Community Psychology and Social Change Online Open House


Good morning and thank you for joining
us today for the virtual fair and community psychology and social change
my name is Mitchell Patterson and I am the Associate Director for graduate
admissions here at Penn State Harrisburg we have some great speakers today to
talk more in depth about the community psych program and I’d like to introduce
Dr. Kamini Grahame who is the professor in charge our community site Thank You Dr.
Grahame for being here thank you and we also have Dr. Candalyn
Rade who is an assistant professor in community psych. and she also teaches and
applied clinical psych. as well and Mary Daman who is a graduating senior
this year about to finish off and defend her community psych. program next month I
would imagine so congratulations to you thank you thanks for having me all right
so before we get underway Dr. Grahame can you talk a little bit
about your experience and the work that you do here in community psychology yes
so I have been here for almost 20 years hired to teach in sociology and
community psychology and social change I’m an associate professor in community
psychology social change and sociology I have been the professor in charge this
past year and therefore in serving in that role for this purpose
I have been teaching courses in community psychology & social change for many
years not necessarily the first year I was here but a lot of students like Mary
take courses with me at the 400 level which are used as elective credits and
community psychology social change I’ve supervised many a students through their
masters paper project which you will hear about later
thank you Dr. Grahame and Dr. Rade your experience here at Penn State Harrisburg yeah so I’m a little bit newer to the faculty here at Penn State
Harrisburg and I teach classes in the undergraduate
program and psychology as well as two of our master’s programs one being this
excellent community psych and social change program and so I take kind of an
interdisciplinary approach in some ways so rooted in community psychology but
then drawing from theories in an applied social psychology and criminal justice
so a lot of the work that I’ve been doing is looking at barriers when folks
are involved in the criminal justice system returning back to their
communities so things like stigma discrimination the way that policy is
influencing that and kind of collaborating with community
organizations to address some of those concerns and if had the opportunity like
Dr. Grahame to work with some students on that and various research projects and
masters papers and so excited to talk to y’all more about that today we’re
excited to have you here today and Mary Daman why’d you pick the
program and what do you plan to do with the community psych. degree okay
it was a long journey for me to get to this point in community psych I have
been going to school on and off for like 15 years most of that time just trying
to get my associates so I eventually made it to Penn State Harrisburg and I
earned my bachelor’s degree in sociology and I minored in women’s studies and I
had the pleasure of having Dr. Grahame for a lot of my classes and she was also
my advisor so I first heard about the program from her and I looked into the
community psych. and I just loved the goals and the mission of community
psychology it really aligned with my own goals so I looked into the program here
at Penn State Harrisburg and I found that it was really convenient the
scheduling I could take the classes at night and with encouragement from my
professor and just really liking the schedule here at Penn State Harrisburg I
found it a good fit for me well well thank you thank you all for sharing
those stories you do have a long-standing relationship yes it’s good to hear obviously the program
is working for you and we look forward to great things to come from you Mary
with this program so we’re going to transition a bit and to the PowerPoint
presentation that’s been prepared by the staff here so the viewing audience bear
with us in just a second but there’s a whole lot of things that we’re going
to go through within learning more in depth about community psychology so
welcome to the community psychology and social change program at Penn State
Harrisburg I’m Dr. Kamini Maroji-Grahame I am the professor in charge of
the program and have been teaching in the program and supervising students in
the program for near on 20 years now so the program at Penn State Harrisburg
it’s going to consist of what we’re talking to you about today is what is
community psychology what do community psychologists do what is the community
psychology program at Penn State Harrisburg look like and what are the
graduation graduates of the program doing now so Dr. Rade is going to talk to
you about what community psychology is thank you yeah so community psychology
really is this nice blend of psychology with sociology and some other
disciplines with the overall goal of kind of moving beyond working at an
individual level and promoting well-being social justice and this
positive social change and so inherently it kind of is interdisciplinary working
a lot and collaborating with folks from social work or public health, community
development clinical social psychology but for this overall goal of promoting
well-being and positive change and so in doing that there are some core methods
and principles that community psychologists abide by and so first we
have this idea of really working within the context of
the culture and within that community so not coming in to a community as experts
but really working collaborating within the context of the community and
what their goals are second looking at this level of analysis and so that’s
what we mean by kind of moving beyond the individual level to looking at more
of a group or a community even things like the social, cultural, & economic
political all of these larger levels and how they’re the influence they’re having
and how they’re interacting and then lastly its community psychologically
really come from this framework of values so our work is very value driven
rather than trying to remove values from the research or work that we’re doing
having that be a moving factor in a key part of the work and so with this we
mean values like empowerment, justice equity, collaboration are really central
and motivating factors behind the work that we do and you’ll see we’ve got a
list of some of the principles and guiding concepts here some of those
those terms you’ve already been talking about so things like attention to
diversity and equity collaboration global in nature so a lot of what we’re
talking about is more of community psych. in the US but this is definitely
an international discipline something that has a long-standing history outside
of the US and so really looking at that global nature and then again this idea
that researching is active right and so we’re putting it into practice really
trying to promote social justice and positive social change and so with that
it’s kind of this idea then what do community psychologists do right so how
do they what do they do after getting this this training as a community
psychologists, so we have listed here some of the different things that community
psychologists do working for empowerment social justice influencing public policy
and so this often leads people with the community psychology background to work
in local, state, & federal government’s working on policy development
initiatives working in or leading on-profit
organizations evaluation and consulting and academia in a range of places from
faculty to research to administration later we’ll find out a little bit more
about what our specific graduates are doing and what their current careers are
but this can give you an idea of kind of broadly speaking where do we see
community psychologists at work okay so the community psychology and social
change program at Penn State Harrisburg it’s an applied program that
incorporates psychology, sociology interdisciplinary studies so it really
is a very interdisciplinary program it emphasizes leadership it emphasizes
Community Development social activism public advocacy you have to think about
it as a toolbox that you get when you do this program it gives you some skills
that enhances communication and collaboration skills program evaluation
community organizing community based interventions multiple methods of
research to help you accomplish the goals that you have at Penn State
Harrisburg the program requirements for admission include a 3.0 GPA we don’t
require necessarily GRE’s although we often recommend them because it enables
you to apply for some of the scholarships that would be considered
for some of the scholarships that require GRE’s so again although they are
not required we recommend that you take them we also require three letters
professional letters of recommendation the decisions about the program whose to
be admitted is made by the faculty in the program so Dr. Rade and myself and
some of the other faculty you’ll see listed at the
are involved in making the decision about admissions the admissions deadline we do
this on a rolling basis but it’s very important to understand that the earlier
you get it in the more likely you will be considered for the scholarship and
financial aid that’s available at Penn State Harrisburg our program consists of
36 credits altogether typically done over two years so there are 27 credits
altogether you’ll see the courses listed there that a core courses in the program
and then nine credits or three three courses of elective credits which
students often combine into a concentration you can look at the manual
which we have posted online for what the areas of concentration are so just to
mention a couple one is the diversity concentration which I believe Mary is
doing and one other is the family youth children concentration and there is a
political social change concentration individualized as well concentration the
culmination of the program which consists of three to six credits of the
core courses is that master’s project or paper for that you will choose an
advisor to guide us master’s paper supervisor to collaborate with on what
the focus of that paper is going to be you will have a reader along with that
supervisor who will be evaluating and guiding you through and evaluating that
master’s paper for example I am Mary’s supervisor with her paper Dr. Rade
is a reader on her paper the supervisor has to come from the community
psychology change program appointed to the Graduate Faculty your reader can
come from anyone who is appointed to the Graduate Faculty. so what our specific graduates doing
well a number of different and exciting things we actually do have people who
have graduated out of this program who have come back to Penn State Harrisburg
as faculty because they went on to do PhDs in a variety of disciplines
including sociology including places like community action research places
and have some have come back to our faculty in different departments here we
also have people out of the master’s degrees program working we have someone
who is a communications director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania someone who
recently graduated who is working as direct an executive director with the
Humane Society of Pennsylvania multicultural director of student
services at Bucknell University for example Dauphin County Register of Wills
and clerk of the orphans Court drug addiction treatment
counselors so there’s a variety of areas in which our students work a number of
them have been working in programs that prevent violence against women that’s
been an interesting focus for a number of graduates of this particular program so here is Mary to introduce you to a
few of her professors all right you’ve already had the pleasure to meet Dr.
Grahame and Dr. Rade here are a few more professors that teach in the community
psychology program as you can see all the professor’s have a different
background which is really great for the students because if you’re doing work
with quantitative research I would go to Dr. Rade for help if I’m doing something
on gender roles I would go to Dr. Grahame for feedback and if I’m doing something
on social movements I’d probably go to Dr. Cunningham so while all the
professor’s are well versed in community psychology of course they all have their
a different area of expertise which has been very helpful
I found all right so do you want to know more about community psychology we are
always willing to talk with you you can get in touch with us via email that’s
always by the way the best way to make a first connection with me and if you want
to talk I will be more than happy to talk with you as I know Dr. Rade is more
than happy to talk with people who are interested in the program as well their
phone numbers their to get in touch with us but again as I say for the professors
especially it’s very important to reach us through email which as you know you
can get anywhere in the world to so well thank you Dr. Rade and Dr. Grahame & Mary Daman that was a very comprehensive presentation about the community
psychosocial change program we’re going to move into the roundtable discussion
portion of our talk this morning and take questions from you the viewing
audience but I can lead off with a few questions that I have here just things
that I I’m often asked as an admissions representative for Penn State about
various programs that we have here at the University but in particular
community psychosocial change so you know students are always looking for
what professional associations that are linked to a particular program like
community psych., so can we talk a little bit about where do we spend our time
with professional groups okay so you um well as Dr. Rade was pointing out
earlier among some of the professional associations our students might go to is
S.C.R.A. that’s the Society for community
research in action and that’s what I’m I’m heavily involved in is the Society
for Community Research and Action which is division 27 of the APA so associated
with the American Psychological Association but really
you need to community psychology and they also have a lot of smaller interest
groups so like I for example in part of the community or the criminal justice
interest group but we have monthly meetings where we virtually talk about
research and activities that people have going on and so that’s been a really
supportive professional network that I’m involved with and we have Mary’s
hopefully coming we have presenting work at a conference there this summer so and
because this is an interdisciplinary program some of our students have
presented at the Eastern sociological Society meetings and some I believe have
presented at the Eastern Psychological Association meetings I have also had
some students my students present work at the Society for the study of social
problems which is a National Society meeting so yes we do encourage our
students to get involved with the associations and especially those
students who want to move on to doctoral programs it’s very important that early
on in their careers they get comfortable presenting at these association meetings
so there yes there are opportunities for them to be involved we do have funding
that if students are presenting the associate dean for graduate research as
well as the school directors can provide funding for students to present at
various Association meetings as well as as Mary did try to get funding through
the student activity funds more groups of students to go to these things or any
journal and they also have mini grants for students like I know straw has many
grants for students for research and for traveling you have to go to their own
conferences and one of our students actually won mini grants a year or two
ago for to help fund her master’s paperwork or so students are involved in
a lot of those organizations perfect that’s fantastic news and great
resources to know about you this is a really really particular discipline when
you think about community & social change so what’s the genesis for
this one was his discipline created when you think about social movements of the
1960s and things that were happening sort of why this this particular major,
what makes it so attractive community psych. and social change well I think
that you you you know you put your finger in something I think generated
out of the movements of the of the 1960s you know and I think that their
realization that it’s not just at the individual level that we see issues
emerge we you look at what it is that influences those particular issues and
you have to look beyond the individual angle to look at the overall context so
community psychologists like to talk about the sort of systems in which
people are embedded and in which Dr. Rade for example teachers the social
impacts on psychological functioning and that really gets to the larger
contextual factors that influence what happens to people so so that is you know
do some of the origins of why this particular field and if you want to make
social change it’s not just about transforming individuals it’s about
transforming systems so you need to understand how systems operate to impact
the issues that affect that that’s a great point Dr. Grahame in terms of
transforming systems I want to pitch it your way Dr. Rade about that can
you go a little further when Dr. Grahame highlights transforming
systems about social change what does that look like yeah so I think that I
mean even like the class that Dr. Grahame mentioned that is one that I teach and
been even broadly speaking that’s really one of the focuses that we see and I
think in a lot of ways that’s the harder work and so oftentimes it’s it’s a lot
slower right to make that kind of change but at least in my area of work I
think it if we thinking about within the criminal justice system or what that my
look like it’s rather than trying to work individually with the person right
so but instead think about the entire system that is broken and hindering
maybe some of that work towards well-being and positive change and so I
think often times it involves a lot of policy level work that some of our
students get involved in and we see folks involved in this or more
collaborative work so working with community coalition’s or groups that
have come together rather than more of at the individual level okay well thank
you Dr. Rade Mary I want to hear from you in terms of you’re about to wrap up the
community psych. & social change masters in just a few weeks what are your
long-term plans with this degree program what are you currently doing if you’re
involved in this line of work but what are your plans well I actually graduate
in December so I have a little bit more time and I don’t know exactly what path
I’m gonna go down I have a few ideas and I can see myself going different ways
I’ve thought about continuing my education and going into a doctoral
program so I’m trying to figure that out I’m also currently working in the
nonprofit sector so I’m thinking about just continuing in the nonprofit and you
know looking for full-time work there I also could see myself teaching I thought
of trying to become adjunct faculty so the great thing about this program is
that even though those are really different paths I feel prepared to go
down any of those paths I really think this program gives you those tools to go
into such a variety of places so you know I like to change things up so even
if I do nonprofit work for a few years I feel prepared to also you know maybe
look at the government work or teaching or for continuing somewhere else so so I
think what Mary’s pointing out is the variety of positions you can get with
the degree in community psychology yes actually and she’s already working you
know the nonprofit she’s working in an immigrant women’s organization and part
of her responsibilities is writing grants which is also
so demonstrative of the sorts of skills you can learn in both the undergrad
program here and the graduate program that allows you to do those sorts of
things and you know once you have the master’s
degree you are hireable at a community college level to not just
adjunct teach but to be a full-time instructor at the level of the Community
College as well so and even some universities will hire people full-time
with a master’s degree true and less and less so but nevertheless that’s still an
open possibility and I know many of our graduates also go into work of kind of
evaluation or consulting where things like grant writing matter and
methodological skills so I think one thing that I think is unique about our
program for a master’s level program is that students take two methods courses
so they’re getting training in quantitative methods as well as
qualitative methods and so I think that’s really helps to prepare them
beyond what we might see in other masters level programs yes and
especially for the grant writing I think a lot of students not just in this
program people graduating out of the undergraduate programs as well often
land in places where they have to do these writing for grants and and respond
to proposals which are is essentially grant writing write in a variety of
organizations not just in the nonprofit sector right well well thank you for
those answers I want to transition or pivot a bit by way of funding and
support that we do provide to our students you know that’s a big question
that’s often asked when I’m out recruiting in terms of how does one pay
for graduate school so what type of funding the resources that we provide to
students that are doing community psych. & social change well we have some
new this year graduate wage assistantships I believe they are about
four of them per school so it’s very competitive people typically have to
have fairly high GPA’s they do not require GRE’s but as I said
during the slideshow it really is worthwhile to do the GRE’s because there
are a couple things like the Button Waller grant that is available to
minority,underrepresented minority students that require GREs and they may
be other things that require GREs I know Mitchell can probably talk about the
Chancellor’s award which is available as well it’s not a huge amount of money but
it’s provided again for students with you know significant GPAs etc. and there
is a bunch of stuff that I’m now learning more about you can go to the
Penn State Harrisburg website to find a variety of scholarships which are
available to current students returning students and incoming students that are
all competitive but they require application from students and of course
there is financial aid available through the federal grant process as well as private foundation grants so a lot of it depends also to in
students doing the legwork to find out what some of these grants are I want to
move into the portion where we talk about publication having a chance to
present a paper and then you know turn that thesis into a published work what
does that look like here at Penn State Harrisburg because students are looking
to co-author with a faculty by way of publishing their works are just going
alone what’s the method behind that or system behind well there
are different sorts of things and I think well let me talk about what
I’ve done so oftentimes I have worked with the students I supervise to turn
the master’s paper into a publication paper so we’ll keep that
in mind and you know I have published with students and I have one under
review where the student I supervise a couple years ago and of course I will be
encouraging Mary to do the same but they’re also too there sometimes we work
we have research projects that we’re doing that is not necessarily the
students paper and we can involve students in those sorts of projects as
well I think Dr. Rade is involving Mary in one of those projects and they likely
will work on something yeah see that’s something I can speak to more of just by
nature of not being here as long I haven’t had as many students with
Master’s papers completed that are ready for publication but I have had the
opportunity to invite several students on to work on mine on my ongoing
research and so Mary for example is doing her practicum this semester by
being a research assistant on my project and so has been involved in survey
collection and we’re doing interviews right now and so she’s been able to
contrition and one of their student have been able to contribute to submitting
that for presentations we’re going to be submitting it or presenting it at an
international conference this summer and then hopefully after that we’ll be
writing it up for for publication toward the end of the year and so that’s how so
far I’ve been able to get students involved as well as then providing the
opportunity for them to do their own kind of piece of the project so actually
yesterday you know Mary and another student of prison in a poster on their
work talk about yeah sure so Dr. Rade’s research project is on re-entry
coalitions re-entry as an formerly incarcerated people re-entering society
so me and my lab partner we reported on the first phase of the research on some
of the surveys we’ve been getting back and we took that raw data and put it
into one of our programs SPSS to run some statistics on the makeup of the
coalition so an membership leadership and we were able to report on
that and we made a beautiful poster presentation that we presented yesterday
at this school so yeah the practicum has been a great experience it’s let me see
the research process from really like you know the beginning to hopefully the
end and in all that, that entails and it’s so much different actually doing
giving that practical experience rather than just reading it so it’s been a
great experience a great practice for me when I do my own research and that sort of thing
that we try to bring in to at least think so I teach one of the methods
courses right we try to bring some of that more hands-on experience going out
into the community doing some data collection that we then use in the
classroom but the opportunity to do that in practicum I think it’s giving you a
more extended except I was ready yeah more in depth about that so so maybe
since the practicum came up let me tell them a little bit about you know I don’t
want people to get the impression that research assisting it’s the only way for
doing practicum in you know it was we have I teach the practicum course so
while Mary’s doing the practicum being supervised by Dr. Rade I’m the instructor
for that particular course so they come to different components sure she’ll be
supervised by she’ll be evaluated by Dr. Rade’s supervisor for the practicum but a
lot of the other students in that course currently are out in community
organizations doing their practicum it’s so I’m really sure it’s the like an
internship so I just didn’t want to get want people to get the wrong impression
that practicum is about doing a research assistantship it’s only one way you can
do practicum and it really was convenient and good for Mary given what
some of her interests and goals are but other people are out doing somebody’s
working in after-school programs for example someone else is working in
pastoral counseling services for immigrant people someone else is working
in in a Planned Parenthood for example
because they’re trying to develop programs for health programs for LGBTQ
and trans people populations so that just gives you a sense that’s just this
one semester of the sorts of experiences that students in the program when they
get to the practicum experience can go out and do I think my practicum is
probably not the norm but again that goes to the crediting of the of the
program and really being able to individualize it and make it what you
want so other questions that are coming from
okay well I think I’ll ask one last question
in terms of you Dr. Grahame you speak of this garden variety opportunities that
students are involved and with community psych. & social change so how does the
program look by way of structure in terms of when classes are delivered
you know weekends hybrid models what’s our particular model here with this
comm. psych. program okay so the core course is those 27
credits we talked about those are offered on campus and they are offered
in the evenings I think Mary mentioned this that it was very convenient for her
to be able to come in the evening and it’s particularly convenient for people
with children for people with full-time jobs and many of us students might have
full-time jobs as well but there are some students over here full-time as
students as well the we also try to offer many of the courses like I
routinely teach at least one course in at the 400 level in the evenings because
students can use these as elective credits like a lot of
oh yes and then we’re all online and Penn State by its world campus has a lot
of courses online that students are able to take as well I think that’s one of
the huge advantages of coming to Penn State program that the
you can find these courses online individual campuses especially during
the summer would also run courses online we have a student who’s going to be a
couple of students actually in the program who taking two online courses
each this summer because it’s convenient for them and that helps with especially
that concentration we were about earlier yeah being able to find the classes that
really work for that concentration and the summer fits for that individual
person yeah and I would say that the advisors or me as a professor in charge
work with students to find appropriate courses so even though you may see a
list of courses under the concentrations we work with students to find
substitutes when things may not quite fit their their interests or their
agenda but we find things we work with you to find things that fit that
concentration very good okay well that’s pretty much the portion of the Q&A
throughout the roundtable so we’re going to bring the program to a
close and ask why community psych and social change and I want to hear from
each and every one of you the authentic voice of a student Mary Daman, why did
you pick this program and we’ll finish off with you Dr. Grahame in terms of
why community psych. & social change so you can start alright community psych has
just been a really great experience being in this program the professors
have been so accommodating you know I’m a non-traditional student I work I have
children and I think most if not all of the students are probably
non-traditional in this program so the staff realize life happens emergencies
happen they’ve always been accommodating to to
help make it work and they really want to see you do well they want to see you
graduate so just having that support has been wonderful I really love the campus
it’s it’s a beautiful area I’ve always felt safe and comfortable
there’s an awesome diversity here we have a lot of international students and
students from all over the country not just the state so you’re really getting
a perspective and seeing experiences that are not your own so that’s been
great just listening to the other students in my cohort I’ve learned so
much from them so it’s been it’s been a great program thank you Mary Dr. Rade yeah so I think that one of the things that I find most that’s unique about
community psychology in our program is that value driven nature of it that I
really appreciate and really incorporate in my work and I think that we emphasize
that throughout our program whether it’s the coursework or the practicum or the
masters paper we have opportunities for students to really be engaged in what
matters to them and what they’re trying to pursue so through some of those
individualized natures that we’re talking about and you know as Mary was
talking about because we have a really good mixture of students from various
backgrounds of non-traditional we have students who are have just recently
finished their undergrad degree and are coming to pursue master’s work that in
the classroom it really creates a lot of good discussion and ideas coming through
because you do have these various voices and so you know teaching community psych
classes are always really fun for me for that reason because students are really
engaged and really wanting to participate in that so I think that you
know it’s a unique program that we don’t see a lot of these types of programs
across the country but also I think the way that we have this interdisciplinary
nature in our program is also unique that that really creates a good
experience for the students thank you Dr. Rade
so why our program let me just say I travel internationally Penn State brand
Penn State is recognized internationally right Penn State brand we have huge
numbers of alumni from Penn State all over the world I can’t tell you you know
again traveling internationally and seeing people with the Penn State
sweatshirt on, so Penn State but our program it’s amazing it’s the
interdisciplinarity of it I people find very revealing recently a
couple of students I talked to we’re looking at social work and then they
discovered our program and said this is what I want because of the focus on the
larger context that that impacts individuals and the focus on looking at
how to make systemic sorts of change right so that’s very important the sorts
of skills you can get to understand why you have people are having the issues
that they’re having in the first place and what it is that you need to do to
create change so that those are two huge reasons but my two colleagues here
talked about some other reasons the faculty here are great wonderful faculty who are caring faculty who are community-focused themselves
the organization that Mary is currently working for I was one of the people
early on the day it was founded I was I became involved in that
organization and recently just went back for for a community meeting which is
great so there it’s community focus right so we make sure that we practice
what we preach which is to be community focused right and the students are
wonderful students bond with each other the recognizes Mary said that we are a
caring property we care about them we are accommodating we work with them to
get them through to that point it’s just another example I’m on a statewide
leadership team for Pennsylvania and without knowing it Mary is a
representative on there and one of our students is gonna now be a new
representative so even though maybe not in the same location working
organizations are still seeing our graduates come together and kind of
leadership positions across these organizations right well thank you for
joining us today I want to thank Dr. Grahame and Dr. Rade and Mary Daman the rest of the way with your program this was a really really heartfelt and moving piece of information about the program the comm. psych. & social change so we hope you join us soon take care of have a great day! day

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