Biophysical Society Bulletin | October 2019

President’s Message

Lead Your Society The results from our Biophysical Society (BPS) member survey indicated that we need to be more transparent in our operations and decision making. Many members commented that the Society appears to be run by a select group of “insiders.” These survey results and comments certainly got the attention of Council, which is the

institutions. We are hopeful that this number will continue to increase, and applications for new Chapters are accepted each year. The main avenues for more extensive interactions are through the Society’s Committees, which are filled with members who have a strong desire and commitment to strengthen the bio- physics community. Committees plan and execute program- ming for the Annual Meeting and Biophysics Week and some also run other activities during the year. Most Committees recruit new members every year, and are especially trying to attract international and early career members and working to achieve diversity. One of the core elements of our strategic plan is Sharing Knowledge in and about Biophysics , which is led by the Ed- ucation Committee. This Committee creates and provides resources to educate members and the general public about biophysics, and facilitates the Undergraduate Poster Award Competition at the Annual Meeting. They also coordinate judges for local science fairs, and they are always looking for volunteer judges. The Membership Committee develops plans to attract and retain members. They host events to give members an opportunity to interact with Society leadership, and sponsor mini-grants for networking events all around the world. Our Public Affairs Committee supports public outreach and education, and guides Society responses, as appropri- ate, to matters of public policy that impact on biophysics and biophysicists. This Committee has traditionally focused on US federal funding, but is now reaching out much more interna- tionally, and is looking for more input from other countries. Our new Ambassador Program is one way we are engaging biophysics leaders across the globe in their local Public Affairs (https:/ The Society also has three Committees focused on devel- oping and running programs tailored to meet the needs of our diverse membership: the Early Careers Committee, the Committee for Inclusion and Diversity (CID), and the Commit- tee for Professional Opportunities for Women (CPOW). These Committees work together on activities throughout the year, and each maintains its focus to ensure we are serving all of our members. As the name suggests, the Early Careers Com- mittee works to guide and promote the involvement of early career (graduate student, postdoctoral, or newly independent scientist) members in the Society. CID focuses on foster- ing a community for and enhancing the visibility and career opportunities of underrepresented biophysicists. CPOW leads a number of important programs designed to promote the advancement and retention of women in biophysics, foster professional communities among women, and improve the climate for women in biophysics. The amount of work done

David. W. Piston

elected body charged with stewardship of the Society. The message that those of us in leadership would like to send is quite the opposite! We are always looking for new people, both newer and long-standing members, to help lead the Society. Towards this goal, I will describe briefly some import- ant opportunities where members can get involved and make a big impact in helping lead the Society. A great way to start working in the Society is through the Subgroups. Currently, there are 15 different Subgroups that give members the opportunity to meet and interact in smaller groups within focused research areas. The Subgroups hold scientific symposia and business meetings on the first Saturday of the Annual Meeting. The Subgroup leaders are listed on the Society website and are happy to help you get involved. I know from experience that Subgroups are often looking for help in judging the Student Research Achievement Awards (SRAA) Poster Competition, which is an important part of the Society’s commitment to the next generation of biophysicists. Membership in one Subgroup is included in BPS dues, and many of the current Council members began their Society leadership through the Subgroups. Beyond the Subgroups, the Annual Meeting offers numerous ways to get involved. Every year, the Program Committee sends out a call to members for symposia and workshop sug- gestions, and generally about a quarter of the symposia come from member suggestions. We also try to maintain an active social media presence during the Annual Meeting, so we are always looking for members to blog, tweet, and post to Ins- tagram. The official BPS Blog has been a great way for new members to get involved and known. I have met many of our members, especially students, through Twitter and Instagram over the last couple of years. The Society has launched new opportunities for student involvement and leadership through Student Chapters around the world. This program aims to encourage student interest in biophysics and promote biophysics as a discipline. Over the last few years, students have come together to start nearly 30 Chapters, some within a single institution, and others as regional Chapters that include multiple, neighboring

October 2019



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