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President's Corner: Matt Bolek

By Dr. Matthew Bolek

Welcome to the fall 2021 edition of the President’s Corner. First of all, I would like to welcome all our new ASP members as well as our new elected officers in the society! Second, I would like to thank our former President, Dr. Vasyl Tkach, our Past President, Dr. Julián Hillyer, our secretary treasurer, Lee Couch, all our current and former elected officers and appointed commi­ttee members, and members in our society that continued to care and support our society during these rather difficult times over the last two years of the pandemic.

Clearly the last 18 months have been difficult as the Covid-19 pandemic affected all of our lives, including ASP. However, during these difficult times, ASP members stepped up to these challenges and helped our society function and continue to thrive. For example, our education committee co-chaired by Dr. Sarah Orlofske and Dr. Nicole Chodkowsi provided the leadership support for their committee and ASP members to quickly assemble a large data set of teaching materials dealing with the biology of parasites and pathogens to be used in online laboratories and lectures by our members. Our 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 member’s accomplishments through Twitter and Facebook posts and our biannual Society Newsletter. Our new Scientific Program Officers, Dr. Maria Castillo and Dr. Judith Humphries, organized our first and a very successful ASP virtual meeting, which also included the first and equally successful online auction run by Dr. Shelly Michalski! Additionally, our editor-in-chief, Dr. Rich Clopton, his team of associate editors and all the reviewers continue to provide our members with interesting and relevant scientific content through publications in the Journal of Parasitology. Finally, our Secretary/Treasurer Lee Couch cannot be thanked enough for her continual service and dedication to the Society and her agreement to be appointed by ASP Council to serve as our Secretary/Treasurer for another year while the society continues to look for members interested in running for the Secretary/Treasurer position. My point is that all of you as members of the American Society of Parasitologists 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.

Over the last year I had the opportunity to attend the virtual and in person annual meetings of many of our regional societies and including the Southwestern Association of Parasitologists, the Rocky Mountain Conference of Parasitologits (both virtual meetings), and the Annual Midwestern Conference of Parasitologists (in person). As a result, I had the opportunity to interact and discuss with many of our ASP members the science of parasitology and your concerns and hopes for the society. From those discussions, it is clear to me that our members truly care about our society and the discipline of parasitology. I encourage you to reach out to me or other elected ASP officers if you feel more comfortable interacting with them, and provide any suggestions and/or concerns you might have about our society.

Over the next year I will continue working on some of the initiatives started by our previous ASP presidents, including Drs. Susan Perkins, John Hawdon, Julián Hillyer, and Vasyl Tkach. For example, I will continue to ask the Committee on Education to work with the Membership and our Public Relations Committees to develop novel educational resources for sharing with our members, and the Business Advisory Committee to continue developing a Sponsorship Program for the Society. In addition, I have been in contact with the Priorities and Planning Committee to work on developing initiatives that will help recruit and retain diversity in our society by providing funding sources for students and their advisors to be more engaged in our annual meetings.

I would like to remind you that the Local Organizing Committee chaired by Dr. Charles Criscione is busy planning for our 2022 annual ASP meeting on July 7-13, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and I hope to see you all there! Finally, I hope all of you stay healthy and safe and continue to prosper in all your parasitology adventures.

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