APA Special Science Initiative Now Underway

The following describes the projects that together form the APA Special Science Initiative, which was approved by the APA Council of Representatives in August 1994. Several of the projects require significant involvement of scientists all over the country.

Engaging the Best and the Brightest...

Do you know an undergraduate who might be interested in pursuing a career in scientific psychology, but is still weighing his or her options? APA's Summer Science Institute might be just the ticket!

APA will be inviting applications from talented undergraduate students to attend a 5-day institute where they can learn about psychological science from some of our most distinguished researchers and teachers. Two sessions will be held in Summer 1996, each with up to 30 students. The students will be exposed to some of the most exciting work in the field, visit psychological science laboratories, and even participate in a model research project. They'll learn how the results of basic and applied psychological research can affect the daily lives of our citizens. And they'll receive realistic career information.

Students should have some preparation in psychology. The equivalent of a one-semester introductory course is strongly recommended. In addition to a letter of application with a personal statement, each student will be required to supply two letters of recommendation from among his or her current professors and undergraduate advisor, and a copy of a college transcript.

Students will be housed at a university in the Washington, DC, area, and their expenses will be fully paid.

Application details will be distributed in the fall to all departments of psychology and will be available electronically on the APA Web page. Additional targeted mailings are also planned. If you would like application information, please contact Ms. Brooke Kuhn in the Science Directorate at (202) 336-6000. Applications will be due February 15 for the two 1996 summer sessions.

Moving in the Fast Lane Electronically...

Traffic on the information superhighway will soon include more options for psychological scientists. This two-part effort will enable scientists to communicate with one another more directly via the Internet and will provide support for an electronic journal.

Several special-interest discussion groups for scientists are already being formed under the rubric of this initiative. These discussion groups will link researchers who have common interests. In addition to asynchronous communication--such as e-mail or bulletin boards--the system will enable real-time, synchronous communication. These electronic conferences will allow numerous scientists at remote locations to 'speak' to one another as a group on specific topics.

More details on this project will be released in the next issue of Psychological Science Agenda.

Psycoloquy, a pioneering electronic journal in psychology, is the focus of the second project in this area. The editor, Stevan Harnad, PhD, will use a small grant from APA to experiment with a hypertext version of the journal. Hypertext will allow researchers--at the click of a mouse--to obtain additional information about a subject covered in an article.

Informing the Public...

Would you like to see psychological science portrayed responsibly and accurately in the media? If you want to have a positive effect on the discipline's treatment in the media, these projects will interest you.

APA will sponsor several journalists as APA Science Writer Fellows in 1996. We will select journalists with experience in science writing or reporting for visits of several days with psychological scientists. APA is seeking host departments or research centers for these visiting fellows. We invite your inquiries.

Here's what's involved from a departmental perspective:

APA will provide small grants to help defray the costs of hosting the science writers. The amount of the small grant may vary with the number of days the writer is in residence. Writers may be at a location for as few as 3 days to as many as 12. Length of stay will depend on the preferences of both the department and the science writer, and the actual dates will be negotiated with the departments. APA will pay fellows' expenses, so participating departments will incur minimal costs.

Individual fellows will have somewhat tailored experiences, but APA hopes that all will come away with the view that psychology is a vigorous and complex science that deserves serious treatment in the media.

APA is looking for sites that can showcase various aspects of scientific psychology, including the uses of humans and animals in research, laboratory and field research settings, and methodological challenges.

Please contact Ms. Brooke Kuhn at (202) 336-6000 if your department or research center is interested in hosting one or more of the science writer fellows.

In another attempt to reach the public, APA is providing a small grant to an existing public radio program on psychological issues. 'Voices in the Family,' already reaching 95,000 people a year, is produced by WHYY radio in Philadelphia and is distributed to 32 stations around the country. APA hopes that the small grant will enable the program to reach several additional markets.

Daniel Gottlieb, PhD, is the host of the program, which in the past has featured such psychologists as Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD, and Teresa Amabile, PhD. More scientists are expected to be included among the guests of the program, and a scientific advisory committee has been created to advise Dr. Gottlieb on content and speakers.

For a list of stations currently carrying the program, please contact Ms. Brooke Kuhn at (202) 336-6000.

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