Pre-college grants from APF
This year marks the sixth anniversary of the
American Psychological Foundation’s (APF) Pre-College Grant program, which provides up to
$20,000 a year to support projects that promote the
science and application of psychology for promising
high school students.
The program “tries to fund projects that wouldn’t
typically be funded by other places,” says Parie
Kadir, program officer of the APF. “Our mission is to
seed innovation and launch careers. We really look
for innovative, cutting-edge grants that you wouldn’t
normally see — not just implementing psychology
in high schools, but really showing students how
interesting and exciting psychology can be.”
APF is particularly interested in projects that will
generate student interest “in innovative ways and
areas that not everyone is thinking about,” says
Last year’s winner set up a program that allowed
students to study the psychological impact of flight
on pilots. “She planned to take her students to a
simulator center to experience flight themselves,”
Kadir says. “The project will help them to see that
psychology isn’t just about private counseling, but
also that it can benefit society. I personally would
have loved to go with them.”
Past projects have included professional
development for teachers, pre-college research
internships for students, and an intensive three-
week summer program for promising juniors and
seniors at the University of Chicago.
The 2012 grant cycle is under way, with
applications due by May 1.
For guidelines and application information, visit
In addition to the Pre-College Grant program,
APF offers two additional grant programs for high
school psychology teachers through the Education
Directorate, one to provide travel and related
support for teachers to attend workshops and
conferences, such as to the APA Annual Convention,
and one to support local teaching networks.
These grant cycles are also now under way, with
applications due by April 15 and May 1.
To apply for these grants, contact APA’s Education
Directorate at email@example.com.
neurons in chimpanzees or working to find new treatments
for mental health conditions. Other students intern at
the local police station, where they study criminology,
or at St. Luke’s House, a day center for individuals with
schizophrenia, where under the supervision of the staff
psychiatrists, they help patients socialize and get work.
Students get academic credit for their work, and Smith
receives regular reports from supervisors and the students
themselves. The response has been enthusiastic, and not
just from the kids, she says. “Colleges like to see unique
experience from applicants,” says Smith.
High school teachers in Illinois have been building a buzz
about psychology through a regional Psychology Bowl they
developed to help students prepare for the AP exams. Laura
Brandt, chair of social studies at Grayslake Central High
School in Grayslake, Ill., and her colleagues first organized
this academic quiz-show-style tournament nine years ago.
The bowl’s teams have up to 10 student members and the
competition is broken into two rounds. In the first round,
each student is given a number. All the No. 1s have to try to
answer the same question, then the No. 2s and so on. “This
way, everyone on the team gets to answer a question,” says
Brandt. “It serves as an equalizer.” The answers, to questions
from past AP exams, are judged by a panel of teachers.
This is followed by a round-robin style “buzzer round,”
in which randomly selected teams compete against each
other and the clock until two teams remain for the finals.
The bowl has grown over the years, from five teams to 12
from all over the state.
“It’s a friendly competition, but the students get really
into it,” says Brandt. “We have a silly first-place trophy that
they put together, with a metal man holding a brain, and
the second-place team gets a Sigmund Freud action figure.”
Honoring students with promise
The growing interest in high school psychology has
prompted several teachers to find ways to recognize student
achievement through nationally recognized societies. Psi
Beta, which honors psychology students in community
colleges, is looking into creating a national high school
“It has been done in English in high schools and is
very successful,” says Psi Beta Executive Director Jerry
Modeled on Psi Beta and Psi Chi, the society would
establish merit awards for high school students, support
advanced research opportunities and recognize good
scholarship. Rudmann notes that such a program
would also carry weight with college applications and
show students that their work has relevance beyond the
classroom. “Psi Chi and Psi Beta chapters are always