Student Division ExCo

Member News

We are proud to say that two of our student members have been appointed as divisional executives. Ms. Natalie Pretorius was elected as the Student Executive for the Society for Educational Psychology of South Africa (SEPSA) and Ms. Linda Dias Menezes as the Student Representative of the Division for Research Methodology (DRM).

We would like to congratulate Ms Zindi Steenkamp and Ms Galaletsang Taunyane, for being accepted into the UNISA Masters in Research Consultancy (MARC) programme. They have been instrumental in our collaboration with the Hate Crimes Working Group and we wish them the best of luck for their Masters journey ahead.

We would like to extend further congratulations to two of our student members currently studying at UNISA, Ms Linda Dias Menezes and Mr Muhammed Yaeesh Cassim, for their success outside of PsySSA as board members of Epilepsy Awareness South Africa (EASA).

Epilepsy Awareness SA is an NPO based in Johannesburg, made up of volunteers who dedicate their time to educate their communities as well as the rest of South Africa. Founded in 2015 by Linda Dias Menezes and Maximillian van Heerden (13), who are both International Purple Day Ambassadors, representing South Africa for The Anita Kaufmann Foundation in America. They currently run specialised support groups for people with Epilepsy in the North of Johannesburg and in Limpopo, and are in the process of expanding the support groups further to the South of Johannesburg, Western Cape and KZN.

We look forward to further engagement with EASA and to support them where we can.


Our first Mentorship Graduation Ceremony is to be held at the PsySSA Head Office on the 18th November 2017.

Mentorship Applications will re-open in January 2018, corresponding with the new University terms. Mentors and Mentees welcome!

To  all student members please keep an eye on emails for the announcement of the new Student Division executive elected at conference. All the positions have not been filled and a call for nominations and elections will be made during November and December 2017.

Chairperson Address

On reflection of my tenure as an Executive Member in 2016/2017, I can proudly say that it has been a tough but fruitful journey for the division in laying the foundation for a strong student structure, able to collaborate productively with professionals in the field whilst provide practical opportunities to students.

In 2016 we engaged with pressing student concerns on campuses, the barriers facing psychology students aiming to become psychology professionals and connecting psychology student structures across the country. Our main drives for 2017 were concerned with connecting students with professionals and practical experience, demystifying the discipline and mentoring.

As we end 2017, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire 2016/2017 Student Executive for their service. There were many role players during this time who have contributed their time and energy to ensure that the PsySSA Student Division was able to engage with the student community to understand and deliver on the needs of its member base. A special thanks to Ms. Justine Du Plooy for her role as acting chairperson this year, for taking up the mantle and ensuring that the division completed its objectives for 2017.

The PsySSA Student Division had the great privilege to arrange over 30 volunteers for the 1st Pan African Psychology Union Congress, held in Durban during September. Here are a few reflections from two of our volunteers.

“Volunteering at the PAPU conference was an incredible experience! I was truly in awe at how diverse the field of psychology is. To meet the so called ‘international celebrities’ in the discipline was an absolute privilege! Many of whom I was fortunate enough to engage with prior and after presenting, showing me the many similarities we share in our passion for psychology. To listen in on work addressing recent research and learning about rising therapy techniques was such an amazing experience! I learnt more than I ever thought I would, and seeing especially how RELEVANT the topics of the conference were, such as integrating African indigenous practices into the discipline of psychology, as well as how forensic psychology faces the same challenges globally. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and would recommend any psychology student to volunteer and really see what psychology is all about!”

Sandrika Chetty, UCT Honours Student

“The Pan African Psychology Congress was a great experience! We were offered a chance to learn and meet professors and academics in the field of Psychology. I was also happy to learn about other fields in Psychology which I was interested in besides Clinical Psychology. This opportunity is highly appreciated. The PsySSA Student Division was with us as volunteers all the way from assisting us with accommodation and guiding us to what is expected of us during Congress. The support provided to volunteers throughout the process, from applying till last day, was immeasurable.”

Fortune Khumalo, UNISA Honours Student

“Prof Saths Cooper, steps up to the podium and declares, The First Pan African Psychology Union Conference open. While sitting in a few keynote addresses, and national and international symposia, I expanded my knowledge in psychology, and realised how far African psychology has come. I noticed this when Dr Hussein Bulhan, of the Psychological Society of Ethiopia, announced that Ethiopia will have their first graduates of psychology this year. I was also fortunate enough to be able to present at PAPU on behalf of the Student Division, on the Mentorship Programme. PAPU 2017 was an experience that no words can describe. It was my first Psychology conference a volunteer for The First Pan African Psychology Union! It made me proud to be an African, and proud to be affiliated with PsySSA. It was an experience that I would not change for the world.”

Muhammed Yaeesh Cassim – 2nd Year UNISA Student

A new beginning is on the horizon, with the PsySSA Student Division looking for new opportunities and challenges to overcome in the coming two years. We have built networks within the society, and other aligned professional institutions, that we would like to expand with more student input envisioned for 2018.

I would personally like to declare my commitment to the PsySSA Student Division and I trust that my previous experience as a Student Division Executive will ensure that I lead the division to even greater heights.

Yours in service

Hennie Nel

PsySSA Student Division

Chairperson (2018/2019)

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