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SIOP 2018 | Takeaways for #VUHRD

Last month, Drs. Sawyer, Thoroughgood, and Brandon attended the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology annual conference. It was a jam-packed week of networking, presenting, and reconnecting with collaborators and colleagues. Plus, it was in Chicago, so there was plenty to see and do in the city!

Before SIOP officially began, Dr. Sawyer organized a day-long pre-conference retreat for female academics, providing support for women in the field attempting to juggle work and life. She also participated in a day-long conference on 360-degree feedback at PepsiCo headquarters. While there, she was able to learn about cutting edge performance management practices that PepsiCo and other presenting companies are using. She was also able to present on the topic of diversity and performance management. Once SIOP started, all of the faculty were busy with various activities. Dr. Sawyer and Dr. Thoroughgood presented on their new research regarding transgender employee experiences in two different symposia. One of the symposia won the Best LGBT Research Award for the conference, so they were excited to present their work alongside really stellar colleagues. Both Dr. Sawyer and Dr. Thoroughgood served as presenters on panels about translating I/O concepts in the real world. Dr. Brandon also attended some interesting sessions on the links between I/O and HR, learning some valuable information to bring back to the program. All three of the faculty members attended the Penn State I/O program reception, which allowed them to reconnect with their friends and faculty members from graduate school.

While at the conference, Dr. Sawyer was also able to connect with Dr. Patricia Grabarek, the co-founder of her blog, Workr Beeing, to begin to collaborate on some exciting new projects. They spent a while working on new content and interviewing some interesting I/O-ers for their website. It was a great opportunity to make progress, given Dr. Grabarek lives in LA and they don’t frequently get to connect. She was also able to reconnect with prior colleagues from consulting. Check out some of their takeaways from SIOP on this post written by Dr. Sawyer today! Similarly, Dr. Thoroughgood was able to make some connections with companies that are interested in providing internships to Villanova students and in collaborating on research projects.

They also had some fun! Dr. Sawyer tried deep dish pizza and went to the Second City Comedy Club for the first time, Dr. Brandon was able to reconnect with his prior advisor, Dr. Rick Jacobs, and Dr. Thoroughgood explored the Shedd Aquarium with some colleagues. All in all, it was a great conference that resulted in a lot of important connections, new knowledge, and some meaningful memories! If you’re interested in learning more about SIOP, visit

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