By Christina Anaya
The 94th Annual ASP conference is around the corner and this year promises to be new and innovative for student attendees. We are privileged to have our conference in Rochester, MN, home of the Mayo Clinic. Therefore, our inaugural student workshop will be held at the Mayo Clinic and taught by Dr. Bobbi Pritt, M.D., MSc, DTM&H, author of the Creepy Wonderful Parasites blog. The 3-hour workshop will include making thick and thin blood films using malaria-positive blood followed by some case-based and clinically-relevant human parasites. This hands-on training can be used in your parasitological future and will be available to students at no charge. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn some new skills and receive a behind the scenes look at the Mayo Clinic. More information will be provided in the near future. You can read about Dr. Pritt here: https://www.mayo.edu/research/faculty/pritt-bobbi-s-m-d/bio-00093461 and follow her blog on parasite case studies at http://parasitewonders.com/.
As a parasitology student, transitioning into the parasitology workforce, I have spent many sleepless nights contemplating my future. Where will I go? What will I be?!? I want to alleviate some of that angst for you and your future! This year’s student symposium is titled “Preparing for and Navigating Your Parasitological Future”. No matter what field you are going in to, it is never too early to begin planning for that future career. I want to give you some tips on what you can do as a student, whether you are a first-year undergraduate or preparing to defend your Ph.D., to build that curriculum vitae. In addition, I am inviting a variety of parasitologists from a diversity of parasitology jobs who will provide insight into how they got their start, what they had to do to get there, and what they wish they would have done differently. You don’t want to miss this!
As this year’s student representative, I am making a point to get students mingling. Since my first ASP meeting seven years ago, I have observed students clinging to their friends like nematomorphs in Gordian knots. This year, we will do some activities that promote getting to know your parasitology cohorts. You never know when a new friendship can lead to opportunities now or in the future. These cohorts could potentially be your co-workers, bosses, or proposal reviewers. But more than that, they can be a great resource for something you never considered such as a fellowship in a far-a-way land or advice about graduate school or jobs. So be prepared for some exciting networking opportunities during our annual Steve Upton Social! We will also have our 3rd annual Vortex event where you can get advice from some of the leading parasitologists in the world. If you haven’t previously participated in the Vortex, this is an opportunity to “speed meet and ask” some great people about topics from parasites to postdocs.
Please look-out for emails from me in the coming weeks as I try to gather information on student attendees to plan for upcoming events. I look forward to speaking with all of you and our time in Rochester, MN!