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Parasite Day 2019

Updated: Jan 7, 2019

By Kelly Weinersmith

One highlight of Parasite Day 1999 was local coverage of Dr. Scott Seville's visit to a kindergarten dressed up as a giant tapeworm. Photo Credit: Casper Star Tribune

On March 4, 1999 (the anniversary of H.B. Ward’s Birthday), ASP’s Education Committee kicked off the first “Parasite Day”. As part of this event ASP members engaged with their local communities, reaching a total of 59 groups or classes and ~1,370 people. Notably, Dr. Scott Seville visited a kindergarten class dressed up as a giant tapeworm, and this moment was captured on the front page of the Casper Star Tribune. (Amazingly, Scott still had this newspaper clip! We’re thrilled he was willing to share it with us!).

Parasite Day 2019

ASP’s Public Relations Committee is reviving Parasite Day, with the goal of making this a sustained annual initiative. For Monday, March 4, 2019 we are just working on getting things off the ground by connecting parasitologists to classrooms virtually. If you’re interested in being connected with a classroom on Skype on Parasite Day, please fill out this form. This form should be completed and submitted by January 21st, so we can make information about who is available for classroom chats known to teachers in advance of March 4th. If a teacher expresses interest in having you chat with their classroom, then you’ll be asked to give a short presentation (we suggest 5-10 minutes) on your research, and will then answer student questions during the remaining time.

We are also encouraging members to reach out to local schools and organize an event! (And, of course, it doesn't have to be on March 4th! Whatever works best for you.) If you do organize a local event, please email Dr. Kelly Weinersmith (see email address below) and let her know the details (your name, institution, age group targeted, number of participants, and any info you’d like to share on what you did during this outreach event). We want to track the activities of our members to summarize ASP's Parasite Day efforts.

Parasite Day Beyond 2019

For future years, we hope to facilitate member efforts to run outreach events.

We plan to create three types of resources for our members.

First, we want to create kits containing parasitology slides that will be shared with ASP members and brought to local events. To this end, we’re soliciting material from our members. If you have parasitology specimens that you would be willing to donate (which the PR Committee would subsequently prep, organize into kits, and ship to members for events), then please send us an email. Include in the email information about the parasite species you could send, the current way in which the specimens are preserved (on a slide, stored in jars of ethanol, etc), and the number of specimens you would be willing to donate. This is a great way to clear out some space in your lab, and put those old dusty samples to good use! We’ll collate the list of possible donations, and will later touch base about which specimens we can use and where they should be shipped (we’re working on finding money to cover shipping costs as well).

Second, we want to create digital content that our members can use for outreach. This includes files for posters and PowerPoint presentations (some of which will be affiliated with the slide kits we’re creating) aimed at various age groups. If you have a poster or a presentation you’d be willing to share, please send us an email. We will be sure to give credit to you if these posters and powerpoint presentations are used.

Third, we’re looking for people who would be willing to act as local resources for ASP members who are new to outreach but interested in Parasite Day participation. For example, do you have access to specimens that local scientists could use for outreach? Are you an outreach expert who would be happy to talk to budding outreach folks about what works? If you think of some way you could facilitate outreach efforts for folks in your vicinity, then please send us and email and we’ll put your name and info about how you’re willing to help out on a list that we’ll share on the Members Only section of ASP’s website.

Please send all emails to Dr. Kelly Weinersmith at Weinersmith (at) Rice (.) edu.

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