The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) hosted its 38th annual conference this year. SIOP is a professional organization that promotes the science, practice, and teaching of I-O Psychology, which is a field of psychology that focuses on improving the well-being and performance of people and the organizations that employ them. The SIOP Annual Conference is a large gathering of I-O psychologists and affiliated professionals that takes place once a year. At the conference, attendees can participate in workshops, presentations, and panel discussions on a wide range of topics related to I-O Psychology. The conference also provides an opportunity for researchers, practitioners, and students to share their latest research and network with others in the field.
This year, the conference was held in Boston and many current faculty, students, and alumni from Meredith College’s I-O Psychology graduate program were in attendance. Faculty and students enjoyed attending sessions on a wide range of topics. Graduate student Katherine McMahan said that the variety of sessions helped her further refine her interests and general understanding of the field.
“I already had my general interests lined up, but some of my favorite sessions were on I-O topics I had less experience with in the classroom”, McMahan said. Her favorite session was a panel of applied I-O Psychologists discussing best practices around selection and talent development. “I was able to learn about best hiring practices and best techniques in creating internship programs,” she said. McMahan found this conversation engaging and very relevant to her role as a talent acquisitions intern at Chiesi Inc.
Because it is a conference for both practitioners and researchers, it is common for employers to pay for their employees to attend SIOP so they can bring back new findings and best practices to their workplace.
For example, alumna Arielle Smith, ’21, said being sponsored by her company was a large reason she attended the conference this year. “Because of my work in the assessment field and the relevance to the content presented at SIOP, my organization sponsored my attendance and made it feasible for me to travel to Boston. I am so glad I was afforded the opportunity to attend in person as it was a wonderful experience getting to connect with other IO professionals, listen to engaging conference sessions, and explore a new city” she said. Smith works for Lowes as an HR assessment senior analyst.
Graduate student Janika Koelblin said that her favorite sessions were “on people with a criminal background and their re-entry into the workforce.” She is writing her thesis on this very topic, and said one of the highlights of the conference for her was “realizing that [her] education at Meredith is forming [her] into an individual who can be at SIOP and feel like [she] has an opinion on things, knows what people are talking about, and can speak to professionals who have been working in this field for a very long time.”
Koelblin was also formally recognized at the SIOP conference for her performance in this year’s consulting competition. This was a virtual challenge that took place earlier in the year. Over 40 students from several I-O Psychology master’s and doctoral programs participated. Each student was put into 4-person teams comprised of students from other programs and given a case study from UKG that they then presented on just a few days later. Koelblin and her team made it to the final round and took home second place. Their group was awarded a prize of $1,000 and participated in a panel at the conference to share their experiences with those who might be interested in competing next year.
Meredith I-O Psychology faculty Joe Mazzola and Jenna McChesney also attended and presented at the conference. Mazzola presented on topics related to conducting qualitative research and teaching academia. McChesney presented on topics related to discrimination in hiring and the use of game-based and gamified assessments in the workplace.
Finally, everyone enjoyed catching up with friends and former students in between sessions and at the Alumni and Friends Party Thursday night. Meredith College co-hosted an Alumni and Friends Party with Minnesota State Mankato this year. It is common for I-O Psychology programs to host events at SIOP in the evenings after sessions have ended. Minnesota State also has a master’s IO program and graciously offered to co-host an event with Meredith this year. Current students Melinda Durham and Loren Daniel helped plan the event with two students from Mankato. This event further gave students the opportunity to meet and network with students and alumni from other programs.