Anatomy Now

August 2019

Be a Volunteer. It Can Be Rewarding!

When I joined the American Association of Anatomists (now the American Association for Anatomy) as a postdoctoral fellow a number of years ago, the last thing that I thought of was serving as Secretary-Treasurer of the AAA. My Ph.D. degree was in Zoology and it was happenstance that I was starting postdoctoral work in a Department of Anatomy. However, as a I reflect on my career now, the path that has led to where I am today—teaching histology and embryology in a medical school, studying blood vessel development, and serving as Secretary-Treasurer of the AAA—began with my first experiences at AAA meetings.

There I was introduced to the first members of a network of colleagues that has grown over the years and has played important roles in my path to where I am now. I was recruited to my first faculty position by one those colleagues. Others encouraged me to organize symposia for the annual meetings. Many have inspired me with their research, provided insights into how they teach, and shared their experiences as faculty members. Many have also become good friends, and all have made the AAA a welcoming professional home for me.

When I was asked by a colleague and former mentor if I would be interested in chairing the Journal Trust Fund Investment Committee for the AAA, I decided it was an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and become actively engaged in an association that has helped me with my career. I accepted the offer and I am glad that I did. During the three years that I chaired the committee, I not only received a good education from investment experts, but also had the opportunity to engage with leadership at Board meetings, learn about governance, and be exposed to a professional environment outside my academic world. It gave me confidence that I too could play a role in keeping the AAA alive and vibrant, and introduced me to many talented and visionary folks with strong leadership skills from whom I could learn.

Because of this experience, I wanted to stay engaged. Now that I am Secretary-Treasurer, I look forward to taking on new challenges, new responsibilities, learning new skills, and working with other Board members to ensure that the AAA is a welcoming, active, and strong professional organization dedicated to its members.

Volunteering my time to the AAA has been stimulating and rewarding and I often wish that I had become involved earlier. For this reason, I say to anyone who wants to contribute to the AAA: don’t wait. Dive in and take advantage of the many volunteer opportunities available to members. You never know where the experience will lead, but I am confident that you too will find it rewarding.


Bryon Grove, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Director of Imaging Core Facility, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and AAA Secretary-Treasurer