The Microscopy & Microanalysis meeting is the largest annual microscopy conference and exhibition in the world. Yet the Microscopy Society of America and the Microanalysis Society organize the event largely through volunteers. To produce an interesting program each year involves the work of dozens of volunteer pre-meeting congress organizers, workshop instructors, and symposium chairs, some of whom may have proposed topics a year or more in advance of the meeting. These individuals seek speakers, review submitted papers, and organize platform presentations and poster sessions into interesting events. The Symposium Chairs comprise the Program Committee, led by the Program Chair and various Co-Chairs from societies joining in the meeting. To keep balance among the topics presented, the scientific discipline of the Program Chair alternates each year between life sciences and physical sciences. All program planning activities, including production of the Proceedings and the scheduling of sessions, are accomplished primarily by our volunteers. While procedures and best practices have been developed over 75 years of organizing annual technical conferences, it is still a remarkable volunteer effort. By way of full disclosure, some people have been contributing to this enterprise annually for over 20 years.
Publications are another area where volunteers play a significant role. In addition to the M&M meeting Proceedings (this year will be the 51st edition), the peer-reviewed journal Microscopy and Microanalysis and the technical magazine Microscopy Today also operate editorial offices staffed largely with volunteer editors and editorial board members. These publications also benefit from volunteer reviewers representing a wide range of disciplines.
While volunteer efforts in meetings and publications are typically initiated by invitation, there are several other committees where volunteers can (actually) volunteer. For MSA, volunteers give their time to the Education Committee, Student Council, International Committee, Membership Committee, Standards Committee, Focused Interest Groups, the Technologists’ Forum, and others. It should also be noted that all Council members for both MSA and MAS are long-time society volunteers who have contributed many hours to several of the activities listed above and to the current governance of the Societies.
To get involved with MSA, contact the Committee Chair of your choice at www.microscopy.org by clicking on “Committees” under “About.” For MAS, committee chairs can be found at www.microbeamanalysis.org. Click on “Committee chairs” under “Leadership.” We sincerely hope you will be our next society volunteer.