President's Corner: Adaptation

Alvin Simmons, Ph.D.

Alvin Simmons, Ph.D.

April 1, 2020

I hope that you and your families are safe and well. It seems quite surreal how dramatically our lives have changed in a short span of time. Three months ago, I mentioned in the President’s Corner that our Society has seen quite a bit of change since it was founded and that it is essential for us to continue to adapt to scientific and societal changes for the benefit of our profession. Although I did not envision the timing, nature, or magnitude of the challenges that are now affecting our work, schools, and everyday lives, it is certain that people are the strength of our Society. 

ESA leaders, volunteers, and members within our Branches and Society as a whole, along with our headquarters staff, are responding to unprecedented circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic. I extend a big “thank you” for all that you have done and continue to do on behalf of our Society. We continue to be entomologists while our lives are disrupted in profound ways. 

In response to this pandemic, most of us are spending extensive time at home and are remotely engaged in diverse entomological activities. Although some aspects of entomology are conducive for working from home (e.g., outreach via social media and writing or reviewing manuscripts), others are not (e.g., arthropod sampling or running samples on specialized laboratory equipment). Nevertheless, although we hope this pandemic will only be with us for a short time, we must adapt to these challenges so that we can continue to move forward. We will move forward, even if our work and personal calendars and priorities may need adjustment. As a vibrant 21st century Society, we are compelled to continually explore ways to enhance our profession.

In the environment of our current challenges, we remain aligned with the Entomology 2020 theme “Entomology for All.” For example, our science still faces diverse issues associated with arthropod pests and pathogens, climate change, and invasive arthropods. Stakeholders still need us. We still need collective expertise and resources to solve major entomological problems. Many doors to physical classrooms around the world are temporarily closed, but we still need to educate the next generation of our profession. 

With a special election for the ESA Vice President-Elect position that is set to open next week, you will each have an opportunity to share in the direction of our Society by voting for the candidate of your choice. The program committee is diligently putting together an exciting, premier program for our Annual Meeting in November. Once the oral and poster paper submissions open in two weeks, you and others in the scientific community will have an opportunity to help shape our 2020 Annual Meeting by submitting a paper.

As you engage in diverse entomological endeavors, please keep safe and well.

Alvin M. Simmons, Ph.D., FRES
President, Entomological Society of America
Charleston, South Carolina

Read past editions of President's Corner.