CSU faculty win American Psychological Association awards

Jessi Witt APA awardThis year, two Colorado State University faculty members, both from the Department of Psychology, were recognized with awards at the American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual meeting in August.

Associate Professor Jessica Witt was honored with a Distinguished Early Career Scientific Contribution to Psychology. And Professor Bryan Dik was recognized with the Society for Counseling Psychology‘s 2017 John Holland Award for Outstanding Achievement in Career or Personality Research.

Perception and motor performance

Witt was lauded particularly for her work in the area of perception and motor performance – a field that only selects an honoree once every two years. Her research focuses on how our actions are impacted by our perceptions of the world around us – and vice versa. For example, her work has helped to demonstrate that people who are less fit actually perceive distances as being longer and hills as being steeper than those who are more fit. Witt explained more about her work in a TEDxCSU talk.

“I am honored to have received an award from the American Psychological Association,” Witt said. “I am even more grateful for this particular award when I see who has won it before. Seeing my name among these ‘giants’ in the field is an incredible experience and makes me want to achieve even more with my research.” As part of her award, Witt was also featured in the American Psychologist.

Bryan Dik APA awardFinding your calling

Dik studies vocational psychology, in particular the finding of meaning in career development. His award’s namesake, John Holland created the Holland Codes, which suggests links between a person’s personality and their job choices – and is still common in career counseling today. The award is given to midcareer professionals.

Dik’s TEDxCSU talk “How to Find and Live Your Calling” dives into the practical applications of his work. Dik is also coauthor of the book Make Your Job a Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change Your Life at Work and cofounder of jobZology, a CSU Ventures company with an online career assessment system.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized with the Holland Award,” Dik said. “I’ve been enormously blessed with collaborators and students who have truly helped multiply the impact of our work. So much of career development research has focused on job satisfaction and job performance. I feel like we have succeeded in changing the conversation so that scholars and practitioners are more tuned into deeper matters of purpose and meaning.”

Both faculty members were invited to receive their awards at the APA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The APA has a membership of more than 115,000 and is the leading scientific and professional psychology organization in the U.S.