Volume 36 Number 3 | June 2022
Beth Warning, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM, AHI(AMT), ASCLS Region IV Director
How do you begin to explain the community found within ASCLS? When I first became active in the Society in 2001, I joined at the request of my employer to be eligible for reduced registration at the Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC). I wasn’t expecting that joining ASCLS would turn into more than 20 years of professional involvement, much less a position on the ASCLS Board of Directors.
Members often state that one of the best benefits of ASCLS is the networking, building relationships, and turning friends into family. Indulge me for a few minutes as I share a story to help convey the community of family and friends I found in ASCLS.
In 2014, my youngest daughter joined the high school archery team. Pretty cool, right? Except for the initial cost of the supplies needed to participate. And to make things even more challenging, she needed a left-handed bow. As a single mom on a budget, I did what everyone else does and turned to Craigslist.
Immediately I found what I was looking for—a left-handed, NASP bow, with case, and arrows. Best of all, it was priced at nearly half of what it would cost if I purchased it new at the local sporting goods store. The downside was that the seller was in Richmond, Kentucky, about 80 miles away. Where in the world would I find time before the next archery meet to drive three hours round trip?
My mind began churning—who do I know in Richmond? The lightbulb moment! I reached out to my colleague at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), fellow ASCLS member Phil Campbell. The text messages and phone calls were fast and furious. How close is this to you? Can you reach out to the seller to make arrangements? How can I get the money to you fast? Can you cover it until I send the check (Venmo wasn’t what it is now)?
Okay, step one: Phil was making the arrangements with the seller to get the bow at a handoff in the Walmart parking lot in Richmond. Great! He texted when the deal was made. I (sort of) had a lefthanded bow in Richmond for my daughter. I still had that obstacle of getting it from Richmond to Independence in a short timeframe. As luck would have it, another colleague, Linda Gorman, then an MLS professor at the University of Kentucky (UK), was traveling to Northern Kentucky for a recruitment event. She was even going to stay at my house to save on hotel expenses. Great! Now to get the bow from EKU in Richmond to UK in Lexington.
Believe it or not, Phil Campbell is married to Kim Campbell, who was teaching in the MLS program at UK. So, Phil gives the bow to Kim at home to take to work at UK, who gives it to Linda in Lexington, who will bring the bow to my house in Independence, Kentucky, when she visits later in the week for a recruitment event. How in the world did the stars align in order for this to happen? I owe it all to my ASCLS connections!
I used the term colleague, but is that the best choice of words? My colleagues are educators, bench techs, ASCLS and Kentucky Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (KSCLS) members, but above all, they are friends. There is a fuzzy line between ASCLS colleagues and community. A community supports you when you need it, a community has your back, a community celebrates with you—good times and bad—a community listens and offers suggestions. I can without a doubt identify moments when each of these happened during my tenure in ASCLS.
In thinking on what I value in the ASCLS community, a few things come to mind. First and foremost is the building of authentic relationships. Friends in my ASCLS community are as dear to me as family. Who else can you call and say, “Can I bum a room when I am in town?” Or who, besides your ASCLS friends, would you select to share an eight-and-a-half-hour drive to Washington, D.C., in a rented van to attend the Annual Meeting? Or when, on more than one occasion, are you willing to a share a room with three or more ASCLS friends at a national or state meeting and behave like teenagers at a sleep over? What can be better than tagging on sightseeing in the various host cities during meetings and exploring new adventures with ASCLS friends at SeaWorld, Disneyland, Epcot, Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, the ski train in Denver, or the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky?
As a single mom, attending face-to-face meetings was a way for me to recharge—not just professionally, but also mentally in sharing time, conversation, and laughter with friends.
It was my ASCLS community who jumped in and hung out with (or provided a watchful eye on) my four pre-teens who I brought along to the conference under the guise of “family vacation.” And where but in my ASCLS community would I have friends not just from around Kentucky but from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and, well, basically from every state? How else would I have scored a guest lecturer from California for my Intro to MLS class (nod here to Justin Hanenberg—thanks again, friend!)?
Sure, we have the common thread of involvement in ASCLS, or of being educators or laboratory scientists in hematology or chemistry but we have formed a social network within our ASCLS community, a bond initiated by being involved in a professional society that has evolved into friendship and extended family.
That’s my ASCLS story. Oh, and my daughter, the archer? In 2018, her senior year, she and her teammates won the Archery State Championship, with the help of that Craigslist bow. By the way, I have a red, left-handed bow, with case and arrows, in my garage. If you know of anyone who is looking for one, let’s connect!
Beth Warning is the Associate Professor and Campus Based MLS Program Director at the University of Cincinnati.
KSCLS Members attending CLEC 2012. Back row from left: Dan Golemboski, Ismail El Amouri, and Karen Golemboski. Front row from left: Sue Noblitt, Trish Wynd, Kim Campbell, Beth Warning, Linda Gorman, and Phil Campbell.
“In thinking on what I value in the ASCLS community, a few things come to mind. First and foremost is the building of authentic relationships.”