Lynette DiBenedetto, 2nd year RIT school psychology student and NYASP graduate student representative
My name is Lynette DiBenedetto, and I am currently serving a two-year term as a graduate student representative to the NYASP executive board. NYASP (the New York State Association of School Psychologists) is a non-profit organization with a mission to "serve children, their families, and the school community by promoting psychological well-being, excellence in education, and sensitivity to diversity through best practices in school psychology" (NYASP mission statement, http://www.nyasp.org).
I was made aware of the graduate representative open position in the winter of 2007 by Dr. Suzanne Graney, RIT assistant professor and NYASP executive board member (Chapter D representative). I submitted a resume and letter of intent, as well as two letters of recommendation by faculty members. At the May 2007 NYASP executive board meeting, the board members voted on who they would like to elect as the student representative and alternate student representative, and with the most votes I was chosen as the student representative for the 2007-2009 term.
I was very honored to be elected as a student representative last spring! Myself, as well as the three additional student representatives, attend three executive board meetings a year, where we get to listen to and discuss pertinent issues in our field today. We represent the views and interests of graduate students to the executive board, and relay information back to graduate students through a network of student liaisons at each New York State school psychology training program. We are highly involved in connecting graduate students in masters, specialist, and doctoral programs across New York State.
Every year NYASP hosts a conference in order to provide professional development, and last year the conference included a "graduate student strand" to address issues relevant to current graduate students. Topics included preparing for the Praxis II exam, finding an internship, and obtaining the Nationally Certified School Psychology credential for students in non-NASP approved programs, among others. We also hosted a graduate town hall meeting where we solicited feedback from a variety of students and had a lively discussion over lunch (can you say free food!?) We plan on continuing the graduate student strand and town hall meeting at this year's conference, which is November 13th-15th in Rochester.
The student reps' most recent undertaking has been working on a SPEAK project (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness Kit) in partnership with the New York State Office of Mental Health. We developed two suicide awareness presentations to be delivered at the college level: to university staff and undergraduate students. School psychology graduate students from across the state were recently trained to give these presentations, and will implement the suicide awareness programs at their home universities this fall.
I have very much enjoyed working with the wonderful people in NYASP for the past year, and I am excited to continue in my position as graduate student representative for the upcoming year. I encourage all school psychology students to become familiar with NYASP and the services and opportunities they offer. Discounted membership rates are available for students. See www.nyasp.org for more information!