Meet Your New Student Caucus Executive Board
As many of you may recall, in January we held an online election to vote on the new student executive board. In March, we bid farewell to some members of the founding student executive board and welcomed back others, as well as added some new faces. Read below to get to know your new executive board!
A Message From The President
It is with great pleasure that I take on the role of President for the SARMAC Student Caucus from 2017-2019. In the age where we need to ‘March for Science’, it is even more important to grow student interest and representation in applied memory and cognition research. It is the desire of the society to fulfill this aim that drew me to apply for student caucus president following my term as social chair. With the wonderful groundwork laid for us by the previous board, we look forward to providing fantastic opportunities for SARMAC student members over the next two years. The first of these are four research grants that will fund student research to be conducted and subsequently presented in a specialized symposium at SARMAC XIII. Not only will the grants be for students, they will be judged by a sub-committee of late candidature PhD students, increasing student involvement in all aspects of the application process. We are currently finalizing this process, and will call for applications in the next couple of weeks. If you are planning on attending SARMAC XIII, please consider applying for a research grant and have a think about your research proposal! In addition to these research grants, we will be offering other grants to help students attend SARMAC XIII, and developing some fantastic student events for the conference.
I look forward to working with the rest of the board over the next two years to help SARMAC grow the next generation of applied memory and cognition researchers.
SARMAC Student Caucus President
SARMAC XIII Student Grants
We are happy to announce that we will be awarding 15 travel grants to successful applicants attending SARMAC XIII.
Research - We will be awarding 4 grants worth up to $700 (USD) to fund student research to be presented in a student-focused symposium Cape Cod. The call for research grants will go out mid-June and applications will be due in September. Applications will be adjudicated by a sub-committee of students late in their PhD. Now’s the time to start thinking about your research proposal!
Other Grants & Awards – Students will have the opportunity to apply for one of nine travel grants of varying award values. A Best Paper and Best Poster will also be awarded. More details to come in next issue!
Insight from a Student Member
Rebecca Wheeler is a PhD Student at Goldsmiths, University of London who has published research on the persuadability of memory and memory conformity, and is broadly interested in the application of psychology to the criminal justice system.
How did you get interested in psychology?
I did an A-Level in psychology at college at 16/17, and never really looked back! I think the appeal lay in trying to understand what made people tick – I’ve always been most interested in the application of psychology. When I think about it I feel like I’ve been really lucky with my line of work – I’ve managed to work with some great people who all pointed me towards slightly different areas of investigative interviewing and memory research.
What has been the most influential in your psych career?
Oh there’s a few! I remember learning about Elizabeth Loftus’s work during my A Level and just being absolutely hooked. When my PhD supervisor, Fiona Gabbert, asked if I wanted to meet Beth for a coffee during one of her visits to London it was surreal! I was so excited/nervous, but she’s so lovely, and incredibly supportive. On a more personal level there are a couple of people I made contact with fairly regularly after my undergrad degree to ask about work or PhD opportunities – Fiona (Gabbert) and Rob Nash. Again, I think I discovered their work and something just clicked. It was exactly the type of research I wanted to be involved in. I’ve worked with them both now (and Fiona is currently supervising my PhD), and I honestly think they’ve made a huge difference to the researcher I’ve become/am becoming. They’ve both always been so supportive and encouraging. And between them I think they’ve introduced me to most of SARMAC so that’s always a bonus!
What is your first/best SARMAC conference experience?
I’ve only had two SARMAC conference experiences so far – Victoria and Sydney – and both were amazing for completely different reasons. I attended the Victoria SARMAC with Fiona, who was great at taking me around and introducing me to people. It made it easier to stop being star-struck! In Sydney I was the only one from the Goldsmiths Forensic Psychology Unit who could make it, so it was a slightly different experience. I’m coming up for the end of my PhD now (7 months to go!) so I tried to use SARMAC as an opportunity to get advice from as many people as possible and to try and get a feel for some of the opportunities I could apply for at the end of my PhD. It was really helpful! Even though I didn’t have my lab group to lean on, there was no shortage of people to talk to. I’ve found SARMAC to be such a friendly conference, and I always come away completely fired up about my work. I’d really recommend it to any postgrads – and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There’s so much expertise at SARMAC and people seem really happy to help. The social events are also pretty special – Sydney was the first time I went from the beach to a talk, and from the final keynote to a zoo!
Advice for grad students/young faculty?
I think it’s important to consider who you want to work with, and the type of environment that you want to work in. A lab group can be a great source of support and stops the PhD journey from feeling as lonely. I’d also say it’s important to plan your time, but be prepared to adapt. New opportunities and unexpected findings always come up, and again a lab group can be a huge help in figuring out how to handle these. I’ve got better at making agendas for these types of meetings though - it’s all too easy to wander off topic sometimes! On a related note, don’t be afraid to put yourself forward for opportunities. I took three months away from my PhD to intern at the College of Policing, and getting that insight into how things are done was an interesting and valuable experience. I’ve also attended academic-practitioner research days with Fiona, and have made some great contacts with Trident at the Metropolitan Police, and Xcalibre at Greater Manchester Police. Both are gang and gun crime units so it’s been great to have them involved in some of my studies. Impact is so important now and having practitioner involvement from the start ensures that we’re addressing real world issues and maximizing our chance at having real impact. So, put yourself out there – you’ve no idea where it could lead!
I’d also say start writing early…At the last SARMAC lunch with the experts Maryanne Garry suggested that a writing habit is one of the most important things to develop early on. I’ve always been quite good at writing up method and results sections as I go along, but with hindsight I do wish I’d made a point of writing every day. I especially wish that I’d written notes on journal articles in full as I read them. I relied upon sticky notes and highlights rather than a proper literature review grid. It took helping to complete a systematic review with my lab for a College of Policing last year before I realized how helpful they can be. So keep full notes on articles you read in a grid comparing themes between papers – your future self will thank you when it comes to the write up!
What are you working on these days?
Throughout my PhD I’ve looked at how effective different types of self-generated retrieval cue can be in increasing the accuracy and completeness of witness accounts. I’ve also been working on witness cooperation in collaboration with two gang crime units. Police officers often encounter ‘reluctant witnesses’ (who have information, but for a number of reasons don’t want to get involved with an investigation), so I’m looking at the contribution psychology can make there. I’m collecting my last bits of data and writing up at the minute, and of course exploring collaborations and grant writing opportunities for the future.
Anything about your lab (recruitment plug, etc)
The Goldsmiths Forensic Psychology Unit is relatively new (we’ve only been going a couple of years), but we’re growing. We take on interns sometimes (Fiona Gabbert is the person to contact about this) and hold regular events in London. We’ve put on everything from expert panel discussions, through to (award-winning!) immersive public engagement events. I’d suggest keeping an eye out for these (through our twitter @ForensicGold) if you’re around London. They sell out pretty quickly! We’re working on developing our website too so hopefully more information will be going up on there soon (http://www.gold.ac.uk/forensic-psychology-unit/).
On a more personal note, I’m really interested in building connections for future collaborations, so if anything I’m working on sounds interesting then please feel free to get in touch. I’m contactable on Twitter @R_L_Wheeler or email (email@example.com)!
Just one last bit of advice. From watching the staff around me I’ve realized just how rare it is to have time to focus solely on research, so make the most of it. Go to conferences, talk to everyone, and make the most of the time you have to focus on what it is you love!