By Dr. Matthew Bolek
Welcome to the Spring 2022 edition of the President’s Corner. Clearly the last year has been another difficult one as the Covid-19 pandemic and other worldly events affected all our lives, including ASP. However, during these difficult times, ASP members continued to thrive and were involved in all things parasitic, including research, education and service. For example, in the fall of 2021 many of our ASP members along with members of the Australian Society of Parasitologists and other parasitologists were involved in virtual panel discussions, interviews and research presentation distributed on YouTube as part of the Global Parasitologist Coalition for Parasite Biodiversity Day developed and organized by one of our ASP members, Chenhua Li and her team. The event was very well attended with over 1000 views from 93 countries during the two-day meeting. If you are interested in viewing those activities, you can see them on the Global Parasitologist Coalition YouTube channel.
Although the last year has been difficult for everyone, the ASP remained a working, active society. The Public Relations Committee chaired by Dr. Joanna Cielocha and our society Newsletter editor, Dr. Kelly Weinersmith, continued to keep us connected and informed about exciting news events in parasitology and our members’ accomplishments through Twitter and Facebook posts and our biannual society Newsletter. In addition, our Journal is going strong under the leadership of our editor-in-chief, Dr. Rich Clopton, his team of associate editors, authors, and all the reviewers that continue to provide our members with interesting and relevant scientific content through publications in the Journal. My point is that all of you as members of the American Society of Parasitologists, and many of you that serve on ASP committees continue to provide your valuable time and service to the wellbeing of our society, and I truly appreciate all your efforts and time you freely dedicate.
In terms of education, Dr. Christina Anaya and her team coordinated another successful Parasite Week where many ASP members interacted with teachers and their classrooms around the US to educate students about parasites. Many of our members used their talents, time and expertise to educate students about parasites and just as importantly interact with teachers across the US. For example, Dr. Chuck Blend at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History had an amazing set of interactive activities to educate 5th graders up in Michigan about our beloved parasites which was highlighted on our ASP Facebook site, and Dr. Sarah Bush, while on a research trip in the Galapagos was interviewed about parasites on The Children’s Hour podcast.
Our education committee chaired by Dr. Jeff Bell continued to be busy and innovative throughout the last year. As a result of our interactions, and working with the ASP Program Officers we have added an education/teaching session as one of the topics for our presentations at our annual ASP meetings. We are very hopeful that this new format will become a venue at our annual meetings where our members can share their novel innovations in education and teaching.
Finally, I am very much looking forward to our 2022 annual ASP meeting on July 7-13, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The Local Organizing Committee chaired by Dr. Charles Criscione along with our Scientific Program Officers, Dr. Maria Castillo and Dr. Judith Humphries have been very busy planning for our meeting. It will be a wonderful time where we can celebrate our members’ accomplishments, share scientific and education ideas and come away with a stronger understanding of parasitology. I hope all of you have a great end to your semester, and I am looking forward to seeing many of you in College Station in July. As always, if you have any comments and/or suggestions please reach out to me or one of our council members at large. I hope all of you stay healthy and safe and continue to prosper in all your parasitology adventures.