HAPS Leadership (#14): Animal Use Committee

Last year, during the annual HAPS conference in Las Vegas, I was checking out the exhibit hall between seminar presentations.  It was the second full day of the conference – Monday – and you could feel an amazing electricity in the crowd.  I spotted Nick Despo, chair of the Animal Use Committee, sitting off the side.  He was out of breath, but laughing, as we made eye contact.  I came up and asked what was so funny.

Talk to Nick about the great posters that his group have presented at recent conferences.
Talk to Nick about the great posters that his group have presented at recent conferences.

“It’s always such a hoot to see the First-Timers get into the Scavenger Hunt.  I just spent the last few minutes, helping a group of First-Timers run Eric Sun to ground.  We cornered him over by the coffee stand and pinned him down for autographs.  I saw a couple of Regional Directors on the other side of the room and sent the First-Timers after them.  I’m just catching my breath before the next big onslaught of people with cards to sign.”

 The Scavenger Hunt is a tradition that we – the HAPS Steering Committee – developed in 2007 and have enjoyed every year since.  First-Timers get a card listing almost all of the HAPS Committees and their Chairs.  The goal is to get all of the Chairs to sign your card, as well as two fellow First-Timers and your Regional Director.  Once you turn your card into the Steering Committee, it goes into a drawing for the chance to win free conference registration to next year’s annual conference.

“The Scavenger Hunt is such a great idea!  It’s wonderful to see First-Timers collaborate in finding Chairs.  People who might otherwise have trouble meeting people now have a common goal with a hundred others.  Pretty soon, they’re chatting, working together to bring down a Chair, agreeing on a place for lunch, and becoming an integral part of the HAPS family.  Wow!”

Quick, there goes a chair!  You take the left and I'll catch him on the right!
Quick, there goes a chair! You take the left and I’ll catch him on the right!

 Just then, several First Timers see the infamous bulls-eye button on Nick – designating him as a signer – and they rush to him with their cards.  He happily starts telling them about his committee, grabbing cards and telling me to help find the other Chairs who haven’t signed yet.  I grab a few First-Timers and head off after Pat Bowne – Communications Committee – as I hear Nick laughing.

“Welcome to HAPS!  Tell me, what do you know about proper animal use in the lab?”

And so it begins…

For many of you, July 1st may not have been any big deal.  It may have meant you were one day closer to your 4th of July weekend.  Perhaps it was the start of your schools fiscal year, and that miniscule raise the administration had been promising everyone finally came to fruition.  Maybe you remembered you had a car payment to make.

Warren-Harding
Perhaps the worst U.S. President ever. but at least he got a stamp.

For me, July 1st meant the official ‘start’ to my term as President of HAPS.  Gulp.  As President-elect, I spent the last year participating in HAPS Board meetings, taking on additional responsibilities, and learning more about the workings of the organization.  This past year was very helpful for me to learn more about what a good president does and how a good president leads (thanks, Dee!).  Now that it is my time to lead this organization that I hold near and dear to my heart, my thoughts are “Gee, I hope I don’t screw anything up!”  Seriously.  I really don’t want to go down as the president who destroyed HAPS.  Will I become the Warren Harding or Calvin Coolidge of our organization?  Have I just aged myself by mentioning Harding and Coolidge?  Where did I put my keys?  Where was I?  Oh yes, the start of my term as HAPS President.

Roller Coaster
let the ride begin!

As president, I have several goals for HAPS – the first of which is to not mess it up. 🙂  I also want to expand an educational research focus in our organization, both in our meetings and in our publications.  I would like to get more of our HAPS members involved in regional and national meetings.  We have over 1700 members, yet only about 400-500 members attend an annual meeting.  This percentage is actually very good, compared to other organizations, but I want to see it get even better.  Many of our members do not have the funds to travel to an annual meeting, which is why HAPS regional meetings are a great way for people to become involved.  In addition, there are many A&P instructors who still have no idea about HAPS and what we can do to help them in their professional development, so we must do more to make these individuals aware of HAPS.  Just as importantly, I want to ensure that the day-to-day operations of HAPS continue to go smoothly, and hopefully I will handle any crises in stride.

Buckle up your safety belts, and let the ride begin!

Ready for… HAPS 2014? Tell us what you want!

The HAPS 2013 annual conference in Las Vegas had record attendance, and preliminary member survey results indicate that most found the event informative and enjoyable. However, less than a month after the 2013 conference’s end, the HAPS leadership is making plans for the 2014 conference in Jacksonville, FL. The 2014 conference committee co-chairs, Steve Wood and Lourdes Norman-McKay, have already been working for a year on conference details. They’ve already been working with our Management Company and our Executive Director with respect to hotel selection, transportation to and from the school site, and overall organization of the conference. Well, less than a month after HAPS 2013 ended, discussion and planning for HAPS 2014 has sped up. This past week I joined the conversation as we all discussed some specifics, such as the number of rooms that needed to be reserved at the school, the specific social events that need to be planned, and finalizing update speakers.

florida_state_college_jacksonville
The host college for HAPS 2014!

While many of the details are still being worked out, here are a few items I can share with you:
* the organizers are trying to ensure some free time in the evenings, so people will be able to partake the Jacksonville Jazz Festival that is occurring the same weekend
* The ‘fun run’ activity to support the HAPS Foundation likely will be a scavenger hunt, held on Monday morning before the business meeting
* In 2013, we implemented a HAPS social that was free to everyone (instead of a more formal banquet, that required an additional fee). Since we received a great positive response for the Social format, we will continue to hold a Social in 2014.
* Workshop format will be similar to what we had in 2013, with the opportunity for overbooked workshops to be given as ‘second chance’ seminars

It is exciting to see the development of the conference unfold! So please tell me – what do YOU want to see at HAPS 2014? What did you especially like from past conferences that you want to see continue? Is there anything new you’d like us to try? Comment on this post and let’s get this conversation started!

HAPS Conference Wrap-up

Hello HAPSters!

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It was such a pleasure to meet some of you at the HAPS Conference in Vegas! I’d say it was it a definite success (for me, at least); I had a great time! By far, the HAPS organization is one of the friendliest, most knowledgeable, and distinguished organizations I have encountered, and I feel really honored to have been able to attend the conference and collaborate with you all!

I greatly appreciate those of you who attended my workshop! We came up with some great ideas for how HAPS can help high school teachers be more successful, especially in their first year(s), and I’m really looking forward to seeing those ideas implemented (which has already begun)! There is now a Committee for High School Teachers and we have already started chatting and brainstorming about all the directions and

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opportunities our connections with HAPS will take us! Be on the lookout in the near future for more information about how you can help kick-start our group and collaborate with us!

On a separate note, it is with great joy (and maybe just a tinge of sadness) that I tell you it is my LAST week of school! The HAPS Conference was an awesome taste of summer, and now it’s almost here in full force! While I will be teaching summer school, Anatomy and Physiology is not being offered over the summer, so I will be taking a break from blogging for the summer. But not to worry, I’m sure that is not the last you will be seeing/hearing of me! Ha! 🙂

Thank you for reading my blogs and taking an interest in a little ol’ high school teacher in Texas! I look forward to continuing to work with you all in the future and am so excited about the connections I’ve made and knowledge I’ve gained through my first year teaching and through this awesome organization!

6 Days and Counting!

Is anyone else as excited and anxious as I am for the HAPS Annual Conference?! My presentation is almost all squared away, and I get more excited by the day to meet all of you and have a chance to engage in some interesting and fruitful conversations. I hope we can use this week’s post to get each other energized and share some tips for the Conference!420-las-vegas-welcome-sign.imgcache.rev1343400150596

So, HAPS Veterans, tell us…

1. What can we expect from the Conference??

2. Have you had a chance to look over the schedule? What workshops or seminars have you added to your “MUST SEE” list?

3. Will you be presenting? When? Where? Who should go?

4. What are you most looking forward to?

I’ll start the discussion by answering a few of my own questions! 🙂

1. This is my first HAPS Conference! It will also be my first time in Vegas… So if you’re familiar with the area and see me, feel free to scoop me up and show me around!

2. Unfortunately, I will not be able to stay the whole week, but Tuesday alone has plenty of workshops I’m thrilled to attend… Especially the POGIL Workshops to see what activities Murray Jensen and his team will be presenting. I am also really interested in the “Mythbusters of A&P” by Ken Saladin (sounds really neat and helpful!), “Moving A&P Outside of the Classroom” by Sarah Straud (I think I could definitely apply some of these strategies and activities in my own classroom), and the “Case Study Approach to Teaching of Physiology” by Chaya Gopalan. Can’t wait to see what you all have in store for us!

… Speaking of not being able to attend the full Conference… Is there any way to still find out what was discussed during other workshops? Will there be posts, forums, or documents uploaded to the HAPS website or Conference app when it’s all said and done so we can keep the conversations going or see what we missed?

3. I will be presenting on Tuesday, from 9:30-10:30 in DA 110. Anyone who is interested in learning more about my experiences, challenges, and successes of being a High School A&P teacher should attend. I really hope we can collaborate together to strengthen the connections between high school teachers and our university counterparts (you)! 🙂

4. And here’s how I figure out why very general questions don’t always work… There are too many things I’m excited about to decide on just one!

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing you at the Conference!

Conference Preparations!

The HAPS Conference is quickly approaching and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival. I downloaded the app and have started to make note of the presentations and workshops I’d like to attend. If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, go get it from the Apple app store/Android Marketplace (it’s awesome!)

If you look through the presentation options, you will see that, yes, yours truly will be presenting Tuesday morning! 🙂 I am really looking forward to chatting and meeting with you! That being said, this year is full of a lot of “firsts” for me, and this will be my first professional presentation of this calibre. I am sure most of you are very well accustomed to presenting to your colleagues and superiors and am hopeful you have a mental checklist or tips you could share! While I am very familiar with presenting to a group of high school students, I’m afraid my typical engagement and reinforcement tactics may not work on the HAPS audience! (But I could be wrong… How do you feel about stamps, stickers, and perhaps mildly inappropriate jokes?) 🙂

My students will be giving their final presentations shortly after I return from the conference so while this is definitely going to be a learning experience for me, I’m excited to turn it into a teachable moment in which I can share my preparation tips and strategies for giving an important presentation. So, what kinds of things do you look for in a “stellar” presentation? How do you prepare for an important presentation, or what would you recommend to your students? What kinds of questions should I prepare for? And lastly, I would like to include my students as much as possible in this experience (because after all, they’re the reason I’m here), so is there any information or questions you’d be interested in knowing about them before the conference or during my presentation? I plan to chat with them a bit this week about the conference and get their perspective and ideas.

And as this week comes to end, let me be the last to say, HAPPY TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK! You are greatly appreciated for all that you do! Some of my most memorable and formative moments happened with and because of my college professors, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. I hope you all received the recognition you deserve, and again, thank you!