Interview with President of the Psychology Club and Psi Chi Olivia King.
Hi Olivia, as president of the Psychology Club and Psi Chi, can you explain what these organizations are and how they are different?
Psychology Club is a student organization in which students are given the opportunity to widen their knowledge in psychology, as well as guiding and aiming our members towards a successful future. Psi Chi is the International Honor Society in Psychology. The main difference in the two organizations is that there is no academic requirement to be a member in Psychology Club. The officers and I want to provide opportunities to our members to succeed, no matter where they stand academically. Psi Chi has rigorous academic qualifications.
How many members do these groups have?
Psychology Club typically has about 50 regular members. However, through the semester, we see a total of 100 members attending our meetings to utilize the resources we provide. Meanwhile, Psi Chi has accumulated over 1,600 members since the chapter’s start at Texas A&M University in 1976. For the Spring 2017 semester, 42 students were accepted into Psi Chi.
What do members do to improve undergraduate education?
In our organization, we provide resources for students such as a biannual graduate student panel, biweekly research presentations by professors, and presentations by outside organizations that are closely related to psychology.
What is the most important thing a student that is a new psychology major should know about your organization?
I would tell a freshman that the Psychology Club is a great opportunity to find out what you may want to do in the field of psychology. Psychology has become so large that you can find something to do with psychology from the business world to the mental health field. In our meetings speakers represent the various subfields in psychology and are wonderful people to ask about the subject itself and about opportunities to get involved in these subfields.
What are some recent activities?
In the Fall 2016, we developed a relationship with the Alzheimer’s Association to help develop a local Alzheimer’s Walk in the Brazos Valley area. More recent service events include participation in The Big Event and the Relay for Life, supporting cancer research through the American Cancer Society. Also, in our most recent meeting TAMU psychology graduate students took questions from members concerning graduate school in psychology. This is one of the most popular events in our organization.
Speaking for yourself, what is the one thing that you would change about undergraduate education at Texas A&M as a whole or in the Psychology Department?
One thing that I would strongly encourage for Texas A&M and the Psychology Department is smaller class sizes. In introductory courses it is incredibly easy to get lost in a class that holds up to 300 students. Even when you get into the upper-level courses there are still up to120 students. While this is, indeed, an improvement, it is still difficult to get to know our professors and connect with them. I joined the department’s honors program and was able to get more access to smaller classes, but many other students are not able to take advantage of this opportunity.