This semester there will be a new registered student organization (RSO) on campus. Psychology student Yarisheia Tiggs is proud to launch the Black Student Psychology Association (BSPA) for which she will serve as founder and president.

Tiggs got the idea to start the group when she saw came across a diversity poster listing Black student organizations; however, none was specifically for Black psychology students. She then began to do research and figure out what it would take to get the new RSO started.

Psychology student and BSPA President Yarisheia Tiggs

“The organization was formed by me being proactive with my experience as a Black woman in the Department of Psychology at a historically white institution,” said Tiggs.

Tiggs was eventually referred to Dr. Brea Banks, a Black professor in the Department of Psychology. She emailed Banks to set up a meeting about starting BSPA and to see if Banks would be willing to serve as a faculty advisor for the organization.

After receiving the green light from Banks, Tiggs began searching for other Black psychology students. At the time there were only four other such students she knew. She reached out and got them on board, but to make sure RSO requirements were met, Tiggs continued to look for more students. This proved difficult because in all of her classes Tiggs was the only Black student. Being resourceful, she went to her advisor and asked for help getting the word out around the department. Her advisor gladly agreed, and once a team of students was established, they went right to work preparing to launch the RSO in the upcoming semester.

“Without my spring 2020 executive board, I’m not sure how far I would have got with the organization,” said Tiggs.

The purpose of the Black Student Psychology Association is to create networking opportunities, aid in professional development, and connect students to different resources on and off campus. BSPA hopes to provide a safe space for Black psychology students while seeking to help them succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. This will be accomplished through hosting social and educational events.

Students involved with BSPA will learn valuable skills such as applying to graduate schools, creating resumes/CVs, and learning career-searching techniques. Most importantly, Tiggs hopes students will view BSPA as a family that supports and wants to help them prosper through their college journey.

BSPA isn’t just for Black psychology majors. It is also for Black students who are minoring in psychology, undeclared, or those who just want to learn more. The organization is open to all, and anyone interested can email Yarisheia Tiggs for more information.