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Discussion with the ASHS President
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President Louise Ferguson is interested in feedback from ASHS Members. Please read the following article and provide any feedback in the form at the bottom of the page.

Reflections August 2020

Louise Ferguson

ASHS President


Reflection" is derived from the Latin reflectere, with the prefix  re-, "back," and flectere, to bend." So "Reflection" is physically bending something back. Your image in the Zoom attendee panel on the computer screen, is, however circuitously, light waves bending your image back at you.

Reflection is also a thought process, often precipitated by change, particularly unexpected change. In August 2019 I asked newly installed ASHS President Dennis Ray what his focus would be as president. He replied, "I would like to work on improving the Annual Conference." In his final "Reflections" column Dennis anticipated the multiple advantages of our first virtual Annual Conference. His predictions were prescient. Our Annual Conference was a great success due to the ASHS staff's and our membership's willingness to follow Dennis' philosophy of "...rolling, even running, with the punches."

The events of this year also helped me define my goals as your incoming President.  My first goal will be to follow Dennis’ lead in improving our Annual Conference experience.  I would like to work with the ASHS Board of Directors, staff and our members to incorporate the best features of a virtual and in-person Annual Conference in Denver in 2021. 

Dennis’ final “Reflections” presciently predicted what virtual meeting advantages made the 2020 Annual Conference so successful.  The ability to conduct business and committee meetings before the conference left more time for presentations and discussion. The ability to access the internet for websites and videos within a presentation. The ability to revisit any presentation and discussion as often as you like, with a link to contact presenters or discussants privately. The ability to freely share presentations and discussions as links with those outside our membership after a year. I, personally, would like to remove the year waiting period.

Information is only as good as it shared, examined, and implemented.  The ability to use the recorded presentations as presentation training tools, for class and meeting presentations and as links in employment and grant applications. The ability of our commercial participants to mount a truly comprehensible demonstration of the how to use their equipment and its advantages.   In summary, just as our open-access journals give us better global visibility, our new meeting format does the same, and even more.   

In Denver in 2021 we hope to maximize the advantages of a virtual meeting, explore others, and combine it with the in-person events, tours, and personal interactions that are always among the best memories from meetings.   My graduate school memories of meeting Dr. Martin J. Bukovac from Michigan State University and being tongue-tied and too afraid to discuss my research in front of him are still vivid.  And my friends and I still laugh about the bus tour through the endless Sonoma Desert in Mexico when the bus bathroom broke down during a siege of Montezuma’s revenge. We hope to have a 2021 Denver Annual Conference that makes more meeting memories like these without ever carrying, and leaving, a poster tube on the plane again.

For my second goal, I want to work with improving our Endowment Fund’s ability to support student Annual  Conference participation and award early career achievement.  ASHS played a pivotal role in my graduate school training and my successful career.  As successful members of ASHS it is our obligation to enable our younger members to achieve the same successes.

For my third goal I want to work with the Board of Directors to develop an ASHS Leadership Training Program for early career members to become more effective leaders and spokespersons in their work, professional societies, and in interaction with our local, state and federal governments.

In my next two “Reflections” I will present my plans for my last two goals.  I welcome your input and look forward to seeing everybody in Denver in 2021.

Contact me at or provide feedback in the form below.

1018 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703.836.4606