Hello fellow ASP members. I write to introduce myself as the 2020–2021 ASP Student Representative to Council, and to share my goals for the upcoming academic year. I am a third-year doctoral candidate studying parasite-microbiome interactions, working with Dr. Denise Dearing at the University of Utah. This is my fifth year as an ASP student member, and throughout my membership, I have found the ASP community to be exceptionally welcoming and encouraging for student members. It is a society small enough to offer student members a chance to connect with legends in their own field, and big enough to develop a far-reaching professional network. This is a special balance for developing scientists. I am taking over the position of student representative after an excellent year by Kaylee Herzog, and I hope to follow her lead in providing student members with stimulating parasitology content and consistently advocating for student interests to Council.
This is a unique time in the world, and since I began my term, it has already been a Council experience unlike any other. We are facing an extended length of pandemic-related restrictions, and Council has accordingly voted to hold a virtual meeting this coming summer. My goals as student representative center around communication and flexibility to ensure that I am able to help students have the best possible virtual meeting experience. To that end, I will be a member of the “local” organizing committee (LOC) for the virtual meeting, and will push to incorporate as much interactive programming as possible. I have attended a few virtual meetings that I will use as reference points for helping to develop an effective meeting, and I am open to suggestions via email. I understand the value of annual meetings for student research development, and I want all student members to feel included as a plan develops for how to share their research and connect with other members in 2021. Since we have several months to plan the 2021 meeting, I am confident that we will be able to host excellent programming, including social and networking opportunities with ASP members at every career stage. I am looking forward to working with Council and the other LOC members to ensure that students have the opportunity to connect with the society. Our student members are making excellent contributions to parasitology research, and they should be shared with the Society via official presentations and more informal networking opportunities.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with comments about student interests in ASP or suggestions for virtual student programming. I’m looking forward to serving the society through July 2021!