Every two years at the end of the Wednesday night Business Meeting during the M&M meeting, a new President of the Microanalysis Society takes over the gavel and beads of office. This year in Baltimore it was my honor to receive those ceremonial tokens from Masashi Watanabe. When I joined MAS in 2005, the thought of one day leading the society was not even remotely on my mind. I joined because I was asked, by two colleagues whom I knew and respected as experts in materials analysis. Like many in the microscopy community even today, at that time I was honestly a little confused about the different roles played by MAS and our sister society, MSA. But my colleagues needed a new addition to the MAS tour speaker roster, and they thought FIB-enabled coordinated TEM and SIMS analysis of supernova stardust was just the thing to interest the local societies. So I said, “Yes.”
Thirteen years later, the role of MAS in the microscopy and microanalysis community is much clearer to me. MAS is first and foremost a community of problem solvers. We are diverse in our backgrounds, with degrees in materials science, geology, physics, chemistry, biology and more. We are diverse in the employment sector, hailing from universities, industrial laboratories, national labs, and commercial vendor corporations. We are united by our common goal of solving materials problems through microanalysis. Our wealth of expertise was prominently on display at this year’s M&M Plenary session, where for the first time MAS inducted society Fellows. There we honored 28 Legends who, over the first fifty years of the society’s history, pioneered the methods we now all rely on for our microanalysis solutions: WDS, EDS, XRF, SIMS, EELS, FIB and more. Imagine for a moment trying to solve a problem in catalysis, or microelectronics, or art conservation, or planetary materials or pharmaceutical development without applying at least one of those techniques. The ability to obtain answers and provide solutions for materials problems across so many disciplines and applications is exactly our strength and purpose as a society.
Looking to the future, the prospects for the Microanalysis Society over the next fifty years are strong. Our membership numbers are growing (over 550), and our financial position is robust (over $500K in assets). This year MAS leadership will focus on providing even better value to our current and future members. We will expand popular initiatives, such as the Meal with a Mentor Lunch, which brings senior society members to together with student members to discuss microanalysis career options over lunch following the M&M Plenary Session. We will modernize our member communications with more extensive social media outreach, a modern website, and easier “one-stop-shopping” member renewal on the joint MAS-MSA member portal. I hope that each member finds more ways to be engaged with MAS that fit their individual goals and expertise, whether through contributing to microanalysis-focused symposia at M&M, participating in a Topical Conference (QMA-2019!), applying for a Goldstein Scholar Early Career Fellowship, or even serving as a host and mentor to Goldstein Scholar. MAS is a society of problem solvers, and each member is part of the solution. Thank you to all those who have contributed to making MAS as vibrant a community as it is today. I look forward to seeing you in Portland next summer, if not before.
Rhonda M. Stroud