My PsyPAG committee journey: A brief synopsis from being elected to end of tenure

I was elected to represent the Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG) for the British Psychological Society (BPS) Welsh Branch in July 2016. I took over from Dr Gareth Richards who at that time had stepped down as representative. Dr Richards was very vocal about how PsyPAG was an incredible community that truly valued its friendly environment and welcoming culture for all postgraduate psychology students. At the time, I could not have envisioned the influence that members from both PsyPAG and the BPS Welsh Branch would have had upon me/upon my work while doing my doctorate. First of all, PsyPAG is far more than just a committee team made up of members who represent each BPS division, section and branch. For me and many committee members, PsyPAG is an extended family that provides an extensive network far beyond its committee members, that listens, supports and genuinely wants to invest with a profound drive to help postgraduate psychology students. As the PsyPAG BPS Welsh Branch representative, my first introduction by Dr Richards to the committee members of the BPS Welsh Branch was nothing less than a truly warm, welcoming and friendly experience. Dr Paul Hutchings (Chair), Mrs Helen Bazley (Regional Coordinator, BPS), Dr Wynford Bellin and Dr Carolien Lamers, to name but a few, made me feel welcomed and gave me a sense of belonging. For the first time in a while I felt part of a proactive team working towards promoting psychology and driving policies, and implementing legislation as well as monitoring action plans which help to further develop discussions and support decisions in Wales, for the people of Wales. As the PsyPAG BPS Welsh Branch representative, I had the opportunity to express my views, believes and values, which allowed me to further engage in dialogue.

November 2017 – The PsyPAG Committee

As I organically progress towards the daunting submission stage of my doctorate thesis, my two-year elected position must also sadly come to an end. Despite the appeal of re-applying for another two years, after careful consideration and reflection I have realised that it is vital to allow the next cohort of doctoral students the good fortune to develop and grow through this role, especially since in due time I will no longer be a psychology postgraduate student. After all, if I am no longer a psychology postgraduate student, I cannot truly act as a vehicle for communication between postgraduates as well as bringing together postgraduates from around the country.

July 2017 – Receiving an award for best presentation at the PsyPAG 2017 Conference

As I delivered my final oral presentation and workshop, stepping down at the 33rd PsyPAG Conference 2018 was an emotional moment, both sad and joyous. Sad in the sense that I would no longer be the PsyPAG BPS Welsh Branch representative, but joyous in the sense that I met some incredible committee members that I am able to call my friends. The added knowledge that throughout my elected two-years PsyPAG BPS Welsh Branch representative, I was able to establish the Nuffield Research Placement programme at the School of Psychology, Cardiff University with the support of the BPS Welsh Branch brings a sense of pride and fulfilment to my work. I want to take this final opportunity to say a massive thank you to members of PsyPAG and also an enormous thank you to all the committee members of the BPS Welsh Branch for the support and guidance, which has facilitated me in the construct of becoming a far better version of myself going forward.

March 2017 – PsyPAG Committee Meeting

Michael Scott Evans is a doctoral researcher at Cardiff University.