In a field dominated mostly by white males, the “I Am Psyched!” exhibit, a national tour sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA), came to Westminster College last month to highlight the history and contributions of women of color in psychology.
The exhibit, which was in the Meldrum Science Center from Oct. 23 to Nov. 3, also offered the Westminster community the opportunity to learn about psychology and career opportunities.
“If girls of color come to view the exhibit and see the amazing work that women who look like them have done, then hopefully they will see that there is room for them within the field of psychology,” said Grace Lundquist, who worked as co-coordinator to bring the tour to campus.
The exhibit included several on-campus events and began with an opening reception, where Dr. Shari Miles-Cohen, the senior director of the Women’s Programs Office at the APA, remarked on the roles and representations of women in color in psychology.
Women are present in the industry but tend to be underrepresented in research roles, which is traditionally considered an area for men, Miles-Cohen said. Women of color are especially underrepresented when compared to white women and men of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields — a problem Miles-Cohen said she is working to fix.
Lundquist said one of her main goals for bringing the exhibit to Westminster was to inspire girls of color to pursue careers in STEM fields and consider psychology as a viable career.
Westminster also hosted high school groups to view the exhibit and attend a mock psychology class.
“My favorite part of the exhibit has been seeing some of the girls who were able to come visit get genuinely excited about what they learned,” Lundquist said. “Many of them didn't really have an understanding about what psychology is before they came, and some seemed to leave with a genuine interest in the many different careers that the field offers.”
The exhibit was made up of displays recognizing women of color who have contributed significantly to psychology and of fun facts from the field, such as about early intelligence tests and optical illusions.
The last event of the tour was a panel comprised of women of color psychologists who discussed their experiences and careers and was tailored toward students considering a career in or who majoring in psychology.