Sheila Modir, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, has been selected as State Leader of the Year by the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS). This award is one of the highest APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team (APAGS-ACT) honors possible.
Modir has been part of the APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT) for two years. Currently she serves as the State Advocacy Coordinator for the Northern California region (including Santa Barbara and further north). In this position she is in charge of a group of graduate student campus representatives in different psychology graduate programs and provides them with information on legislative advocacy. Modir encourages their involvement on advocacy on behalf of the field of psychology and the individuals that receive our services. She also oversees the campus representatives on their advocacy projects in their graduate programs.
Modir was nominated by APAGS and other ACT members for her work in this position, which includes writing blog entries on advocacy, connecting with the California Psychological Association in order to advocate for specific psychological legislation pertaining to our state, increasing the number of campus representatives within the state, and promoting the importance of advocacy to my campus representatives through the creation of different projects that address topics such as research funding and Medicare access. She was also invited to Washington DC for the State Leadership Conference, an annual advocacy training conference for leaders in the psychology field.
Sheila Modir is a clinical psychology doctoral student working with Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior from UC Irvine and her master’s degree in social welfare from UCLA. During her social work program, Modir advocated for an increase in services for several vulnerable populations, including foster youth and formerly incarcerated women. She has travelled to Washington D.C. to attend the State Leadership Conference where she visited the Capitol to lobby on behalf of the field of psychology and the clients that receive psychological services. Currently, her research interests include identifying coping mechanisms and understanding resilience in the context of trauma for vulnerable populations.