Forest Students Spend Time with State Legislators

On April 4, 2012 several Forest students hit the road to Jefferson City to spend the day with state legislators.

They did so in conjunction with the Missouri Psychological Association's Legislative Day.

"I had the opportunity to go and shake hands with some of the elected officials from our state and talk to them about the positive impact psychological services can have on Missourians.  It was really pretty awesome," said Hannah Harris.

In all, 20 psychologists and students from around the state were present at this year's legislative day, five of those were from Forest including Harris, Brent Huber, Gage Stermensky, Stacy Ogbeide, and Phillip Hawley.

"It was an incredible learning experience. Meeting with the representatives and senators really exposed how genuine and approachable they are," said Huber.   "After seeing this process in action, creating and maintaining relationships with your representatives is not nearly as intimidating as it may seem. It is entirely up to us with just how much of a difference we can make.” 

Among things accomplished at the legislative day was the opportunity for members to talk with the sponsors of the Eating Disorder Bill on both the House side and the Senate side.  "We have been given action items to address and are drafting language in order to amend these bills to ensure that psychologists are included as providers as we were left out due to oversight," said MOPA President Richard P. Martielli, Ph.D., ABPP.

After meeting with their local senators or representatives members attended a working lunch where the future of MOPA and its work with legislators continued.

"If I learned anything from my experiences at the capital building, I learned that relationships are so important," said Harris.  "I got a first hand look at how a little effort in networking in the past can pay big dividends in the future. I'm going to work even harder now at networking with area psychologists and representatives alike."

Below is a picture of Forest students at Legislative Day.