The University of Texas-Pan American PsiChi Chapter celebrated its twentieth anniversary at an April 29 gathering. PsiChi, the National Honor Society in Psychology, was founded in 1929 to foster academic excellence in psychology. Dr. Mark Winkel, director of the Graduate Psychology Program and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Anthropology, founded the UTPA chapter in 1983.
"There was a Psychology Club here before I arrived in 1982, but then I thought, because the department was growing, it was important that we formalize it and become a member of the National Honor Society in Psychology. It was formed and has grown ever since," Winkel said. "I'm pleased to say that something I started is still in existence twenty years later."
The celebration was well attended with PsiChi officers, faculty and UTPA students coming together to socialize and listen to guest speakers. Many of the students there also participated in a workshop called "Demystifying Graduate School" presented by Dr. Grant Benham, assistant professor and the advisor of PsiChi and the Psychology Club, and Dr. Kristin Croyle, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Anthropology.
"We are giving the workshop to help students develop an early understanding of what can be a complicated process. We've found that students are often waiting too late, sometimes as late as their last semester, to collect necessary application materials and establish relationships with faculty members for letters of recommendation. Their applications could be greatly strengthened if they can understand what's involved and work towards that," Benham said. "We also want them to know what sort of graduate opportunities are available and what life at graduate school is really like. We hope to offer this workshop on a yearly basis."
Raul Mendoza, president of PsiChi and a senior majoring in Psychology, said, "I'm hoping we can boost memberships by allowing people to understand exactly what PsiChi does in terms of what it can provide to students who want to go into research and who want to continue their education. Being a part of PsiChi makes me a more marketable student."
During his address, Mendoza inducted ten new members and recognized former PsiChi advisors present at the celebration.
For more information on PsiChi please contact Dr. Grant Benham at 956/292-7342.