Antioch University Psychology Departments Gather in Nation’s Capitol for Convention

The first weekend of August, students and faculty from the New England PsyD and the Seattle PsyD converged in Washington, DC for this year’s American Psychological Association’s annual convention. This conference presented opportunities for psychology students to network and learn more about the state-of-the-art in their field, and for well-established faculty to see colleagues and participate in their profession’s ongoing development. As Lorraine Mangione, Professor of Clinical Psychology in the New England PsyD says, “I attend APA for both the relationships and the deep level of work that gets presented.”

Antioch attendance was at a high this year compared to previous years—partly due to fears of the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to recede. “This year we had about 30 students and faculty attend, the most ever.” says Jude Bergkamp, the chair of the Seattle PsyD program. “We also had a dozen presentations that represented our social justice research and advocacy efforts.”

Fostering Connection

The APA convention is a three-day event consisting of presentations, symposiums, and workshops. It allows for all of those who attend to learn not only more about their own specialization within the broader field of psychology but also from other branches and areas. It welcomes all psychologists, whether they are already practicing or in training, no matter the discipline, specialty, or career stage. This makes it an ideal setting for the students, faculty, and alumni of a PsyD program to congregate and explore together. 

Antioch New England faculty Molly O'Reilly and Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin hug in front of their poster.

For Mangione, the conference presented a great opportunity to share her research on Bruce Springsteen and his female fandom—a topic she recently published a book about. For APA ‘23, she created a poster that she presented in the conference’s great hall. Mangione feared her poster wouldn’t garner the attention she’d hoped, but she said, “I am happy to report that we had a sizable number of visitors.” Mangione explains, “Our poster engendered great questions and conversations, so the conference both began and ended with collegiality and critical thinking strongly represented.”

Another attendee, the third-year Seattle PsyD student Shirley Lo, won an award for her poster submission. This poster was about Colonization and Decolonization in Hong Kong—an important topic that does not always receive enough attention. Read our Research Spotlight interview with Lo to learn more about this poster and her experience at APA ‘23.

Antioch University Psychology faculty Jude Bergkamp and PsyD student Shirley Lo with her winning presentation

Vincent Pignatiello, the chair of the New England PsyD, says that one of the main pleasures of attending the conference was getting to see students take advantage of these opportunities to professionalize. He explains, “It is always exciting to see students taking a step into the profession.” His supervision demonstration, “The Dynamics of the Supervisory Relationship—A Live Demonstration,” which was moderated by current student Rebecca Moussa and PsyD alum Alicia MacDougall, highlighted how developing a professional mind occurs through the supervisory process.

Coming Together as Antiochians in the Seat of American Democracy

Being in the nation’s capitol garnered excitement from the Antiochians in attendance. “Despite all the critical issues facing us as psychologists and as a nation, which were on full display in the presentations and workshops, etc,” says Mangione, “a sense of hope, efficacy, and optimism was engendered by our current president, by many of the talks and programs, and by coming together physically for the conference, and that filtered through a lot of the conference.”

New England faculty member Lorraine Mangione stands in front of her poster on Bruce Springsteen's women fans.

The PsyD programs also created space at the convention for students, faculty, and alumni to come together as Antiochians. This highlighted the Antioch community in attendance at APA—and carried forward an emerging tradition. “For the past five years,” explains Bergkamp, “we’ve been organizing an Antioch social event for students, faculty, and alumni. This has been a major success in fostering connection and collaboration across our programs.”

With the New England and Seattle campuses being separated through the majority of the year, Mangione found excitement in the community being in one place. “I just love seeing any of our students attend APA, whether they present some work or not,” she says, “just so they get a bigger sense of the profession outside of their daily experience at school or at practicum.”

Antioch University Psychology faculty Jude Bergkamp and PsyD student during a poster presentation