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Announcing the Beth E. Buchanan Graduate Student Scholarship Fund

A new graduate student scholarship fund has been established to honor Beth E. Buchanan, a SIOP Student member and the daughter of SIOP Fellow and dedicated volunteer, Julie Olson-Buchanan.  Beth, a 23-year-old I-O doctoral student at the University of Georgia, was driving her mother to the airport following a visit to Athens, Georgia, on February 13, 2023. In route, a drunk driver struck the car and tragically took Beth’s life. Julie is currently recovering from significant internal injuries. This scholarship is designed to help keep Beth’s light shining and celebrate her extraordinary giving spirit.

Like her mom, Beth was described by all who knew her as kind, fun-loving, witty, happy, and remarkably intelligent. She cared deeply about others, which was evident in her lifelong community work and in her passion for I-O psychology research. One of her first science fair projects – in the 7th grade! – documented gender inequity in the workplace. It is not surprising, then, that she joined multiple I-O psychology research labs beginning in her very first year as an undergraduate at Rice University. She quickly became lab manager, facilitating multiple projects on racial microaggressions, resilience, work recovery, people with disabilities, breastfeeding, and bias against mothers in the workplace.

Beth was keenly interested in issues affecting lower-income workers, particularly the management of work and family roles among this population. This was the topic of her undergraduate honors thesis project, a longitudinal study of the relationship between financial insecurity and work-family conflict. Beth earned the respect and admiration of the entire psychology department at Rice and was recognized with the Bill Howell Award for excellence in scholarship upon her graduation.

Beth was in the process of co-authoring a book chapter on issues affecting lower-income workers when the tragic accident occurred. Her master’s thesis was also in the development stage. She planned to document specific types of work-family conflict episodes and identify differentially effective coping responses to each. Beth was excelling in graduate school at UGA and showing unparalleled potential as a scholar. Beth’s work was consistent in spirit with that of her mother Julie, whose passion for humanitarian work psychology and sustained service to both the field and broader community were a source of inspiration for Beth.  Julie’s focus on “using I-O psychology for the greater good” perfectly characterizes Julie and served as the architecture for Beth’s path.

The Beth E. Buchanan Graduate Student Scholarship Fund is therefore designed to support and encourage students in pursuing excellence in I-O psychology, particularly those focused on the ways work and organizations impact important social issues (e.g., issues affecting lower-income workers, the work-family interface, employee well-being, remote work, and gender issues).

This scholarship will be administered by the SIOP Foundation Trustees in conjunction with the SIOP Awards Committee. For the scholarship to begin distribution of annual awards to worthy graduate students, it must be funded to a minimum of $50,000. We ask you to please consider giving a gift in memoriam of Beth to help other students at her stage of education live up to their potential.  Both SIOP members and non-members can help achieve this target level of funding by donating today.

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