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Two College of Liberal Arts students have been selected to represent Cal Poly on the Western Psychological Association Student Council

By Sophia Lincoln

In October, Cal Poly psychology students Rebecca Luenser and America Romero were selected by the Western Psychological Association (WPA) Student Council Executive committee to represent Cal Poly on the WPA Student Council for the 2020-21 academic year.

The WPA is an academic and professional association and a regional affiliation of the American Psychological Association (APA), according Luenser. The association hosts an annual conference where students and academics may present papers, check out various presentations and listen to distinguished guest speakers. This year, the multi-day conference was held virtually from Oct. 28-31.

"It is unusual to have two members of the council from one campus," wrote a member of the WPA Student Council Executive Committee. "The committee was impressed by both of you, and after discussion we decided to experiment with two representatives."

“This is the first time they’ve had two representatives, and I think it’s great to have a partner where we share ideas in promoting interest and supporting students' experiences,” Romero said.

Romero first heard about the opportunity from her Beacon Scholars mentor Professor Kelly Bennion, whose previous research assistant was chosen for the position last year. Similarly, Luenser heard about the position from Professor Laura Freberg.

Both students have the role of representing the WPA at Cal Poly, which includes speaking to students about the WPA and their resources, hosting workshops to prepare for the conference, attending the WPA Student Council meeting at the convention and innovating new methods to highlight what the WPA has to offer, according to Luenser.

Luenser and Romero both hope to expand their experience with psychological research through this opportunity.

“Personally, my biggest hope in joining the WPA is to extend my professional network, whether at Cal Poly or outside of it,” Luenser said. “My undergraduate years are quickly coming to an end at a strange time. As I begin the process of applying to graduate programs and planning my next steps, it is important that I pass on the insights and knowledge that I've learned along the way. The world of academia can be quite daunting as a first-generation student, and it is my goal to make the path a little smoother for those who travel behind me.”

Romero is particularly interested in cognitive psychology and specifically memory while Luenser is interested in studying animal behavior and cognition.

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