Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

New Psych Club Honored

Highlights included going to ASPP conference in State College and attending the National Association of School Psychologists conference.

While this year’s Marauder Leadership Awards could not be received at the originally planned in-person ceremony, a selection of Millersville students were still honored for their hard work during the 2019-2020 academic school year. One group, The Student Affiliates of School Psychology at Millersville University (SASP-MU), was recognized as an outstanding new student organization. SASP has 60 other chapters at universities across the nation which aim to serve graduate psychology students as a source of information and networking.

Dr. Lauren Kaiser, the club’s faculty adviser, is finishing her second year as an associate professor at Millersville University. During her first year of teaching at Millersville, she felt there was a need for a student organization focused on school psychology students. After gaining some interest, Kaiser and a group of students met to discuss forming an official club, and MU’s chapter of SASP was born.

Now, fresh off their win as an outstanding new student organization, Sarah Graeff, the communications coordinator and the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania (ASPP) liaison, and Kaiser, shared what they think makes the club special.

Sarah Graeff –
What do you enjoy most about SASP-MU and your role in the club?

I enjoy the camaraderie that has developed between the students and staff members through the process of creating this group. I think we underestimated how much this group would bring our school psychology department together. I love my role in this group because I truly enjoy working on our social media posts, as well as being the ASPP representative and sharing opportunities for my fellow students.

I am about to start my internship year in the school psychology master’s program. I am the communications coordinator which has allowed me the opportunity to create various social media outlets to promote our work. I am also the ASPP liaison, so being a part of this group has provided a great platform for sharing opportunities, scholarships, and news from our state association in a more effective manner.

Over the last academic year, what were some of the highlights of the club’s activities?

Highlights include socials, going to ASPP conference in State College, attending the National Association of School Psychologists conference in Baltimore, creating t-shirts and becoming approved for temporary status as a new student organization.

What is the goal of SASP-MU?

I think the goal of SASP-MU is to bring the students together, whether they are undergrads thinking of applying, current 1st, 2nd, and internship year students, or alumni. Creating opportunities for academic and professional development as well as creating connections is something we try to promote in almost everything we set out to do.

What makes SASP-MU stand out?

We are a really passionate group and we are deeply invested in the success of our projects. We have so many active members who are willing to give their time and talents to advocate for school psychology.

What do you personally hope to achieve by being part of this club? 

I hope to highlight the wonderful work of our members through our social media outlets, as well as get the word out about what school psychology is and how others can get involved.

How do you feel about the club being recognized through the Marauder Leadership awards?

I am so excited that SASP-MU was recognized as the outstanding new student organization! We have all been working hard at meeting our goals for so many months that winning this award felt really amazing. It is also incredible to be led by the “Advisor of the Year,” Dr. Kaiser, and our president, “Student Leadership Nominee,” Hannah Lombardo. Having three other members who were also recognized, Olivia Lambert, Christina Powley, and Gabby Vaxmonsky, is also amazing! We are surrounded by so many passionate leaders who make this program the place to be!

Professor Lauren Kaiser – Faculty Adviser

What do you enjoy most about SASP-MU and your role in the club?

I enjoy the positive climate that the group brings to our graduate student program. They are an enthusiastic group. Their enthusiasm is infectious in our program and inspires others to get involved across cohorts. I like that the group provides opportunities, either through their meetings or the events they plan, for students and faculty to get together outside of class. This allows for cross-cohort networking and relationship building. Without this organization planning these events, students may stick to the cohort of students with which they take classes and not have the opportunity to connect with other students in other points in the program (e.g., students in the first-year, second-year, and on internship). These new student-to-student interactions foster all new social and professional growth opportunities.

How did the club form?

I just wrapped up my second year as an assistant professor at Millersville University. In my first year, I saw the need for a graduate student organization in our program and planted the seed with a few students. In that time, the seed grew well beyond my initial vision. Last year we met informally to discuss possibilities, and this year the group formed officially and grew at a rapid pace under the leadership of our executive board. Our president Hannah Lombardo kept a consistent and frequent meeting schedule, with a lofty and productive agenda. We also owe the success of this organization to Katlyn Bennett, President-elect & Constitution Chair, GA Liaison; Krislyn Rousseau, Vice President;  Daniela Prisco, Secretary; Danielle Martin, Treasurer; Bailey Gibson, Professional Development Coordinator; Danielle Taylor, Student Support Coordinator; Sarah Graeff, Communications Coordinator & ASPP Liaison and Toni Badura, MSPA Liaison.  It has been exciting to work with this group from the ground up as their faculty advisor.

What makes SASP-MU stand out?

It is our department’s only graduate-level student organization. We are also adding to the 60 other universities that have a chapter of the national SASP organization, of the American Psychological Association, Division 16 (School Psychology Division).

What do you personally hope to achieve by being part of this club?

I am a former SASP founding member from the University of Maryland College Park’s SASP chapter. When I was at UMCP, we also had a similar need for student-to-student interaction or organized leadership opportunities outside of class, so we formed our own SASP.

Personally, as an advisor, I enjoy having more student voices and perspectives about our program as well as student-leadership to enhance our program and field in innovative ways. I think this group will blossom into social justice advocacy and service opportunities. It will be exciting to see it grow and develop over time.

How do you feel about the club being recognized through the Marauder Leadership awards?

I was thrilled that the group was able to get recognition for their hard work this past year and glad to also spread awareness about school psychology.

More information about the Student Affiliates of School Psychology can be found here:

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