Volume 35 Number 5 | October 2021

Claude Rector, MA, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCLS Region VII Director

ASCLS Board of Directors in showerIn 1979 the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series over the Baltimore Orioles. During their championship season, the Pirates had a team motto: “We Are Family.” The motto was borrowed from a song of the same title recorded by the group named Sister Sledge. During the summer of 1979, my aunt, who lived in Pittsburgh, gave me a pillbox styled Pittsburgh Pirate cap. This would be the deciding factor for an 11-year-old boy to adopt the Pirates as his favorite baseball team. I suggest that ASCLS might need to borrow the same motto: “We Are Family.” I share a few lines from the song.

Living life is fun and we’ve just begun
To get our share of this world’s delights
High hopes we have for the future
And our goal’s in sight
No, we don’t get depressed
Here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won’t go wrong, oh no
This is our family jewel
We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing
-Sister Sledge

Let us remember the date of Saturday, June 26, 2021. It was time for our ASCLS family reunion. Because, you see, it had been two years since we were all physically in the same room together. As with many reunions, there is always that awkward moment when reconnecting, but the Board of Directors found the perfect way to break the ice. There was a wonderful idea to take a group picture in the hotel room’s enormous shower together. The historical photo came with everything including a cold shower of water accidently finding its way onto a few members of the board. My ASCLS family was back together.

“I need my ASCLS family. I would not be in my current professional role without ASCLS.”

Over many years, I have heard the often-repeated question, “Why are you a member of ASCLS?” My answer is simple. I need my ASCLS family. I would not be in my current professional role without ASCLS.

What is the true meaning of family? Call it a true family or a real family—the true family definition is the sense of loyalty, selflessness, love, and genuine care and concern for the others.

I joined the ASCLS family in 2008. My first introduction occurred in Savannah, Georgia, at the Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC). I was there to learn how to be a better program director for my phlebotomy and MLT programs. Little did I know that I had entered the perfect family for my professional development.

Professional development refers to continuing education and career training after a person has entered the workforce in order to help them develop new skills, stay up to date on current trends, and advance their career. ASCLS provides such opportunities for professional development. I think you would have a hard time finding a member of ASCLS that would disagree with that statement.

Flashback to my introduction to ASCLS at CLEC. Here are the titles of the many presentations that I attended back in 2008.

  • “Levels of Practice in the Clinical Laboratory Profession: Report of the Interassociation Levels of Practice Task Force”
  • “Game Theory: Resources for Learning and Teaching Strategy”
  • “Legislative Update”
  • “Globalization and Service Learning in the Clinical Laboratory Science Classroom”
  • “How Can We Teach It When We Don’t Do It?”
  • “911 for New Program Directors”
  • “Hematology Teaching Strategies: What Works and What Does Not”
  • “Using Rubrics for Evaluating Student Performance and Laboratory Skills”
  • “Reading is Fundamental: Ideas on How to Get Our Students to Read the Textbooks and Articles That We Want”
  • “Building Mastery: Bringing Honor to Yourself and Your Profession Even on the Bad Days”

I hope a few of the presenters recognize their presentation titles. Thank you all! After attending your CLEC presentations, I became a lifelong member of the ASCLS family.

Claude Rector is Assistant Professor, Medical Microbiology/Clinical Immunology & Serology, in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas.