By Carolina M. Bejarano, M.A.

As I transition out of my role as the Student Representative for Division 54, I write in appreciation of the experiences of the past two years. I have been grateful for this opportunity to serve students and trainees of the Society of Pediatric Psychology (SPP), as well as learn from the inspiring leaders on the Board of Directors.

During my time on the board, I have valued the experience of learning about effective and collaborative leadership from my involvement in discussions and decisions made by this group. The board members and conference chairs have modeled how to take on challenges with enthusiasm and work collaboratively, especially in light of the specific challenges presented and emphasized in the past year. It was incredible to see the commitment and action that created a successful virtual conference in a matter of days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, I am very appreciative of our board and members’ dedication to the growing anti-racism efforts in our field, on both personal and professional levels.  

Another highlight of this experience was the opportunity to participate in the Mid-Winter Meeting in January 2020, where we discussed and refined the vision, mission, and strategic drivers of Division 54. It was inspiring to see a group so committed to advancing of the field of pediatric psychology and making informed decisions to best serve children, youth, and families. This leadership experience has made me further aware of the importance of actively listening to all perspectives and voices and seeking ways to include those who are not yet at the table.

I have so much gratitude for my collaboration with each of the amazing members of the Student Advisory Board. The Programming, Website/Student Spotlight, and Membership committees are responsible for our successful student programming at SPPAC and APA, recognizing the wonderful accomplishments of SPP students and trainees, connecting with student membership to best meet ongoing needs, and so much more. The Network of Campus Representatives continues to show their dedication to sharing information about the field of pediatric psychology with innovative approaches to engaging students across the country. I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to connect with SPP students and trainees at a variety of institutions and stages of training in this role.

Though I will miss my collaborations within the Board of Directors and Student Advisory Board, I am enthusiastic about the skills, perspectives, and excellent contributions I am confident Sahar Eshtehardi will bring as our incoming Student Representative. I am also appreciative that I can continue my active participation in SPP through co-leadership of the Student Anti-Racism group and SIG membership. Thank you for this valuable opportunity to serve in my professional home. I look forward to the wonderful advancements ahead for SPP in working to actively promote the health and psychological well-being of all children, youth, and families.

With gratitude,

Carolina M. Bejarano, M.A.
SPP Student Representative 2019-2020