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Bjork, Overmier Selected for Service Awards


By Suzanne Wandersman

Two psychologists were honored with the Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science during the December 2005 Science Leadership Conference. This award, established by the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA), recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to psychological science through their commitment to a culture of service. Some examples of service to the discipline include aiding in association governance; serving on boards, committees and various psychological associations; editing journals; reviewing grant proposals; mentoring students and colleagues; advocating for psychological science's best interests with state and federal lawmakers; and promoting the value of psychological science in the public eye. Award recipients received an honorarium of $1,000 and a hand-calligraphed citation.

Robert A. Bjork was selected for his record of extraordinary service and leadership in psychological science. The scope of Dr. Bjork's influence and leadership in the fields of psychology and cognitive science are unique. His service to psychological science has been both extensive and effective. His colleagues hold a special kind of admiration for him, recognizing his contributions by honoring him with leadership and editorial positions that are among the most important to the field. His service to science has both breadth and depth, with countless association and society roles, and in sharing psychological science with other disciplines and the public through his service on national panels. Throughout his career he has been generous, energetic, and remarkably creative. A self-giving leader and a genuinely nice and gracious human-being, Dr. Bjork stands out in his service to psychology.

Dr. Bjork is currently Professor and Chair of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on human learning and memory and on the implications of the science of learning for instruction and training. He has served as Editor of Memory & Cognition (1981-85); Editor of Psychological Review (1995-2000); Co-editor of Psychological Science in the Public Interest (1998-2004), and Chair of a National Research Council Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance (1988-94). His positions of leadership include President of the American Psychological Society; President of the Western Psychological Association; Chair of the Psychonomic Society; Chair of the Society of Experimental Psychologists; and Chair of the Council of Editors of the American Psychological Association.

J. Bruce Overmier was selected for being a visionary leader, wise administrator, extraordinary mentor, and zealous advocate of psychological science. For 40 years, he has committed himself to advancing psychological science through leadership of psychological associations and initiatives within his university, serving as a journal editor and reviewer for grant panels and journals, and mentoring an extraordinary number of graduate students. Dr. Overmier has made this commitment because he believes that at its best our science can be exciting and important, and therefore that efforts must be made to improve the quality of the science and to encourage the brightest people to engage in it. Dr. Overmier's high energy and enthusiasm, sympathetic nature, willingness to listen to diverse points of view, extraordinary problem-solving ability, and decisiveness make him an exemplary facilitator, bringing out the best in organizations and individuals.

Dr. Overmier is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He is former Director of the Center for Cognitive Science. He also held the position of Professor II of Biological and Medical Psychology at the University of Bergen (Norway). His research focuses on learning, memory, stress, psychosomatic disorders, and their biological substrates. His positions of leadership include currently serving as President of the International Union of Psychological Sciences and elected as a member of the APA Board of Directors (1999-2004). He served as President of the Pavlovian Society (1996-97) and as President of APA's Division 1. Dr. Overmier was elected an officer of the American Psychological Society (APS), the Psychonomic Society, the Midwestern Psychological Association, and the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences.

Nominations for the 2006 awards will be accepted beginning in the spring. For additional information, please see the APA Science Directorate Website.