Foundation AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL
period of time. The 2013 McGuigan
Dissertation Award application
deadline is June 1. To apply or to donate
to the fund, visit www.apa.org/apf/
Ensuring safer skies
Air traffic controllers who rely too much
on technology can put passengers at risk,
according to research by APF grantee
Arathi Sethumadhavan, PhD. As a
human factors/experimental psychology
graduate student at Texas Tech University
in 2009, Sethumadhavan used a $3,000
APF/Council of Graduate Departments
of Psychology Ruth G. and Joseph D.
Matarazzo Scholarship to look at how
controllers perform using different types
of automated air traffic systems.
She found that controllers who used
systems with more automation were less
able to detect collisions in their airspace
when the system failed than controllers
who were using less-automated systems.
The findings have implications for air-traffic system designers, Sethumadhavan
says. They need to create more user-friendly systems that don’t “keep the
operator so far out of the loop as to
invite disaster if the automation should
fail,” she says.
Sethumadhavan says winning the
grant was a critical step in her career.
She presented her APF-funded research
at multiple international conferences,
won the best dissertation award from
Div. 21 (Applied Experimental and
Engineering Psychology) and published
her study in Human Factors and the
International Journal of Aviation
Psychology. Sethumadhavan now works
at Medtronic, a global medical device
Recruit, retain, revitalize
Div. 13 launches a fund to support research and training for its future members.
Succession planning isn’t something members of Div. 13 (Society of Consulting Psychologists) only coach businesses on — they’re practicing
it. The society has established a fund with the American Psychological
Foundation to ensure the future of consulting psychology by funding
professional development for students and early career psychologists and
supporting other projects that will keep consulting psychology strong for years
The division has set $100,000 as its goal. It has already set aside $40,000
for its goal from division reserves and revenue from its journal, Consulting
Psychology Journal. The division expects to pledge another $10,000 in journal
revenue next year and plans to raise the remaining $50,000 from member
“We are already nearly halfway there,” says Div. 13 President-elect Lyne
Desormeaux, PsyD, of ORConsultingINC in Reston, Va.
Specifically, the fund will support initiatives in three areas:
• Research: Consulting psychologists need more empirical research on
what works well and what doesn’t in executive coaching, team building,
succession planning and other areas of their field. They also want insights on
how to improve their assessment and intervention tools. “Many in our division
are practitioners,” says Div. 13 President Amy Owen, PhD, of S&C Electric
Company in Chicago. “The society has increased its research focus in recent
years, but more research is needed.” The fund will provide research grants for
consultants and awards for research that has the potential to grow the field of
• Education: Few graduate programs prepare students specifically for
consulting careers, but most consulting psychologists train initially in other
areas, says Desormeaux. The fund will support professional development and
scholarships for students and seasoned psychologists interested in consulting
psychology. The division will also use the fund to increase public awareness of
the ways consulting psychology can help solve organizational challenges.
• Early career psychologists: The fund would also support early career
consultants so they can further develop the field. It will also help the society
reach out to new consultant niche areas — like those who consult for national
security organizations — as they develop, says Desormeaux. “We want to look at
who is our member of the future and make sure we are serving them,” she says.
To donate to the fund, go to www.apa.org/apf and click on “Donate Now”
or download a pledge form at www.apadivisions.org/division-13/about/fund/