Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology Conference: A Student Perspective
As a graduate student, I am cognizant
of the conferences that I choose to attend. While it is important to present
one’s research in general, the forum that it is presented at, and the audience
it is presented to, are crucial considerations. Therefore, when I noticed the
call go out for the 2016 Society for Police and Criminal Psychology (SPCP)
conference in Austin, Texas, I began tackling a proposal to submit. My lab
mates have been involved in the conference for years, and I have been lucky
enough to present at the conference several times. Why do we choose SPCP? Here
are just a few of the reasons:
The Research - First and foremost,
the SPCP conference provides students with the opportunity to hear from some of
world’s leading experts in the field of police psychology. Students are exposed
to cutting edge research, oftentimes before it has even been published; this is
great if one is looking for insight or ideas for future directions in their own
The Diversity - Relatedly, the presentations
at the conference are delivered by a diverse group of people. Some of the
presenters are police officers, others are academics, and some are clinical
psychologists who work with the police. There is a wide range of disciplines
represented (e.g., psychology, sociology, criminology, and criminal justice),
from all across the world – Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom,
Singapore, Italy, and Thailand, among others. The knowledge base is
comprehensive and multifaceted.
The Networking - The conference also
offers ample opportunity for students to meet the presenters, and other
attendees. Regardless of whether one is interested in hearing feedback on a
project, developing a new idea for a study, securing data, identifying
potential research participants, or exploring job opportunities, networking and
collaboration prospects abound!
The Intimacy - One of the unique
aspects of the SPCP conference, relative to others, is how personal it is. The
board and organizers make a concerted effort to ensure that there is time
built-in for everyone to get to know each other and converse – whether it is at
the hospitality suite or during the sessional breaks.
The Recognition – They also
recognize outstanding contributions to the field of policing and criminal
psychology at the conference. Students, for example, have the opportunity to
win the Michael Serafino Award for Best Student Poster. Students often also win
a few books through the SPCP book raffle!
The Food – The SPCP conference is
known for never letting anyone leave hungry. There is always an impressive
spread of food provided throughout the day, every day. There is also the annual
banquet, which gives everyone a chance to socialize over the local cuisine.
The Poster Session – The SPCP poster
session is busy! There is a lot of interest in the posters and presenters are
constantly talking to attendees. Student presenters have the opportunity to
share their research with both academics and practitioners, receive kudos and
constructive feedback, and gain experience preparing an academic poster, delivering
a presentation, and answering questions from colleagues.
The Journal – The conference is a
great place to learn about publishing opportunities. The Editor of The Journal
of Police and Criminal Psychology is often in attendance and available to
answer questions or hear about new research; this means that interested
students can discuss potentially publishing their research in the Society’s
The Travel – The conference is
always held somewhere new, which means students get to travel to some great
places and visit some amazing sites. The conference has been held in Las Vegas,
Chicago, Atlanta, Honolulu, Birmingham, and now Austin! Why not arrive a day
early or leave a day late to tour the town and grab some souvenirs?
The Enjoyment - After attending
SPCP, and having had the chance to meet inspiring presenters, hear about
exciting new research, and discuss graduate school experiences, students often fly
home reenergized to tackle their next study, or write the next section of their
take my word for it though. Come see for yourself how SPCP is different.
you in Texas!
Brittany Blaskovits Ph.D. Candidate, Police
Research Lab Department of Psychology,
Carleton University Ottawa, Ontario, Canada