Advancing with Professional Associations

No matter your current or prospective program at Warner, chances are you’re keeping up with educational issues in the news. Whether that means subscribing to emails from websites like Inside Higher Ed or reading posts from blogs like that of the Association of American Educators, it is important to know that you can get directly involved with educational advocacy by joining a professional association. Here are some tips to keep in mind when researching which ones might be the best fit for you as a graduate student and emerging professional.

  1. Events hosted by these associations allow for professional development and networking. For instance, attending a conference put on by NASPA, the association for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, members can learn about bridging gaps between different types of learners, health and wellness initiatives on campus, addressing gender-based issues and hostile environments, and much more, from a multitude of experts.
  2. These organizations offer scholarships and awards within their respective fields. Are you a mental health counseling student? The American Mental Health Counselors Association offers general scholarship funding to local and state chapters, as well as individual awards for public and community service at the graduate and professional level.
  3. Those who join can receive benefits in accordance with their level of membership. The previously mentioned AAE offers members some legal protection, insurance, classroom grants, and access to surveys that give data directly to Congress.
  4. You have a chance to propose programs and research. NASPA, for example, publishes journals with peer-reviewed research, and offers members a chance to inform student affairs professionals via several media outlets.
  5. These associations can help you find a career! Most organizations’ websites partner with job placement tools that advertise local and nation-wide positions as soon as they become available.  Additionally, the networking members engage in at conferences allows for connections to be made, references to be attained, and resumes to be exchanged.

In short, do not be discouraged by your professional level as a student- what better time to start reaching out to potential employers, colleagues, and friends than now?

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