on and implemented within her first year and half in her position is dizzying! A brief summary of her primary initiatives includes:Garst

  • Building liaison relationships with International Education and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Garst has been instrumental in creating co-sponsorship opportunities on campus to develop new ways of reaching marginalized groups on campus, and build relationships with other entities on campus.
  • Starting a “drop-in hour” system where a staff member goes to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, International Education, Veterans Services, and the Honor College each week to help reach out to marginalized populations, remove stigma around mental health services, and to show that “psychologists are humans as well”.
  • Building stronger relationships with SPECTRUM (the WSU LGBT student group), International Student Union, and other diverse student organizations, which has led to increased requests for outreach services and consultation.
  • Including the Counseling and Testing Center as part of the university’s Safe Zone and Gender Diversity Training. This involved updating and revamping the trainings and becoming an active facilitator along with the Human Resources and Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Sitting on several committees on campus related to diversity, and collaborating to bring in Laverne Cox for the WSU “Gayril” events. Dr. Garst also helped the CTC develop and enhance their outreach programming to widen the scope of students reached, and consulted with other departments on how to develop diversity awareness.
  • Helping to conduct a “Climate Survey” focusing on the LGBTQ student population. The results of this study helped enhance programming, services, and university policy related to the LGBTQ student population.
  • Providing the Diversity Training Seminar for the WCPIP Consortium Pre-doctoral internship.

Dr. Garst noted, “the great thing is that my supervisors and the department were open to some new ideas and letting me run wild with some things,” which helped her to accomplish her charge. She made such a difference on campus that she was awarded the 2015 Unity Award from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. This award is given to a faculty or staff member on campus who shows dedication to diversity and inclusion on the WSU campus. Dr. Garst noted that it was a great honor and surprise to be awarded this after only her first year on campus. Her vision and accomplishments at WSU really illustrate what a passionate ECP can do to help make a difference in a campus community. We thank Dr. Garst for allowing us to profile her work and we look forward to profiling more ECPs in future posts. If you know of an ECP colleague doing great work, let us know by e-mailing Tiffany O’Shaughnessy (taosh@sfsu.edu) and we will keep the profiles coming!

As for our committee work, new applications to join the committee are coming in and are accepted from May 15th through June 15th. Committee members serve three-year terms and ECPs and doctoral students entering their final year of study are eligible to apply. Full details about the requirements are available at: http://www.div17.org/ecps/ecp-committee/ We are also working hard on finalizing our programming for the 2016 APA Convention in Denver. We’ll share the full details in our next update, and as always if you have any questions about the ECP committee, please contact the current chair, Dr. Valene Whittaker (valenewhittaker@gmail.com).

Tiffany O’Shaughnessy, PhD

San Francisco State University

Department of Counseling

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