The Psi Chi national psychology honor society at Davidson has earned the "model chapter" designation from the international Psi Chi organization. A select group of chapters earned the designation this year, based on consistency in membership inductions, chapter correspondence, service projects, and participation in research conferences and the Psi Chi award/grants programs.
Associate Professor of Psychology Scott Tonidandel, adviser to the Davidson Psi Chi chapter, said, "A very small number of schools receive this honor. It's not something they dole out to everyone. It's a nice recognition for the efforts students have put forth over the past year."
In fact, it's been several years since Davidson's Psi Chi chapter earned the "model chapter" designation. Jennifer Green '12, president of the Davidson chapter, credits this year's honor to increased efforts to attend conventions and apply for grants. Green herself applied for and received a grant from the national Psi Chi organization that enabled her to work last summer with a Ph.D. student at George Mason University on research into age discrimination in technology training. The grant allowed her to conduct research in a position that otherwise would have been non-paid.
Davidson psychology students not only attend Psi Chi conventions, Green said, but occasionally present their own research there. Tonidandel said, "The research aspect of psychology is a big emphasis in the major here, and an important aspect of the research process is disseminating your findings. At conferences, students get to learn about others' research and present their own."
Davidson Psi Chi also manages a mentoring program for majors. The program pairs an underclass student considering a psychology major with a junior or senior who is already a major. Green said they try to pair students based on similar interests, which benefits both mentees and mentors. She said, "As a senior mentor for a sophomore, I think it's great when you find someone who shares the same interests as you do. It's fun to answer a mentee's questions about your experiences."
Tonidandel sees the mentoring program as a testament to the go-getter attitude of his Davidson students. "It's a student-driven effort," he explained. "Back in 2006, a senior came to me wanting to create this program. She graduated before it came to fruition, but the fact that the mentoring program is still vibrant is a great legacy of her initiative." Last fall, the program had such a big turnout for the mentor/mentee pairing event that they ran out of seats!
Green said there's a growing interest in psychology on campus, and cited the fact that about 60 seniors will be graduating with a psychology major. "There are so many diverse areas to explore in the field," she said. "We attract students interested in anything from studying animal behavior, to helping children, to learning more about industrial organizational psychology. Everyone is doing something different."