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) and learn from the inspiring leaders on the Board of Directors.
I would be remiss not to first acknowledge the hardworking Student Advisory Board (SAB) members. My role largely depended on the SAB members' collaboration and support. The SAB comprises some of the most exceptional trainees I have ever worked with, and I am constantly in awe of their dedication to the equity and advancement of pediatric psychology training. Throughout my tenure as Student Representative, I was often given unjust credit for the work of the SAB at large, and I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the folks that dedicated countless hours to ensure student and trainee needs were being met. This includes all of the current and past SAB members with whom I had the pleasure of working during my term: MaryJane Campbell, Kelly Rea, Andrea Fidler, Caroline Roberts, Anjana Jagpal, Nicole Ruppe, Alix McLaughlin, Erin Moorman, Melissa Engel, Clarissa Shields, Kelsey Hill, Rachel Fisher, Karen Dimentstein, Mycah Ayala, Jennifer Kelleher, Yael Gross, and Caitlyn Maye. Thank you for your service to SPP! Similarly, I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Drs. Idia Thurston and Megan Cohen, who each served as the Student/Trainee Development Member at Large on the Board of Directors and are fierce advocates for SPP trainees. Their mentorship and guidance as I navigated my role was critical to the advancement of SAB initiatives.
When I began my term as Student Representative in January of 2021, my goals included fostering the inclusivity of Division 54 trainees from underrepresented programs by increasing access to pediatric psychology resources and networks and tailoring efforts to best support trainee education, research, and clinical practice, particularly during the challenging COVID-19 era. Together with the SAB, we worked diligently towards these goals, meeting monthly to assess progress. These initiatives included the creation of the COVID Grant in Aid fund, forming the new Advocacy & Service Committee on the SAB, the SPP Podcast, SPPAC programming, annual professional development webinars, training resources, refinement of the National Campus Representative program, and an annual virtual training report.
My time as a student leader within SPP was the highlight of my graduate training, fostering lifelong friendships and helping me build skills that will translate into my career as a pediatric psychologist and, most importantly, as a person. While it is bittersweet to step down, I am confident that Perry Catlin will be an exceptional Student Representative, and I am excited to watch him continue to work toward supporting and promoting equity and inclusion amongst SPP trainees. I highly encourage all interested trainees to get involved in the society; there is room at the table for everyone! Email Perry at SPP.StudentRep@gmail.com to find out how. Lastly, feel free to contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for this valuable opportunity to serve in my professional home – it was truly an honor. I look forward to seeing many of you in Chicago next month!
With gratitude, Sahar Eshtehardi, MS