Southwestern Michigan College inducted the first class of its new chapter of Psi Beta, the national community college psychology honor society, on March 23 in a candlelit ceremony in the Foster W. Daugherty Building on SMC’s Dowagiac campus.
The three charter members include Michael Cloud from Dowagiac, who landed a full-ride scholarship to the University of Michigan to continue studying psychology and become a youth counselor. Sydney Harmon from White Pigeon and Anna Lancaster from Niles plan to transfer to Western Michigan University after graduating from Southwestern Michigan College on May 5. Both women are interested in becoming school psychologists.
“These students are the best of the best,” Christi Young, chair of SMC’s Humanities and Social Sciences Department, said. Psi Beta membership criteria is a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.5 and above with at least 12 psychology credits.
Psi Beta is the fourth honor society at SMC, joining Gamma Nu Chapter of Alpha Beta Gamma, the international community college business honor society; Sigma Psi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges; and SMC’s homegrown Honors Program as avenues for the college’s brightest students to shine academically.
“Part of what we do is to continuously consider how we might bring greater value to our students’ experience,” Christy Tidd, Psi Beta faculty advisor said. “We have witnessed some incredibly gifted students and wanted to find other ways we could celebrate their efforts. With most students moving on to four-year universities, then graduate school, they will have opportunities to join larger groups, such as Psi Chi. Membership offers students different tools in your life tool belt, we will naturally continue to promote the other honors programs on campus.”
SMC’s psychology students are able to explore their interests two ways, Psi Beta and Psychology Club.
“We see both groups as being able to collaborate on events such as career guidance and study tip sessions. We will be encouraging Psi Beta members to plan events and activities with other student organizations to promote positive student relationships, as well as furthering student engagement,” Tidd said.
Psychology Club might bring noted speakers to campus, and Psi Beta offers members advantages specifically associated with their education, future careers and organization-related events, such as opportunities to be published in the Psi Beta journal, to compete for national awards and to enjoy discounted American Psychological Association (APA) student membership.
“Psychology is a growing major for us, since the opportunity to do research while a freshman or a sophomore is not available at most colleges,” Vice President of Instruction Dr. David Fleming said. Students who conducted research last December will be accompanying faculty to Chicago in mid-April for the Midwestern Psychological Association’s annual meeting.