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What is APA?

You may recognize the acronym APA as the citation style psychology students use to write papers. But who or what is APA and what do they do? This post is APA 101: a beginner’s guide. The American Psychological Association has a wealth of resources you should be taking advantage of as a student and professional. Read on and click the underlined links throughout this post to explore how APA can serve you!


The American Psychological Association is a professional organization representing the field of psychology in the United States. Founded in 1892, today’s APA has more than 13,000 members who are professionals and students connected with the study and practice of psychology (source).

(Important note: APA could also stand for the American Psychiatric Association, a similar group which focusses on the related field of psychiatry. Try not to mix them up!)


Let’s start with the basics for college students: citations. As a student, you will use APA style for papers and projects for class. If you conduct research in undergrad, graduate school, or during your career, you will publish your findings using APA guidelines. All current American psychology research is published and presented in APA format, so it is important to understand it so you can read the latest findings in the field.

But APA citations aren’t just standard in psychology. This style is also widely used in other social sciences as well as the fields of engineering, nursing, and business.

Luckily the APA’s website has a guide for using this style. This page features sample papers, helpful tips, and instructions for formatting your work and citing your sources. Bookmark the guide so you can find it for your next project!

Psychology Student Network (PSN)

Are you an undergraduate student who loves psychology but is looking for direction? Click here to find the latest edition of Psychology Student Network (PSN), the APA’s publication just for undergraduates.

PSN articles discuss topics such as available jobs with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, undergraduate research, and tips for applying to grad school. Each bi-annual publication offers fresh content to guide you throughout your journey as a psychology student.

Grad School Hub

It’s no secret that many psychology careers require a graduate degree. If you are planning to attend graduate school, visit APA’s grad school page for information about finding and applying to graduate programs, and how to succeed once you get there.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the graduate program search tool as you prepare for the next step in your education.

Career Hub

If the student chapter of your life is coming to an end, APA is there to guide you through your career.

Start here with the career options guide to learn about potential careers in psychology. Then, read APA’s job search tips to guide you before diving into the job search tool to locate current job openings nationwide.


Last but not least, on to the fun stuff! APA has a number of resources to satisfy your curiosity about all the current topics in psychology.

Speaking of Psychology is a podcast hosted by Kim Mills, the APA’s senior director of strategic external communications and public affairs. Each episode, Mills interviews psychology researchers and practitioners to highlight new research and practices in the field. You can listen to the podcast on APA’s website, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.

To learn about the most pressing topics that connect psychology to everyday life, check out this hub of current issues featuring articles about the biggest themes in the field today.

Finally, you can read the freshest scholarly papers on APA’s current research page. Here you can stay current on the latest findings in psychology.

The biggest takeaway from this post? You should visit the APA website! Whether you are a student, researcher, professional or just someone who thinks psychology is cool, there’s something for everyone at APA

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Internship Highlight: Logan Pasley

How does a Roanoke College psychology student spend spend her summer? This year, senior Logan Pasley chose to intern at Youth Connect of Virginia, serving as a Mentor and Life Skills Provider.

Pasley originally hails from Penhook, Virginia and studies psychology with a minor in sociology at Roanoke. She recently began interning with Youth Connect in her hometown, an opportunity she pursued because “I have always wanted to work with children.” Additionally, Pasley’s goal was to learn more about the foster care system and how it can be improved.

Pasley works remotely for Youth Connect in a paid position while earning course credit, a great example of the wide variety of internship opportunities for psychology majors.

As Mentor and Life Skills Provider, Pasley develops a one-on-one relationship with young clients. When meeting a new client, she learns about their background and uses the Casey Life skills assessment to evaluate “life skills in daily living, self-care, relationships, communication, respect, education, work, etc.” Pasley uses this information to design and implement a six-month plan of action for each client.

Pasley’s work with clients is very hands-on. Each session, her job is “to plan a day in which the client is exposed to activities in the community. I allow my clients to choose a specific goal or task to get accomplished throughout the day and then take them to the most appropriate location to accomplish this goal.”

This work allowed Pasley to develop important skills. She says,

“I learned a way of communicating with individuals who struggle with trauma, mental illness, and grueling circumstances.”

After a full summer of working with Youth Connect, Pasley took the time to reflect on her growth and the impact she’s had on her clients. In what she describes as the most meaningful moment from her internship, Pasley’s was reunited with the first client she ever worked with. She remembers,

“the client’s face lit up when I walked into the room. Her DSS [Department of Social Services] worker added that the client found her voice through me and rediscovered her purpose.”

After her experience working with clients one-on-one, Pasley now wants to turn her attention to the legal system, focusing on “the structural issues that affect every individual involved with the legal system.” She says a change is overdue and is passionate about addressing unseen issues.

We can’t wait to see how Logan Pasley continues to change lives at Youth Connect and beyond!

Are you interested in completing your own internship as a psychology student? Visit the department’s internship page or contact Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand at

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William & Mary Masters Program Diversity Open House

Are you a current student interested in graduate school?

The College of William and Mary will be holding a Diversity Open House for their Masters Program in Psychology over Zoom. The Masters Program in Psychology is a 2-year research-focused program designed to help prepare students for admission to Ph.D programs. All Roanoke psychology students are encouraged to attend to learn more about the program.

The Open House which will be held on October 25th at 6:00pm EST. Click here to RSVP!

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Instagram: @rcpsychology #PsychRC

Internship Highlight: Avery Jackson

The Roanoke College psychology department is always proud to recognize the work of our fantastic students. Today we are highlighting Avery Jackson who completed an internship this summer at Children and Family Associates in Roanoke, VA.

Avery is a senior from Yarmouth, Maine who is double majoring in Communications and Psychology. She shares that she was motivated to pursue this internship because “I knew I wanted to have a hand on experience with a counselor.”

While interning at Children and Family Associates, Avery was able to observe counseling sessions and discuss her questions and comments with the counselor afterwards. She shares what a typical day in her internship looked like: ” an average day would involve me going in at noon to debrief with my supervisor on the previous day. I would then sit in on the sessions each hour unless the client requested for me to not be present.”

This direct experience paid off since Avery says, “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work with children, but after this experience I know that I want to pursue this career.”

I asked Avery to reflect on a meaningful moment from her experience. She shares that the most impactful memory occurred as she was wrapping up her internship:

“My supervisor pushed me to fill out the report for a new client. After meeting with this new client, my supervisor asked me what I would diagnose this patient with. I replied with what I thought the diagnoses would be and I remember a huge smile coming across her face. She told me she was so impressed and proud of me. She pushed and encouraged me the whole summer and made me realize that this is what I want to do, and I can do it.

Avery Jackson ’23

Avery’s work is an exciting example of the benefits of completing internships as a psychology student. We can’t wait to see what Avery does in the future and how her internship experience guides her career!

Psychology students who are interested in completing an internship can contact the department’s Internship Coordinator, Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand ( for more information.

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PLACE Senior Series Fall 2022

Calling all Seniors!

PLACE (Center for Purpose, Life, and Career Exploration) is hosting a Senior Series on Wednesday evenings to prepare Roanoke students for the job search and life as a recent college graduate.

Senior Series events are taking place on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00pm. The sessions cover a variety of topics relating to professional development. Psychology students who are planning to entering the job market immediately after graduation will especially benefit from these events!

There are three topics remaining in the series:

  • Professional Interview Preparation
    • Oct. 5th (Pickle Meeting Room – Colket Center)
  • Professional Development: Dress and Act for the Professional Goals you Seek
    • Oct. 12th (Pickle Meeting Room – Colket Center)
  • Professional Transition: Using your Skills and Career Readiness
    • Oct. 26th (Fintel Library – Classroom 1)

Students can register to attend each event on Handshake or email Amy Foster ( for more information.

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Welcome Dr. Kennedy-Metz!

Dr. Kennedy-Metz

The psychology department is excited to welcome a new faculty member this year!

Dr. Lauren Kennedy-Metz graduated from Roanoke College with a B.S. in Psychology, a Creative Writing minor, and a Neuroscience concentration. She then went down the road to Blacksburg where she completed a PhD in Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health with a concentration in Neuroscience at Virginia Tech.

This year Dr. Kennedy-Metz has returned to her alma mater where she is currently teaching Introduction to Psychology and Cognitive Psychology, as well as serving as the faculty advisor for Psi Chi and RCPA.

When asked what brought her back to Roanoke, Dr. Kennedy-Metz shared that the Roanoke College Psychology Department was her “ideal scenario” for a work environment. She says the department is “where I learned the most about myself, my interests, my strengths as a student and as a human.” She adds that “it’s where I was afforded the opportunities to thrive through the encouragement of lifelong faculty members.” In addition, this native New-Englander shared that “the Roanoke area has always felt like home.”

Dr. Kennedy-Metz brings a unique research background to the department. She summarizes her work as follows:

“My research interests include characterizing psychophysiological indicators of acute stress and developing biofeedback-based approaches to stress management interventions.  Most importantly, I’m interested in taking a tailored approach to both of these things within specific high-stress populations both on campus and beyond (e.g., students, student-athletes, police officers, healthcare workers, kitchen staff, etc.).”

Dr. Kennedy-Metz says she became interested in this topic because the experience of stress is very relatable, but people are often left in the dark about how to respond to it appropriately. However, properly responding to stress is a critical topic, especially for the populations mentioned above.

Speaking to current psychology students, Dr. Kennedy-Metz encourages you to “get involved in things that interest them early on.” She recommends exploring research, clubs, club sports, internships, study abroad and anything else that catches your eye. When trying new things, Dr. Kennedy-Metz says, “worst case you learn that it isn’t for you, and you move on!” She closes with this sage advice. “If you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and end up finding a niche you love, you might look back one day and wonder how different things may have been if you hadn’t taken that first step.”

Be sure to say hi to Dr. Kennedy-Metz when you see her around on the 5th floor of Life Science.

Welcome back to Roanoke, Dr. Kennedy-Metz!

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Out of the Darkness Walk Oct. 1st

Mark your calendars!

This year’s Salem-Roanoke Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide prevention is taking place on Saturday October 1st. The annual event is hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to raise awareness and support for suicide prevention.

RCPA and Psi Chi are joining the Roanoke community by walking as a team. The event begins at 10am at the Cregger Center right here on campus. All psychology students and faculty are encouraged to sign up to walk with the team or donate to AFSP at the link below:

We hope to see you there.

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