McNair Scholar Alexander Dodson Attends The Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s Annual Convention

McNair Scholar Alexander Dodson attended the 2024 Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Annual Convention. SPSP's annual event took place in San Diego, California from February 8th-10th. Alexander presented his research conducted summer of 2023 with Dr. Amani El-Alayli, "Political Orientation Moderates Pride and American Flag Effects on Person Perception". The conference included "attendees from academia, non-profits, government, and private sectors present and discuss research, network and collaborate on projects, and pursue professional development while advancing science and pedagogy in the field".

Alexander commented on the plethora of opportunities to connect with professionals. He noted multiple lengthy and fruitful conversations with graduate students employed in laboratories he applied to and professors from numerous programs. Regarding this, he recommends others attending conferences:

"Talk to people at the events you attend. The people attending are just as interested, if not more, than you are about the research being presented. You can instantly create amazing connections and learn much more just by talking with the researchers and attendees. If they do this for a living, they usually love a chance to talk to someone about their work."

Acknowledging the awkwardness of the conference timing (between graduate application submissions and decisions for most schools), Alexander continuously emphasized the chance to make connections without the pressure of decisions. On living life, Alexander was in foodie heaven. He was thrilled he was able to visit a favorite breakfast spot and some amazing Mexican restaurants he'd wanted to revisit.

When asking for last tips and tricks for other scholars and students, Alexander points out:
"If possible, look into what the presentations will be and create an agenda before the conference. There are multiple events going on simultaneously with little time in between. Having a rough plan of which events you will attend makes the experience less stressful."