Dr Lesley Warner was the President of the Australian Society for Parasitology in 1997. Below she reflects on the importance of the Australian Society of Parasitology to her career.

Reflections on the ASP

I have been a member of the ASP since 1973 and attended my first conference in Adelaide that same year. At that time I was a keen PhD student in the then “parasitologically rich” academic environment of Adelaide, but I was also encouraged by my supervisors to develop a broader experience of the disciplines of parasitology through attending ASP meetings. In those earlier days the meetings were relatively small friendly affairs which provided ideal opportunities for getting to know other members. I believe this is now called networking.

My first appointment as a parasitologist in 1981 was to the South Australian Museum to work on the helminthological collection which was begun by T H Johnston at the University of Adelaide and fostered by Pat Mawson and Madeleine Angel, ultimately as honorary curators at the South Australian Museum. As early as 1974 the need for a national collection was raised by members and agreed to as a priority by the ASP. This initiative As the Australian Helminthological Collection the collection has expanded over the years and is now staffed by a research scientist and collection manager. With the continuing support and sponsorship of the Society in its home in the South Australian Museum the AHC continues to grow and to provide a useful and well used resource for parasitologists at home and internationally. As I started my parasitology career so shall I end it, at the South Australian museum working on the AHC. In between these milestones I have continued to value the friendships I have made and the collaborations I have entered into as a result of my participation in the Society.

My career path led me to an isolated outpost of academia in Central Queensland (the region people fly over on their way to Townsville and Cairns). I have valued the opportunity to meet with colleagues, catch up on the latest trends, discuss projects and get an annual dose of parasitology gossip at each conference I have attended. I have welcomed the introduction of a newsletter and valued it as a source of information, both formal and informal. Without the ASP my professional life would have been much the poorer.

I have never regretted my decision to join the society and the benefits I have received have far outweighed any costs I may have had. I have a wealth of happy memories and the satisfaction of knowing that my career would not have progressed the way it has if I had not become a member.