Communication + Outreach + Leadership = ASCB Ambassador

The ASCB wants to create new opportunities for members’ participation. Currently, most members participate by attending the Annual Meeting, where they present exciting new data, develop collaborations, and learn more about cell biology. However, this is not the only thing the ASCB offers to its members. The ASCB organizes multiple events and activities during the whole year, and we need people to know about them.

With this objective in mind, the Committee for Students and Postdocs (COMPASS) decided to revamp an existing ASCB program to increase the participation of students and postdocs in ASCB activities and we added some important elements that make it more engaging and exciting to ASCB members. It is our pleasure to introduce the new ASCB Ambassador program!

The ambassador program was created in 2011-2012 as a way for ASCB members to volunteer as communication agents, forwarding information about ASCB events and programs to internal institutional emails. This is an important role: It is vital to spread the news about our Society, to break the idea that scientific societies just work for their Annual Meetings. Our Society has multiple events / opportunities / activities during the whole year, and engaging members in these events is key to a vibrant ASCB. The new ambassador program considers the communication role of the ambassador a very important one. In these times of smart phones, tablets and social media, a tweet, a Facebook post, an Instagram picture or a Vine microvideo can have as much power as a newsletter or an e-mail. And we need agents to actively add a cell biology flavor in these outlets, all over the world.

In addition, ASCB ambassadors will also have an important role in outreach activities that will be implemented soon by the outreach subcommittee of COMPASS (a flavor of what is coming can be found in How Can We Let Them Know?, published in August). Activities such as sponsoring school visits to labs, scientists visiting schools, and ASCB member participation as science fair judges are examples of activities that we expect ambassadors to be engaged in. Outreach is an important activity to “show” society what we do as scientists.

Ambassadors will be also involved in activities regarding members’ feedback, in the form of questionnaires, polls, surveys, and focus groups in order to track the profile of ASCB students and postdocs, and to determine what the people we represent request from our committee. Stay tuned for more details about this.

Are you an enthusiastic ASCB member, willing to use your communication abilities through emails and social media, to be your Society’s voice in your institution? Are you ready to be a science outreach agent? If so, please visit us at the COMPASS Open Forum during the Annual Meeting in New Orleans to sign in as an ambassador. Or you can sign up by emailing Christina Szalinski. It is a voluntary activity open to all ASCB members; we just need your academic information / affiliation and a short statement explaining why you want to be an ambassador. We currently have 52 ambassadors and you can be the next one.

We hope to see you in 10 days. Welcome ambassadors!

About the Author:

Bruno Da Rocha-Azevedo is a Senior Staff Scientist in the Department of Biophysics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Bruno studies the spatiotemporal dynamics of endothelial cell receptors using single-molecule imaging. He was one of the founding members of COMPASS, and co-chair during 2015-2016. Bruno was the founder and co-chair of the LGBTQ+ taskforce (now Committee) and currently is a member. He is a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce. He volunteered on the ASCB 5-year strategic plan, helping on creating the guidelines for further democratizing the society by ensuring leadership and decision making reflect the broad range of the membership and their interests and priorities E-mail: Twitter: @brunodra

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