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Honoring an Early Career


by Stephany Below

Mo Wang Honored With APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions

By Stephany Below, Communications Manager

SIOP member Mo Wang has recently been selected as a recipient of the 2013 American Psychological Association (APA) Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of applied research.

The APA Committee on Scientific Awards declared a tie for the Early Career Award this year in the area of applied research. Dr. Wang, associate professor at University of Florida, will share the award with Andres De Los Reyes, PhD, who is at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Wang will be presented with a formal personalized award citation along with a $1,000 prize to be shared with Dr. De Los Reyes at the APA Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 31-August 4, 2013. An announcement of all APA award recipients will also be printed in the May 2013 APA Monitor.

The APA Distinguished Scientific Awards for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology honor early career scientists for contributions in the first 9 years post-PhD in one of 10 areas: animal learning and behavior, developmental, health, cognition/human learning, psychopathology, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, perception and motor performance, social psychology, applied research (e.g., treatment and prevention research, industrial/organizational research, educational research), and individual differences (e.g., personality, psychometrics, mental ability, behavioral genetics).

Five areas are considered each year, with areas rotated in 2-year cycles. As the history of this award indicates, it is an outstanding accolade for scientific achievement. Dr. Wang joins an impressive list of previous SIOP winners, including Adam Grant and Rob Ployhart.

“I just want to say that I am really honored,” he said. “Given the past winners, I am really humbled as well. They are all really good at what they do, so those are big shoes to fill.”

Wang was nominated for the award based on his “remarkably productive” career thus far in four streams of research: retirement, aging, and older workers; occupational health through understanding stress and coping processes; expatriate management; and quantitative research methods.

“His thinking, research, and contributions are novel and interdisciplinary; combine advanced research methods and analytics; and are all accomplished in a remarkably collegial, mentoring/teaching, and service-oriented manner,” noted SIOP Awards Committee Chair Leaetta Hough in her nomination letter. “Already his impact on our discipline is truly significant. With current demographic and globalization trends coupled with his energy and continued prolific record, his potential for even greater impact is immense.”

Wang has published 51 articles in refereed journals, 5 books, 16 book chapters, and 6 articles in refereed conference proceedings. He has also been interviewed on TV and radio several times, and has had considerable Internet and newspaper coverage of his work.

“Dr. Wang has achieved an amazingly impressive record of scholarly publications that have significantly added to our knowledge and application of psychological principles that yield important real-world outcomes,” Hough continued. “Only 7 years after completing his dual doctorate in developmental psychology and industrial-organizational psychology, he is recognized as a star. Some already refer to him as a ‘super-star.’”
He has also received 15 academic awards including four other Early Career awards – SIOP’s Distinguished Early Career Science Contributions Award, Early Career Achievement Award for Occupational Health Psychology (cosponsored by APA, NIOSH, and SOHP), and Early Career Achievement awards from two divisions of Academy of Management: Research Methods and Human Resources.

Dr. Wang expressed gratitude for the award and what it means to his future career and research.

“It’s definitely a very important recognition for my research,” he explained. “It’s always nice to be recognized. It kind of reaffirms that my adjustment-related research topics have impact in the field.”
He also noted that he is delighted at being honored alongside Dr. De Los Reyes.

“It was a surprise,” he said. “Because I am sharing the award with Dr. De Los Reyes, and we have actually coauthored papers together. We are collaborators and good friends, so we knew each other were nominated, and we were pretty nervous. If either one of us had won we would be really happy for the other person. It is pretty fun to share it.”

Dr. Wang is currently working on several projects related to the topic of how Chinese retirees adjust to retirement. He said he hopes winning this award will inspire more I-O psychologists to get involved in retirement adjustment and aging workforce research.

“The topics I study—retirement, older workers, and the aging workforce—are gaining traction now and becoming more important,” Wang continued. “The award is a good encouragement to continue pursuing those topics. In the past a lot of this research was actually done by sociologists and economists, but psychologists have a unique view, and I would say we have very good insights about human nature and how it plays out in these situations, so I think psychologists definitely have our share to contribute to these subjects.”