Volunteering: How you can attend conferences at no charge

by Staff 19 August 2014

Maria LaFrance

by Dr. Maria LaFrance
Assistant Professor
College of Behavioral Sciences
Argosy University, Online Programs

I was in my senior year of my undergraduate degree, just about to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in psychology, and the American Psychological Association (APA) annual convention was coming to Chicago─ a mere 30 minute drive from school. The speakers and workshops were going to be excellent; there was something every day that I wanted to see, listen to, or learn about.

There was only one problem─ I was broke, and student registration for the whole week was nearly $100. There was no way I could (monetarily) afford to go, but there was also no way that I could (educationally or professionally) afford not to go. That was when my mentor recommended volunteering.

Many professional conferences need volunteers (often students) to help run the conference. From being a page for a seminar room (getting water for speakers, finding batteries when the laser pointer dies, etc.) to helping the attendees with disabilities navigate the convention, to being a general question answerer with maps and information, there are a lot of different ways that students can help out during a conference.

During this particular APA convention, I volunteered in the Resources Room where convention attendees with disabilities came if they needed assistance. For one day, I was assigned as the assistant to a blind attendee, Phyllis. This was a HUGE responsibility, because in Chicago the convention was not held at one venue, but rather different events were held in the meeting rooms of hotels scattered across the downtown area. Not only did I have to help Phyllis get from room to room within the venues, but I also had to help her navigate the busy streets of Chicago to move from hotel to hotel, hitting all of the talks and events on her list. After my day in the Resources Room, I was then free to attend the rest of the conference at no charge, having paid my way by volunteering my time.

However, as I sit here over 10 years later reminiscing about that convention, a funny thing has occurred. I don’t remember a single talk, workshop, or event that I attended at that convention. I’m sure I heard lots of innovative research findings and met many important people, but none of that has stuck with me over the years.

What I do remember is my day with Phyllis. I remember when I first met her I was a bit uncomfortable and unsure of what to do or how to act. I tried (as many sighted people do) to take her arm to lead her, when instead it is the blind person who will take your arm. She taught me how to lead her, such as how and when to warn of steps or curbs. She was patient and kind and explained her needs to me. I watched her take notes in Braille, and noticed her find and avoid impediments and obstacles that I hadn’t noticed and wouldn’t have thought about.

My day of volunteering was an incredible experience ─ one that has stuck with me for many years. I may have volunteered solely for the purpose of getting to attend the conference for free, but I got so much more out of that experience than $100 of registration fees. I got an eye-opening experience that has influenced me for years since.

Many local and national conferences and conventions need the help of volunteers. Some limit volunteers to graduate students and others accept both graduate and undergraduate students. Before you pay attendance fees (or decide that you can’t attend because of the registration fees), see if the conference you want to attend has a volunteer program for students. Not only will you get to attend the conference for at no charge or a discounted rate, you might get a little more out of the experience than you first thought.

Announcing the Journey Scholarship: Apply by 8/25/14!

by Argosy University 14 August 2014

New Argosy Scholarship

The Education Foundation, in conjunction with the Argosy University Scholarship Committee, is proud to announce the Journey Scholarship, exclusively available to fully online undergraduate and graduate students at Argosy University, Online Programs.

Winners of the Journey Scholarship will be awarded a scholarship equivalent to the cost of one class, with a maximum award of $3000. Three winners will be chosen—one each from our undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs.


Recipients will be chosen by Argosy University’s Scholarship Committee and awardees will be forwarded to The Education Foundation for final approval. Recipients will be chosen from complete applications submitted by eligible students based on the following criteria:

a. Enrollment status - Applicants must be currently enrolled at Argosy University in a fully online program and must be in an active status.

b. Academic performance/potential – Students must have a minimum of 12 credits successfully completed at Argosy University and 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

c. Personal essay – (minimum 500-750 words) “Tell us about your student journey here at Argosy University.”

d. Faculty recommendation - Signed letter of recommendation from a faculty member in your academic area.

e. Financial need - defined as direct cost of attendance minus financial aid for which the student is eligible for the coming academic year.

How to Apply

To get started, download the scholarship application here. The application deadline is 8/25/2014. Complete applications must be submitted via fax to (412) 992-5928 or via email to auoscholars@argosy.edu.


Please contact the Argosy University Scholarship Committee with any questions you may have at AUOscholarshipcommittee@argosy.edu.

About the Education Foundation

The Education Foundation was established in 1999 to offer scholarship support to students interested in continuing their education in one of the postsecondary, career-focused schools in the Education Management Corporation (EDMC) system. The number and amount of scholarship awards may vary depending on the amount raised during the previous year.

More Information

*This is a one time, non-renewable scholarship.
**The scholarship is awarded in the form of a tuition credit and is not redeemable for cash stipends.
***EDMC Voucher Students are not eligible to apply.

Are you a great leader? Answer these 5 questions to find out!

by Argosy University 13 August 2014

Merriam-Webster defines a leader as someone who "has commanding authority or influence," but that's just the beginning. Real leadership -- the kind that creates lasting personal success and long-term impact -- takes real skill. Do you have the qualities of a great leader? Take a look at these questions to find out.

1. Do I like other people?

Above all, leaders like people and woe to the leader who doesn't. Leaders have to deal with people all day long. In the context of leadership, liking people means recognizing the dignity and worth of others, no matter what. Being willing to accept and include others creates a more powerful leadership stance (and can tamp down a raging ego). Don't worry if you're introverted or shy -- you can still make a great leader if you respect what others bring to the table.

2. Am I brave?

Leadership takes guts. It can be scary to find yourself at the head of the class or the center of the pack. Note that the word is "brave," not "fearless." Real leaders push through fear to see what comes next. They withstand adversity whether or not they're afraid. Leaders show up again and again. This one-step-at-a-time attitude separates the real leaders from the false ones.

3. Do I love learning?

About 69% of business leaders surveyed said it's important to have a mentor. Learning from those who came before us is one of the most important skills a leader can possess. With the right combination of curiosity and the desire to get it right, learning can create watertight leadership skills.

4. How good are my listening skills?

It's been said that listening skills are leadership skills. In fact, a great leader may listen much more than he or she speaks. That's because understanding the situation and respecting other people's input gives a leader the information and strength needed to make stronger decisions.

5. Am I willing to try again … and again … and again?

Here's a great quote from a great leader: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill knew a thing or two about success and failure, but one thing is certain -- he never would have reached his leadership potential if he didn't know how to dust himself off and try again. Persistence, resilience, and even doggedness: these are the traits of a great leader.

Ready to focus on building your leadership skills? Explore our programs in the Graduate School of Business and Management, which include a master's and doctoral program in organizational leadership.

Do these 4 things every day to reduce anxiety.

by Argosy University 8 August 2014

JournalingFeeling stressed? You're not alone. 73% of Americans experience stress or anxiety on a regular basis and many regularly face situations rife with stress factors they can't control. If you have a lot going on at work, home, and/or school, first, take a deep breath—there are several simple things you can do every day to reduce your anxiety. Read on for a few stress-busting tips:

1. Write it out

Journal writing can be a great stress reliever, and you might find it is easier to express your thoughts on paper rather than sharing them with another person. If you're feeling the pressure, take five or 10 minutes to write about your problem. Writing may help relieve the sense of immediacy the problem has, which will reduce your anxiety. You may even surprise yourself by yielding up some previously unforeseen insights to your situation.

2. Wash up

The human body is made almost entirely of water, so it makes sense that a few drops really help ease anxiety. Try a warm shower to relax your muscles and disconnect from your stressors. If you like it cold, try splashing icy water on your face. The temperature shock might just jump-start you out of your funk.

3. Breathe deeply

Breathing isn't just a key to survival—it's a portal to the present moment. You don't have to be a Zen master to benefit from a few deep breaths. Focus on your breathing and close out the rest of the world for a few seconds. Breathe in to the full extent your lungs can take over 7-10 seconds; hold the air in for another 3-5 seconds; and then slowly expel the air over another 7-10 seconds. This technique can be very helpful when you start to obsess about unanswered questions and uncontrollable situations. It will still be there when you come up for air!

4. Get detailed

Another great way to reduce anxiety is to take a few moments and focus on the details of the room or scenery around you. Do a quick sensory check to make sure you're tuned in. What do you see? Smell? Taste? Hear? Feel? By diving into sensory input, you can disrupt spinning thoughts and allow yourself to calm down.

The tips above may be simple, but that's the point. Try one a day or all four on a regular basis, and you'll be well on your way to a less stressful school year.

How to Conduct an Online Survey for a Graduate Course

by Argosy University 30 July 2014

Taking surveysAre you gathering information for a research project in one of your classes? Do you need to create a survey at work and you’re not sure of best practices? Either way, online surveys can offer low-cost, high-volume access to study participants and can drastically reduce data entry and analysis work. To achieve your research goals and avoid inaccurate results, always follow these 5 tips when planning and conducting online surveys.

1. Be concise

Keeping your survey as short and to the point as possible is essential for online research. Online surveys offer a convenient way to reach participants, but that ease of access can come with a downside: attrition. On the Internet, a significant percentage of respondents will quit after a few questions, especially on longer surveys or surveys that don’t accurately inform the participants of how long the survey will take. If you’re not careful, this can bias the sample and make your results difficult to interpret. Remember, the more concise and organized your survey, the lower your attrition rate will be.

2. Prepare for low response rates

Even if your survey is short, it may be difficult to convince many people to take the time to complete it. Remember, it's easy for people to delete your email or wander over to YouTube and forget to take your survey. To make sure you have a big enough sample, recruit more potential participants than you really need.

3. Collect basic demographic data

Even if your research doesn't deal with demographic variables like age, gender, education, or income, it's smart to collect data on those characteristics as part of your survey. Online surveys are particularly vulnerable to response bias, and the best way to combat response bias is to understand who is responding. If you notice that your sample is 90% male, you can take action to rebalance the sample. Of course, make sure your participants know why you are collecting data and what you plan to do with it.

4. Test your survey

It's extremely important to give your online survey a dress rehearsal before you start sending it out. Email your survey to a few classmates and ask them to answer the questions. Then, analyze the data. This process will help you detect—and fix--potential problems, from formatting problems to inaccurate data reporting. Conducting a thorough is the only way to ensure that things go smoothly.

5. Document everything

Anytime you conduct research, keep a thorough paper trail documenting all problems and changes to your design during the process. Careful documentation will help you explain your work to your instructors and peers and help you prepare for any future reports or publications.