Letter from the President

Hello ASH Members and Friends,

A busy and wonderful autumn is fast approaching! We held another excellent ASH quarterly meeting out at the International Wildlife Museum in Tucson on July 25th- it was so much fun, and a big thanks again to Safari Club International for helping us with such a cool venue for our members, Sharon Dial, Judy Pugh, and Beth Sheppard for leading excellent workshops, and to NSH Region VII Director Jane Parr for coming all the way from Colorado to attend. This quarterly also hosted our annual general membership meeting, where we discussed several issues and ideas around our membership format, the frequency of our meetings, Histotechnology programs past, present, and future, and the overall direction of our field. I appreciate the efforts and feedback from those of you that participated in the meeting, and the meeting minutes are included further into this edition of the newsletter. The discussion at the general membership meeting was valuable, but it was really only a starting off point- we still need to hear from the rest of you as to what membership and meeting formats work best for you. I realize that the quarterly meetings are an asset in many ways, providing multiple educational opportunities throughout the year, and lending the platform to build a sense of community; however, the frequency of these meetings presents a great challenge to the officers charged with planning them, as it means as soon as one meeting wraps, work has to begin on the next one immediately, if it hasn’t already- it means being in a perpetual planning state, which is daunting for volunteer officers who have full time jobs and families too, and I often can’t help but wonder if that’s why we don’t have more people willing to step into active roles within the society. I’ve also heard numerous complaints over the years about it being confusing that we alternate years- odd years we do quarterly meetings, even years we do just one, big annual summer symposium; and people also seem to find our membership term of May 31st-June 1st, as opposed to syncing with the new year, confusing.

Many members made good suggestions at the meeting- one person suggested going to a twice a year frequency for our meetings, with no alternating year format; others of us have been thinking it might be beneficial to go to a big annual meeting every year, which is standard among most of the state societies- the benefits of going to a big annual are that much of the burden of the cost and planning can be shared by vendor partners who are happy to participate in bigger, higher attendance events. There is also the happy medium of holding to a big annual meeting, and holding other meetings as opportunities to do so arise, but not obligating us to those additional meetings. Whatever the best decision may be, it really needs to come from all of us; please visit the ASH Facebook page that VP Bridget Maryott brilliantly set up, or feel free to email any of the officers with your two cents.

Last but certainly not least at our ASH meeting, we presented our dear former President, Vice President, Secretary, everything, Ethel Macrea, the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. It was my great honor and pleasure to present this to someone as dedicated and accomplished as Ethel, whom has recently retired after over 40 spectacular years in the field. Ethel helped so many fellow Histotechnology professionals during her career, I included, and while she will be sorely missed, she most definitely deserves a happy and peaceful retirement. We unfortunately had no other awards to present, as no submissions/nominations were received; please remember that you can nominate yourself, a friend, a co-worker- this is free money for any Histotechnology professional who deserves some recognition and needs it 

The annual NSH Symposium also took place recently in Washington, D.C. I was fortunate to attend and enjoyed excellent workshops in several aspects of our field, and meeting and chatting with fellow professionals and old friends. I want to thank VP Bridget Maryott, Bill De Salvo, Aprill Wattanabe, and Karen Lahti for serving in the House of Delegates as representatives of Arizona with me, and our other officers and members who attended the Regional and Membership meetings as well- thank you all for taking time out during your trip to Washington to participate in these important, strategic planning events, as they are largely what guide the direction our societies as supporting structures take.

I think we are at a critical time right now- there is continuing speculation on and allusions to what the influx of emerging technology and ever-increasing automation hold for the future of our field, and we are also at somewhat of a changing of the guard (so to speak), with many whom have been in the field for as long as anyone can remember retiring, and a fairly limited supply of newer people trying to come into the fold. I encourage you all to engage and get more involved in what’s going on around us; as with most things in life, our field is what we make of it.

Okay, I know I’ve said a lot and I apologize for the length of my piece here. The last bit is that we have another ASH quarterly meeting coming up on Saturday, November 7th at Sonora Quest in Tempe, and our annual summer symposium will likely be held July 22nd, 23rd, and 24th in 2016; please pencil these in and look for more details to come, and I hope to see you all at our next meeting.

Kind Regards,

Kate Bolt ASH President