Happenings at The Helminthological Society of Washington
By Kelly Weinersmith
The 725th meeting of The Helminthological Society of Washington was held virtually on May 1, 2021. We enjoyed 13 oral presentations, and a poster presentation. Approximately thirty participants joined us, and the virtual format allowed us to enjoy the company of folks from as far away as Mexico, Algeria, Norway, and Colombia. We are hoping that our fall Anniversary Meeting will be in person, and are thinking about how we could make this meeting hybrid (i.e., part in-person and part virtual) so we can continue to enjoy the company of non-Washington D.C.-based parasitologists.
During our Business Meeting, Corresponding Secretary Treasurer Ashleigh Smythe let us know that we’re in good financial standing, and that you can now choose the Helminthological Society of Washington as your charity of choice on Amazon Smile. To support HelmSoc, go to smile.amazon.com, click “Supporting:” on the top left corner, and search for “Helminthological Society of Washington” (we are, not surprisingly, the only charity with the word “helminth” in their name).
Sherman Hendrix then gave his In Memoriam report, and we shared a moment of silence for past HelmSoc members Drs. John Mackiewicz, John Richard (“Dick”) Seed, and Robert Goldstein.
President John Hawdon also reported that we are submitting paperwork to the IRS to make two of our grant initiatives tax-free for the recipients.
Our first set of grants are student travel grants, in which the student can choose to either get a $100 grant to support their attendance at a HelmSoc meeting, or an ~$250 grant to offset their registration for the annual ASP meeting. For the former option, the student needs to present at the HelmSoc meeting, and for the latter the student needs to give an oral presentation at both the HelmSoc and ASP meeting.
Our second set of grants are The Helminthological Society of Washington’s Underrepresented Minority Research Grants. We anticipate giving out $5,000 in grant funds each year, with ~$1,000 going to an undergraduate researcher and ~$4,000 going to a graduate researcher.
We voted at the Executive Committee meeting to place $25,000 in an endowment, which we hope will eventually support both of these grant initiatives each year. In the meantime, we will be funding these grants through pre-existing income revenues. We hope both grants will increase student participation and diversity in HelmSoc and the ASP.
Finally, in lieu of our tradition of having participants sign the “Green Book”, we had everyone sign a virtual whiteboard. A few artists stepped up to spruce up the whiteboard up with some parasite artwork.
A great time was had by all! Many thanks to Drs. Anne Vardo-Zalik and Michael Zimmermann for organizing and running the meeting!