ECP Member Spotlight: Albee Mendoza
What is an ECP?
An ECP is a faculty member who is within ten years of starting their career. I am in my 7th year of full-time teaching, and I believe I still have so much to learn about being an effective teacher of psychology.
How did you get involved in STP?
I joined STP when I was a graduate teaching assistant. I did not know where to start in terms of course preparation. When I discovered the Project Syllabus page on STP website, I voraciously looked through different syllabi to get ideas on readings, assignments, and activities.
What is a challenge you faced as an ECP?
As an ethnic minority woman, I was looking for ways to incorporate issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity in my courses. In my institution, I had senior colleagues who dissuaded me from following through on ideas (e.g., partnering with local agencies to include service learning activities, having community/student leaders be guest speakers, publishing works with undergraduate authors). I had to find avenues and find advocates to support me, which took trust and time.
What does being an ECP in STP mean to you?
In terms of my own involvement in STP, I believe junior faculty need to have a voice when it comes to issues of professional development, work/life balance, and teaching effectiveness. In my time in STP overall, I volunteered on several committees including the Partnerships Small Grants Committee, Teaching Awards Committee, and am currently on the ECP Committee. As part of the STP ECP Committee, I have met amazing colleagues from all over the world, written newsletters for our column, and presented workshops at ACT. I also contribute to the ECP Corner Blog and the ECP page on the STP website. My greatest achievement so far in this committee is being in an APA panel with ECPs from Division 16 and Division 33. That opportunity paved the way for collaborative presentations in future APA conventions!
What advice would you give to newer ECPs?
It certainly gets overwhelming being new to an institution, learning the culture, knowing who to trust all while preparing courses that are engaging, especially in light of the pandemic and rising gas prices. In terms of teaching, my main pieces of advice would be to segment lectures into increments and end those increments with review questions or an activity. Another would be to incorporate visualization tools as much as possible to support learning of material (e.g., timelines, flow charts, Venn diagrams). In terms of navigating the cultural landscape, I would advise newer ECPs to find a support network within your institution of like-minded individuals and work collaboratively to implement goals (e.g., participating in new employee orientation events, attending Happy Hour held by the Center for Teaching and Learning in your institution, being involved in learning management system workshops). I would also recommend participating in mentoring programs in your institution and/or at STP to engage in deep conversations about imposter syndrome, professional identity, and self-care. The Mentoring Services page on the STP website was a wonderful resource for me.
What is an interesting fact about you?
I play the Island Princess as part of Pursuit for Peace, a nonprofit organization made up of volunteers who dress up as fairytale characters to spread joy and magic to medically vulnerable children. Notably, I include my involvement in this organization in my annual evaluation as part of service.
What is next after being an ECP?
I hope to continue to be involved in STP as part of different committees and perhaps in different leadership roles. There are so many opportunities to serve and the Get Involved page on the website is updated regularly.
Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee
Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.
Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.
Janet Peters, Ph.D.
Ciara Kidder, Ph.D.