The Psi Beta in Me

In the fall of 2014, I had the honor of starting a Psi Beta chapter at my institution, Stark State College.  By the spring of 2015 I was the Midwest Region Vice President of the Psi Beta National Council.  I was all in.  I knew immediately I wanted to be highly involved in Psi Beta because of the people but, most importantly, because of the advantages my students would receive through their membership.  The impact on the students, Stark State College, and me personally were dramatic.  The students were so enthusiastic they quickly became the premier “club” on campus.  They even developed the Students Serving Students food pantry on campus which now serves an average of 200 students in need monthly.  It is 100% student led, student facilitated, and internally supported.  Admittedly, I did very little.  It was a result of the student’s motivation and pride at being part of Psi Beta and that their responsibility went beyond themselves.  They created a legacy and I could not be prouder.

I decided at one point that I should share the joy of working with the Psi Beta students.  I asked a young colleague if she would like to assist and she was all in as well.  Then the big decision came, and it meant I might need to put my Psi Beta affiliation aside.  It was truly one of the most difficult decisions I had faced in a forty-year professional career.  The opportunity to lead Psi Alpha, the National High School Honor Society in Psychology, as its first permanent Executive Director, came about and I felt it was something I needed to do.  But did I want to leave Psi Beta?  I found a compromise.  Psi Alpha is an umbrella organization under Psi Beta until it can stand on its own.  Negotiating a position on the Psi Beta National Council for the Psi Alpha Executive Director was just what I needed.  I wanted to lead Psi Alpha but could not bring myself to leave Psi Beta.  It means that much.

Although I have moved on to a new adventure, I am happy I can maintain my relationship with Psi Beta for the time being.  It is the people, the mission, and the opportunities that make a relationship with Psi Beta so wonderful.  Whether it is a position on the National Council, as a chapter adviser, or as a student, Psi Beta has so much to offer and everyone simply needs to take advantage of the opportunity.  I am blessed to hear frequently from former Psi Beta students who have gone on to great things.  It doesn’t surprise me that they speak of their Psi Beta experience fondly.  Psi Beta is in them.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have meant so much during my time with Psi Beta.  Remember, it is not over just yet.  I need to name names but please know all who have shared the Psi Beta experience with me have impacted me positively.  I must start with Dr. Jerry Rudmann.  Suffice to say, in my forty-year professional career, he sits well atop those I consider to be a mentor.  Dr. Katherine Wickes, Jennifer O’Laughlin-Brooks, and Todd Joseph became more than colleagues.  Our long discussions, sometimes well into the night, inspired and motivated me.  I would be remiss if I did not say a little more about Psi Alpha.  High school students having the opportunity to gain membership in a National honor society in psychology provides them with immense opportunities.  As stated previously, psychology has been my passion for quite some time and sharing this passion with those newly interested in the science is exhilarating.  Please contact me directly at psialphaed@gmail.com with any questions or for more information about Psi Alpha.

I came to higher education late in my career after success in applied psychology fields.  As I tell my students, “after 40 years in psychology, I am still waiting to ‘work’ for a living”.  Psi Beta made much of my success and enjoyment possible.  Psi Beta is truly in me.

Bryan S. Gerber, PsyD/PhD

 

 

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