The Minority Recruiting Recommendations help teachers expose minority high school students to career options in psychology and to encourage and motivate these students to consider pursuing psychology as a career.

This was initially a joint venture with TOPSS, the APA Membership Committee, the APA Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs and PT@CC. The initial project was designed to introduce ethnic minority high school students to successful two- and four-year minority college students, graduates, faculty and other local psychologists who can serve as role models and mentors. Pilot projects where these minority role models presented educational sessions to high school students were successful and serve as excellent examples of what can be done in various communities. 

Although the original project focused on ethnic minority students, all students — regardless of race/ethnicity, gender identity and expression, ability/disability, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, national origin and religion — should be encouraged and motived to consider pursuing psychology as a career. 

Teachers are encouraged to contact TOPSS if they have done anything in their schools to promote local minority outreach.


Session Outline

A series of career-oriented programs can be open to all students, but the focus will be for minority students.

Each high school can sponsor approximately three one-hour meetings concentrating on psychology as a career. There should be an emphasis that psychology is a viable career option for minority persons. Minority role models can demonstrate that psychology is a reasonable and reachable goal as a career.

First meeting

Presentation by a minority student or students from a local community college/four year college/graduate program

The discussion can cover what psychology offers that is relevant to minority communities and offer examples of minority psychologists who have attained visibility in the field. Details can include: How did the college or graduate student decide he/she wanted to go on to further education? Why did this student select psychology as a major? What did the student do to prepare him/herself to get into college? What general advice does the student have for minority high school students? Does the student believe that a minority person can be successful in finishing college or in a profession? How can psychology help the student in the career he/she is considering (such as an attorney, in management, with animals, in the criminal justice system, in a medical profession, etc.)?

Second meeting

Presentation by minority psychologist from the community

This session can include the services he or she provides, his/her research interests, his/her motivation for being in psychology, or how he/she overcame barriers. Once more the goal is to bring in local minority persons to serve as models. This reinforces the concepts provided by the students in the first session.

Third meeting

Joint presentation by minority graduate student(s), minority psychologist(s) and a career/vocational counselor

Give advice to students on preparing for an advanced degree after high school (such as which high school courses to take, appropriate study skills and how to select a school). Emphasis should be on goals being achievable, student strengths and overcoming obstacles. This session can be flexible and begin with the APA video "Psychology: Scientific Problem Solvers — Careers for the 21st Century," followed by discussion.

Want to Get Involved?

We encourage all teachers and communities to consider setting up these types of opportunities for their minority students. The pilot programs listed on the next page serve as great examples of what can be done in high schools. We hope teachers will make contacts in their communities to facilitate meetings with high school, community college, four-year college and other professionals in the community. If starting a high school program, teachers are encouraged to first write to a local minority college faculty member or a local minority psychologist to initiate conversation about the effort.

Once a program is developed, teachers can send an announcement to all students inviting them to a careers program, or send a personal invitation to selected students.

Resources Available
Pilot Programs

Looking for ideas to get started? Here are three pilot programs that ran in 2004.

West Deptford High School, Westville, N.J.

Contact: Debra Park

  • First session. Twenty-one high school students watched the APA careers video, received APA brochures and listened to a local college psychology professor (J. W. Whitlow, PhD, of Rutgers University in Camden, N.J.) and two local minority college psychology students discussed their interests in psychology and explained what college psychology classes are like.

  • Second session. Lois Briddell, professor of psychology, Gloucester County College (Sewell, N.J.) spoke about career paths in psychology and her own research on depression in African American women.

  • Third session. Manfred Straehle, teaching adjunct at St. Joseph's University (Philadelphia, Pa.) and founder of Helping America, spoke to students about careers in psychology.

Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical High School, San Diego, Calif.

Contact: Jaye Van Kirk, MA, past National President Psi Beta, professor of psychology, San Diego Mesa College, San Diego, Calif.

Seventy high school students watched the APA careers video, received APA brochures and listened to six panelists discuss their experiences in psychology. Panelists included four minority university students (all in the Minority Biomedical Research Support program at San Diego State University) and two minority community college students. All panelists were highly motivated students and good role models of commitment to education. Post-session reports indicated that panelists strongly impressed upon the students how applicable psychology is to a number of fields, demonstrating the value of psychology.

Mission Viejo High School, Orange County, Calif., and El Toro High School, Lake Forest, Calif.

Contact: David Lechuga, PhD, director, The Neurobehavioral Clinic

A psychologist visited high schools to distribute APA careers brochures and speak with students about cultural and diversity issues as they pertain to neuropsychology.

David Lechuga, PhD, was trained through the UCLA Department of Psychology. He is a clinical psychologist, rehabilitation psychologist and neuropsychologist. He specializes in brain injury and is the neuropsychological consultant to the LA Kings, LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. He can present on sport-related concussions, traumatic brain injury, dementia and professional issues — particularly as they apply to those from ethnically diverse backgrounds with an interest in the neurosciences. 

Memorial High School, McAllen, Texas

Contact: Marissa Sarabando

Ms. Sarabando took 13 high school students to the University of Texas, Pan American (UTPA). A 90-minute presentation was prepared to introduce students to an undergraduate psychology program and psychology as a career. Presenters included UTPA Psi Chi officers and psychology department faculty.

Members of the UTPA Psychology Department visited throughout the 90-minute session and gave students some information on their research specialties. Students were most interested in this part of the session.

Also discussed in the session:

  • Types of Jobs available in psychology.

  • Requirements for getting a job in psychology.

  • Requirements for being a psychology major at UTPA.

  • Skills important as a psychology major for other non-psychology-related jobs.

  • Research opportunities for undergraduate students.

The following day, students were given the APA booklets.