Growth of SSEA

December 06, 2016 5:33 PM | Lisa Gaudette (Administrator)


Growth of SSEA

We are less than one year away from the 8th conference on Emerging Adulthood, to be held November 2-4, 2017 in Washington DC. We anticipate that we will have over 500 conference attendees, with excellent representation from countries across the globe. Our society membership continues to grow and diversify, creating fantastic opportunities for collaboration across disciplines and continents through our Topic Networks and other society activities. Given that SSEA is itself in an emergent period of development, we wanted to take this opportunity to take a brief look back at the history of the organization and excitedly anticipate our future directions.

SSEA originated as a special interest group within the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA). The first Conference on Emerging Adulthood on took place in November 2003 at Harvard University. The second conference took place in Miami in 2005 in conjunction with the International Society for Research on Identity (formerly known as SRIF).  In 2007, SSEA was established as a stand-alone society at the meeting in Tucson, Arizona. Starting with the 2007 meeting, and continuing through 2009 (Atlanta), 2011 (Providence, RI), 2013 (Chicago), and 2015 (Miami), attendance has increased at each successive conference. We are expecting the attendance at the 2017 Washington DC conference to be even higher than Miami. We strongly value international attendance at our conferences, which we facilitate through consistently providing travel awards for scholars from outside North America. Currently SSEA has more than 500 members, and approximately one-third of these members are from outside the United States and Canada.

The initial SSEA steering committee envisioned many core elements of the society that we continue to embrace as we look to the future of the organization. We have focused on multiple aspects of emerging adulthood, such as identity, substance use, family relationships, and school-to-work transitions. From the start, SSEA has placed a major emphasis on emerging scholars – graduate students, post-docs, and early-career faculty members. Rather than adopt the usual approach where most leadership positions are given to senior professors, in SSEA we purposely sought to place emerging scholars into positions of leadership, where they could be empowered and use their unique vision and enthusiasm to guide the future of the organization.

Starting in 2013, SSEA established its own journal, Emerging Adulthood. Under the leadership of Manfred van Dulmen, EA quickly became a prominent journal, and we began receiving submissions from leading scholars around the world. Moin Syed, who took over as editor in July 2016, has continued this excellence. The journal has averaged 175 submissions per year, and Sage has informed us that they have requested an impact factor for EA. This is quite an accomplishment for a journal that is finishing only its fourth year of publication!

Now SSEA is starting a series of new initiatives. One of these is a small grant program targeting scholars from outside North America. It is essential that we facilitate research on emerging adulthood around the world, and the small grant program will provide “seed money” to start (and continue) such research.

It has been an honor to share this journey with all of you, and with the new members who have been joining us along the way. We look forward to continuing to serve as the international authority on the emerging adult life stage, and as the professional home for scholars who study this phase of life.

Seth J. Schwartz, SSEA President
Elizabeth M. Morgan, SSEA President-Elect