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President's Blog - February 2017

February 10 2017 by Ian M. Anderson

President’s Letter

February 2017

Dear MSA Colleagues,

In this issue of my monthly letter, I wish to introduce to you the new MSA Student Council, which was created by resolution of Council at its Winter Council Meeting last month in Tampa, and to bring you up to speed on their initiatives, including a major pre-meeting event to take place on the Saturday preceding M&M 2017. I can honestly say that in my experience of 25+ years of MSA membership, the level of student leadership and activity of the past several months is unprecedented.

In the months following M&M 2016 last summer, I worked with student leaders of the Society to create the idea of a Student Council to replace the Student Committee, which was created in 2013 to coordinate student activities and to provide student input to Council. Those of you who attended the Annual Members’ Meeting in Columbus heard a report by [now first-year Director] Beth Dickey on behalf of an ad hoc committee, the 75th Anniversary Committee on Future Directions of the Society, comprised of about ten students, postdocs, and early career professionals and charged to provide input to Council on ways to improve how the Society addresses the their needs and those of their peers. A major recommendation of the 75th Anniversary Committee was to provide the Student Committee with a more sustainable model. The Student Council was proposed by our student leaders as a means of addressing this recommendation, while at the same time changing the emphasis from volunteerism (“committee”) to leadership (“council”). The offices of the Student Council are designed to parallel those of the MSA Executive Committee, comprising a President, President-Elect, and Past President, a Secretary and a Treasurer. Other major roles, such as a Program Chair role for a newly proposed Pre-Meeting Congress, were also chosen to parallel long-standing major MSA leadership roles.

At top you will see a photo of me at the 2017 Winter Council Meeting presenting to you the three Presidents of the Student Council (StC), who attended and participated actively in the meeting, particularly the strategic planning sessions. Many of you will recognize Jim Kilcrease (left), who has served as Chair of the Student Committee since its inception, and serves this year as StC Past President Alongside him are Josh Silverstein, StC President, with whom I’ve worked closely since M&M 2016 where he was elected by his peers to succeed Jim, and Janet Gbur, StC President-Elect, who will succeed Josh as President in 2018. The other StC Officers are Cameron Varano, Secretary, and Ethan Lawrence, Treasurer. These offices will be replenished at future M&M meetings, where a new President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer will be elected by their student peers.

A major new Student Council initiative this year will be a first-of-its-kind Pre-Meeting Congress (PMC), which will take place on Saturday, August 5 in advance of M&M 2017 in St. Louis. The early date of this PMC was deliberately chosen by the organizers to allow participants to participate in Sunday Short Courses or FIG-sponsored PMCs the following day. The goal of this PMC is to preview the best research by students, postdocs and early career professionals to be presented at M&M 2017 in a forum that will provide a snapshot of major developments in the microscopy and microanalysis field. This concept was proposed at the Student Committee meeting in Columbus by Will Bowman, then a student at Arizona State University and now a Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT, who will act as Program Chair. This event is very much within the new emphasis on student leadership in the Society, as it is an event organized by [current and very recent] students to provide a forum for their peers to network and present their work to all interested members of the microscopy and microanalysis community. The program will be seeded with invited presentations by selected M&M Scholars honored at M&M 2017, with balance from contributions from students and postdocs interested in participating. Immediately above you will see a promotional piece to market this event, designed by Janet and Cameron, who are acting as PMC Program Co-Chairs, and which appears in the Jan 2017 issue of Microscopy Today. Those of you who have already submitted a paper to M&M 2017 will have seen the advertised check box, which appears during the paper submission process to allow all submitters to indicate an interest in receiving further information about this PMC.

This is a good time to remind you that the Call for Papers deadline is looming. If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to submit a paper to present at this historic meeting. When you do, I encourage you to “Check the Box!” in order to follow developments by our student leaders in this new PMC.

Ian M. Anderson

President, Microscopy Society of America

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