Reading Area Community College inducted eight students into its newly-approved chapter of Psi Beta, a national honor society for psychology students at two-year colleges, during a special ceremony on May 10 at the College.
Andrew Baumeister first conceived the idea of a RACC chapter of Psi Beta during the 2012-13 academic year. He talked about the idea with Vince Orlando, a fellow psychology major, while the two were work-study students in the Advantage Program office. Although Andrew graduated last May, Vince picked up and ran with the cause, with the help and advising of Dr. David Brant.
There were seven meetings during this academic year where students who were interested in the club elected officers and created a constitution and by-laws for Student Government Association to approve them as a sanctioned campus activity.
"Every officer worked relentlessly to have the club sanctioned on RACC campus," said Melissa Lindbom, who is secretary of RACC's chapter of Psi Beta. "Though it was a struggle, we constantly worked together in order to achieve our goal. I can't thank them enough for their diligence and determination."
Kim Beadencup, the group's vice-president, graduated in December but returned for a few extra classes in the spring semester. "I felt in my heart that I needed to come back one more semester because I felt like I left unfinished business behind. I know that I will enjoy the benefits of being a PSI Beta member. However, my greater joy is the privilege I was given to have a part in leaving a legacy behind at RACC," said Kim.
Dr. Brant, who has been a full-time faculty member at RACC since 2001, has also been a clinician for more than 30 years. He also runs a limited private practice in Berks County.
"Dr. Brant was the glue that held the officers together," said Melissa. "His passion for psychology and education has been a true inspiration. I can only hope that Psi Beta will become as much of a positive aspect of RACC as possible. We all worked hard so that future RACC students are provided with the opportunity to join Psi Beta and prosper within it."
Service opportunities, networking and scholarships are the major benefits for students who join RACC's chapter of Psi Beta. Already during meetings this year, guest speakers have included Berks Connection Pre-Trial Services and alumni Chris O'Reilly who is the Relapse Unit Clinical Supervisor at Caron Treatment Centers. The club recently volunteered at a fundraiser breakfast for Berks Connection, a non-profit agency that assists individuals and families involved in the Berks County criminal and juvenile justice systems. Looking ahead for the coming year, Dr. Brant is coordinating RACC student involvement in the PA Psychological Association conference that will be in Harrisburg.
Rachel Lee, the current club treasurer, is one of those students who will be able to reap the Psi Beta rewards for the upcoming year. A psychology major, Rachel has been involved with the club since the first meeting when there were just four students. She was attracted to the idea of creating something permanent at RACC that would benefit all psychology students across time.
"Today, it truly amazes me to see how many students are talking about Psi Beta, attending the meetings, and are listening to the speakers we bring in. I can't wait for next year," Rachel said.
Interested students do not have to be psychology majors, but the chapter does require a 3.25 overall GPA and a 3.5 GPA in psychology classes.
Vince, who also graduated this year, feels a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. "This experience will go down in history at RACC. I do not believe that it will ever be forgotten by the students and advisors who worked so hard to make this dream a reality."