President’s Column

Don Grant (Left) Being Recognized for Serving as 2022 President. Photo Credit: Kathryn Stamoulis

Happiest of Holidays, My Most Esteemed 46 Divisionaries!

As we engage in the common end-of-year “tradition” of personally reflecting upon the past 12 months, I want to first thank you all for the tremendous privilege of serving as your President throughout this re-emerging “hybrid” learning year. It has honestly been both an honor and a pleasure.

Certainly, however, the past year (and those immediately preceding it) have been an authentic struggle in myriad ways; each of us was impacted in individually, yet collectively non-partisan imprinting by the pandemic. A statistical analysis of any year could inarguably offer a consistent mixture of positive and negative experiences-some maybe more significantly skewed in one camp or the other. But during these past few, it sometimes felt (at least to me!) like Ayn Rand was just ahead of us all, Atlas did indeed unexpectedly “shrug,” and the entire world suddenly and unexpectedly tilted off its normal axis.

Although the losses have been beyond comprehension, our strength confronted, and our faith truly tested, we continued to prove our depth of human resilience-something that I hope each of you can hold with honor and pride-even in the darkest of times. This is not the first time in history mankind has faced universal adversity. Our world axis will resettle, (and may both look and feel very different), but as we all learn to re-navigate our ever-evolving new normal, I think it is important to hold our individual “north stars” steadfast and embrace both the positive experiences and people with whom we create them. experiences and people   They are the consistencies even in inconsistent times which help us maintain balance, come what may. As we began to slowly re-negotiate our post-pandemic lives, we continued to be presented with unprecedented challenges. Starting with the events of January 6th, the year (and media) seemed to deliver us more negative news than our personal bandwidths could perhaps sometimes sustain. Covid continued ebbs and flows, telehealth becoming more accepted and mainstream, civil unrest both nationally and globally, the Ukraine invasion, the overturn of Roe vs Wade, sustained consequences of climate change, the Fentanyl crisis, continued supply chain disruptions, mis, dis, and mal information cacophony, economic uncertainty, hybrid work schedules becoming more the norm than exception, the “quiet quit” phenomenon, increased cyberattacks, social media feeding maladaptive behaviors… and the horrific, unimaginable, and unbearable school and public space shootings tragedies…

The unacceptable list of negative news seemed to never end.

But still, we persevered, and through media and applications were able to share support, challenge the unacceptable, offer solidarity and aid, and remain bonded as ventrally compassionate human beings—both through digital resources and (thank goodness) once again IRL. “Sharing and caring” was also fantastically facilitated through “hybrid” connections. Or maybe merely a ridiculous TikTok viral video that just made us all lol whilst simultaneously rolling our eyes in a fascinated fusion of amusement, horror, and sometimes even disbelief!

#NyquilChickenAnyone?

The opposite of any struggle is connection. Although it appears as though we will now need to just accept that Covid may vagrantly squat across our world for the foreseeable future, recommitting to (safely) reconnecting with good, positive, and kind others is the nemesis of any challenge. When you think about the dysregulating issues which have ambushed us this year, I hope you also remember all the good times that you were able to share once again with those you love-whether in person or through technologically-based platforms. Each of those moments alone is perhaps small, but nonetheless a lethal lightsaber attack against any Dark Forces. Perpetually lit individually at every opportunity availed, they fuse together to serve as an unbeatable shield of connection and protection.

I want to personally thank several board members who will be completing their exemplary service to us at the end of this year. Chrysalis Wright (Secretary), V. Krishna Kumar, (Past President-for the 2nd time!), Danny Wedding (Council Rep.), D. Ryan Hooper, (Member At Large), and Jennifer Gentile, (Member At Large). Your dedication to our division has been beyond appreciated.  It was my true honor to serve with you.

Congratulations again to our newly elected Board members! Grant Rich, (President-Elect 2023), Jennifer Gentile, (Secretary), Joanne Broder, (Council Rep), Kristian Aloma, (Member At Large), and Allycin Powell-Hicks, (Member At Large). A warm welcome and I look very forward to working alongside you next year!

It was so wonderful to be able to see all our 46 Divisionaries who came to present, participate, and party (#CanCanWonderland!) at the APA convention in Minneapolis last August. Although many were madly—but understandably-missed, I was SO thrilled that with the indefatigable support of Krishna to try and make my goal of offering a “hybrid” social hour/awards ceremony a reality, we were able to “see” so many Divisionary 46 faces there via videotelephony technology! As with so many things lately, the idea was new (and thus its success uncertain), but with dogged tenacity (I cannot lie: I pursued it with an almost a religious zeal and, as Program Chair, Krishna joined me in this effort with equal enthusiasm!) we managed to pull it off and were thus able to share our terrific conference-based division celebration with off-site members who wished to join us! Although technological tools did allow us to all be together, our tele-guests were, unfortunately, unable to enjoy the delicious food and beverages offered IRL. Please be assured that I am, however, working on a way to solve this refreshment problem for future convention 46 Social Hour tele-participants.

#PostmatesAnyone?!

Our student committee, led by the incomparable Stephanie Miodus and Stephanie Joseph, continued to #CrushIt this past year. We also awarded several citations during our Minneapolis Social Hour, which included the Distinguished Early Career Professional Contributions to Media Psychology and Technology award; Hana Machackova, Division 46 Student Dissertation in Media Psychology and Technology award; Patrick Sweeney, and Professional Contributions to Media Psychology and Technology award; Frank Farley, Congratulations, All! These, again, are the “good things” I hope we can all hold fast as unassailable antidotes to accepting the harder “life on life’s” terms realities which just unavoidably will continue to present themselves.

However, I also am so excited about what our new 46 President, Susan Eddington, has planned for 2023. It is sure to be a fantastic year and I encourage you all to enjoin with the amazing stuff she has in store!

Finally, thank you again for allowing me the magnificent privilege of serving as your 2022 President. It has been one of my 2022 really “good things.” Truly. I appreciate each and all of you more than you could ever imagine.

Wishing you and yours a happy and safe holiday season and an over-abundance of hope, health, and happiness in 2023!

With only the best of best,

Don

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