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Report on the Southwestern Association of Parasitologists 52nd Annual Meeting

By Dr. Joanna Cielocha (Rockhurst University)

All photos by Alan Fedynich

The Southwestern Association of Parasitologists met for their 52nd annual meeting on the grounds of the University of Oklahoma Biological Station located on Lake Texoma, Oklahoma. The meeting kicked off on Thursday, April 25th with more than 60 attendees familiarizing themselves with the grounds and presenters loading their presentations. Friday consisted of a whirl-wind day of parasitology, with 21 Oral Presentations—18 of which were given by undergraduate and graduate students, a President’s Reception, the Business Meeting, and a Poster Session featuring 9 presentations. Saturday morning consisted of two additional faculty presentations prior to adjournment.

Elections and awards were announced during the business meeting. Matt Bolek was appointed as the SWAP representative to the ASP to replace Kirsten Jensen who was elected as an ASP Councilmember. Joanna Cielocha was elected President-Elect. The results of the Student Presentation Awards and Student Research Awards are as follows:

President Kristin Herrmann and best student paper award winner, Emily P. Harders.

David A. Becker Memorial Award for Best Student Presentation: Awarded to Emily P. Harders for her presentation entitled “Manipulation of host cricket immunity, growth, and reproduction by the parasitic horsehair worm.” Emily’s co-authors were Brenda T. Huynh and Amy M. Worthington. She is an undergraduate from Creighton University, Omaha, NE.

Mark Dresden Award for Runner-Up Best Student Presentation: Awarded to Micah Unruh for his presentation entitled “Characterization of attachment in a species of Tetragonocephalum (Cestoda: Lecanicephalidea) from the whipray, Urogymnus asperrimus 1.” Micah’s coauthor was Joanna J. Cielocha. He is an undergraduate from Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO.

Honorable Mention Graduate Student Presentation: Awarded to Jeremiah Leach for his presentation entitled “Experimental determination of the substrate-encystment selection for the cercariae of Philopthalmus gralli (Trematoda: Philophthalmidae), with observations on cercarial behavior. His co-authors were A. E. Scott, N. White, and D. G. Huffman. He is a graduate student from Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, TX.

Honorable Mention Undergraduate Student Presentation: Awarded to Logan Tarter for his presentation entitled “A preliminary report on tapeworm diversity in the Atlantic Stingray, Hypanus sabinus (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes: Dasyatidae).” Logan’s coauthor was Joanna J. Cielocha. He is an undergraduate from Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO.

(report continued below photos of student award winners)

Three students were awarded Research Grants for their research proposals.

Kaci Waddle’s proposal was entitled “Integrative taxonomy of Posthodiplostomum.” She is a student at Tarleton State University in Stephensville, TX and mentored by Kristin Herrmann.

Montserrat Santos’s proposal was entitled “Surveying Haiti for nematomorphs: a search for hidden Gordiian treasure.” She is mentored by Heather Stigge at College of Saint Mary in Omaha, NE.

Ryan Koch’s proposal was entitled “Discovering an elusive intermediate host of a turtle parasite.” He is a student at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK and mentored by Matt Bolek.

SWAP Officers: Autumn Smith-Herron (Secretary-Treasurer), Heather Stigge (President, 2019-2020), Kristin Herrmann (Immediate Past President), and Joanna Cielocha (President-elect).


Autumn Smith-Herron, Secretary/Treasurer

Kristin Herrmann, Past President

Heather Stigge, President

Joanna Cielocha, President-Elect

Matt Bolek, SWAP representative to ASP Council

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