A group of psychology students and academics from Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (HWUM) visited Sunway University on 4 November for the Malaysian Psychology Student Assembly (MAPSA) 2023 conference. The entourage was led by Professor Glenn Hitchman, HWUM Head of Psychology and Associate Professor Dr Ke Guek Nee, the Conference Chair of next year’s MAPSA event.
With the intention to highlight psychology’s role for a sustainable future, this one-day event provided a platform for undergraduate and postgraduate students to present their research, learn about the latest ideas in psychology, and build networks with students from different universities across Malaysia.
Over 60 HWUM staff and students were present at the conference, with almost a third of them involved in participating in the oral and poster presentation sessions. Professor Glenn himself was also part of the event, delivering his own plenary talk.
The event began with an opening ceremony followed by a keynote talk by Professor Alvin Ng Lai Oon (Sunway University) who described the NICEST model for the development of psychology in Malaysia.
Delegates were then able to choose from a selection of plenary talks focused on broad topics ranging from work-life balance to chronic pain management. Several final year HWUM undergraduate students then delivered oral presentations across sessions focused on cognitive psychology; health and clinical psychology; social, community, cross-cultural and environmental psychology; educational psychology; individual differences; developmental psychology and industrial-organizational psychology.
After a break for lunch and networking, the undergraduate and postgraduate students contributed to a poster presentation session in which they showcased their research projects and answered questions from delegates.
This was followed by a second plenary session in which Professor Glenn Hitchman gave a talk entitled ‘Questioning the role of psychology in the quest towards a more sustainable society’. A second round of oral presentations then ensued before the closing and award ceremony took place.
The closing ceremony was supplemented by Dr Ke Guek Nee who launched the website and unveiled plans for the upcoming MAPSA 2024 conference which will be held at the HWUM campus in Putrajaya.
Professor Glenn expressed his enthusiasm towards the success of the event and the involvement of HWUM in the future: “This event provided an excellent opportunity for HWUM psychology students to gain experience of attending an academic conference, develop their presentation and networking skills and learn about cutting edge developments across many varied domains of psychological enquiry.
All the students commented on how engaging the presentations were, how much they learned from the event, and how much they enjoyed participating in the proceedings. Collectively, they have been inspired to apply their new knowledge and skills as they continue their psychological education at HWUM.
Moreover, the event was the ideal opportunity to unveil our plans to host the next MAPSA conference at HWUM on 18-19 October 2024.”