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President's Blog - March 2017

April 27 2017 by Ian M. Anderson
President’s Letter
March 2017

Dear MSA Colleagues,

My “March” blog post comes to you well into April - my bad! However, my tardiness provides a good setup for the subject of my March post, which is to acknowledge the enormous effort of a large cross section of Society leaders and volunteers during this month, and more generally the first quarter of the calendar year. Before I get to this, let me take this opportunity to encourage each MSA member to find a way to get involved in the Society’s activities and mission. Feel free to contact me directly and suggest an activity that you believe would be beneficial to the Society, or I’ll work with you to identify a role on one of our many active committees.

The first quarter of the calendar year is punctuated by four events, roughly equally spaced three to four weeks apart: the annual turnover of officers on January 1; the Winter Council meeting, typically held during the final weekend of January; the Call for Papers (C4P) deadline, which (after extensions!) usually falls three weeks into February; and the Program Production Meeting in mid-to-late March. This period, and the weeks immediately following, see an enormous level of volunteer activity across many areas of the Society. In particular, most of what you witness at the annual Microscopy & Microanalysis (M&M) meeting results from the work during these three months.

These months are of course a busy time for the Council and in particular the Executive Committee (EC). Any strategic initiatives to be accomplished during the year are planned and initiated during this period. Early January involved prioritization and preparation for Council input and approval at the end of the month. The window between the Winter Council (WC) meeting and the Program Production Meeting (PPM) is then used to follow up on the output of the WC meeting so that decisions can be finalized when the EC meets face-to-face at the PPM.

For those of you unfamiliar with the PPM, this is the annual gathering when the Executive Program Committee (EPC) makes the final assignment of a session, room, date, and time to each of the 1,000+ papers accepted for presentation at the M&M meeting. At the end of this meeting, each paper must be accounted for, accepted for presentation, and reviewed to ensure that the data submitted with the paper (title, author names and affiliations) match that of the paper, and that the formatting is in accordance with the M&M guidelines. These latter two activities are coordinated by our Program Guide and Proceedings Editors, respectively. Another major activity at the PPM is the final judging of the M&M Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Awards, which is performed by the Presidents of the Microscopy Society of America (MSA) and the Microanalysis Society (MAS), with the assistance of their Executive Committees and Awards Committee Chairs.

All of these activities are preceded by the work of a much large group of individuals. In the weeks between the C4P deadline and the PPM, the 100 or so M&M symposium organizers review the papers submitted to their symposia, sort them into ordered platform and poster sessions and submit this ordering to the Executive Program Committee. At the same time, the 10 or so members of the Awards Committee are providing preliminary ratings to each of the roughly 250 M&M Scholar Award applicants, and the leaders of the Technologists Forum select the winners of the Professional Technical Staff Awards. Suffice it to say that March consumes a lot of the Society’s volunteer hours!

Finally, let me thank the Society volunteer leaders who have done the heavy lifting this year. Particular thanks go to M&M Program Chair Jay Potts and his Executive Program Committee: Yoosuf Picard, Vice-Chair; Katherine Crispin, MAS Co-Chair; and Michael Moody, Co-Chair for the International Field Emission Society (IFES), who are co-sponsoring the M&M meeting for the first time in 2017. Thanks also to Nestor Zaluzec and Stuart McKernan for their long-standing roles in managing the paper submission process, and are now training our contracted staff at Omnipress to do so! Kudos to Awards Chair Chris Brantner and Tech Forum Caroline Miller for their leadership in rating the M&M awards submissions. And thanks (in advance!) to M&M Program Guide Editor Rich Martens and M&M Proceeding Editor Gail Celio, who now must fashion all of this into our meeting publications.

But I’ll give the final word to Jay, who surprised us with a little bubbly to celebrate yet another successful end to the PPM, with the traditional closing statement:

“We have a meeting!”

Ian M. Anderson President, Microscopy Society of America

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