A Letter from our founder, Courtney Heldreth:
I started UGSP in 2012 because I recognized a need to create a more supportive and inclusive environment for graduate students from underrepresented groups. With Professor Shapiro’s support, the group has grown to include over 40 psychology graduate students from races, sexual orientations, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in graduate education. Through activities, mentorship, and community outreach, UGSP has created a culture that encourages the potential and promise of those from underrepresented groups.
With the support from the APA Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training II (CEMRRAT2) Task Force Grant and our department’s Diversity Science Initiative, UGSP has flourished. Throughout the academic year we host:
- A Brown Bag Series, where faculty and post-doctoral students from underrepresented backgrounds share insight from their graduate student and career trajectory;
- Educational outreach, during which we teach undergraduate students about the different areas of Psychology, discuss career options for majors, and explain the graduate school application process and graduate student experience;
- High school outreach, where UGSP members visit high schools to talk to students the college application process and the importance of attending college;
- Social events, where graduate students can interact with and feel supported by fellow peers from diverse backgrounds, and finally;
- An alumni conference, which allows students the opportunity to connect with successful alumni from underrepresented groups and learn about research focused on issues related to diversity.
All this work is conducted with the ultimate aim of increasing the number of students from underrepresented groups in the academic pipeline. By fostering an environment in which those from diverse groups feel accepted, we hope to diversify the ranks of those with doctorate degrees and expand the scholarship in our field to new domains.
Courtney Heldreth, PhD