Celebrating International Volunteer Day 2023 with our Society Champions

Posted on December 5, 2023   by Microbiology Society

5 December 2023 is International Volunteer Day and it’s a great opportunity for us to revisit and highlight the many activities that Microbiology Society volunteers have participated in over the past year. We would particularly like to show appreciation to our Champions, who have generously given their time to promote microbiology and the Society in their local areas. 

This year, Champions have contributed to the Society in many different ways. They have attended events on our behalf; organised their own events; taken part in interviews and written blogs. They have also played a vital role in the Society’s focus on equality, diversity and inclusion by providing content for awareness days and organising social events for members of our community from historically marginalised groups. 

Below, you can find out more about why some of our Champions decided to join the Scheme and what they get out of it.

Arindam Mitra - head image
© Apabrita Mitra Banerjee

“Being a Society Champion provides me with an opportunity to engage with public and student communities, creating awareness about the crucial role that microbes play. Being a Society Champion for several years has enabled me to organise both local and international events in my university, such as: workshops, seminars, webinars and popular hands-on activities in microbiology. As well as being a Champion, I have volunteered as an editor of Access Microbiology and more recently as an editorial board member of Microbiology Today, the flagship magazine of the Microbiology Society. Furthermore, I am currently serving on the Society’s Members Panel and Sustainability Committee. I have also served as a grant and book reviewer for the Society. Additionally, I had the chance to present a scientific poster and co-Chair a scientific session at the Annual Conference 2023, held in Birmingham, UK. I feel it is a privilege to be a part of this fantastic organisation and I am happy to volunteer for the Society in meaningful and sustainable ways.” Arindam Mitra (Adamas University, India)  

Ruth MacLaren at her event in 2023
© Ruth MacLaren

"Choosing to be a Microbiology Society Champion provides me with a credible platform to deliver engaging microbiology outreach activities that foster a deeper connection between the public and the microbial world. I've led a few microbiology events for children and families, with the most recent being at the Somerscience Science Festival in Somerset, UK. My activity was supported by the Microbiology Society, who also sent me plenty of their comics, badges and other goodies that I gave out to our visitors. We wanted to ignite curiosity in kids and their families with an activity they can share and enjoy together. We set up a large microscopy stand with a lot of familiar things they could look at under our microscopes. We also took our industrial teaching microscope (very heavy but worth the effort) so youngsters could see microscopic organisms up close, such as a human head louse - yuck! It was hugely popular with a constant supply of families keen to explore with the children.” Ruth MacLaren (Sciencedipity, UK) 

Image of Sudarshan Vishvani
© Sudarshan Vishvani

''To be a part of the global microbiology community, I became a member of the Microbiology Society. I was able to attend my first conference and presented my first poster presentation about my first outreach project, as an undergraduate. It was my first step towards research and soon I had the backing of the Microbiology Society to co-Chair my first session at an international conference. Having belonged to several societies in the past, I have discovered that the Microbiology Society is the most active in connecting with its members and providing possibilities for growth and assistance, especially for scientists in their early careers. I am proud to be a Champion of the Society, whilst being an undergraduate at an early phase of my life.” Sudarshan Vishvani (Coventry University, UK) 

Michael Ukwuru head image
© Michael Ukwuru

"I joined the Microbiology Society because I believe in the power of scientific exploration and its potential to improve lives. Together, we can unravel the mysteries of the microbial world and make groundbreaking discoveries. Being a Champion/volunteer means being a catalyst for change. It means going beyond the boundaries of our individual pursuits and working selflessly towards a common goal. It's about fostering a sense of community, inspiring others, and leaving a positive legacy for future generations. I decided to participate in this activity because I believe that scientific progress is not confined only to laboratories. By engaging with the broader community, we can bridge the gap between science and society, fostering understanding and appreciation for the incredible world of microorganisms.” Michael Ukwuru (The Federal Polytechnic Idah, Nigeria) 

Karla Ortiz in the lab
© Karla Ortiz

"Being a member of the Microbiology Society has been a great opportunity to share with both undergraduate and graduate students, parts of the research carried out in the laboratory, with the aim of bringing scientific knowledge to the broader public. Furthermore, by being a Champion we contribute to combating misinformation, sharing experiences and knowledge that can be a source of inspiration for young people to awaken their interest in studying science and technology careers.” Karla Ortiz (Chapingo Autonomous University, Mexico) 

Guillermo Pérez Esteban in the lab
© Guillermo Pérez Esteban

"Being a Microbiology Society Champion is an enjoyable adventure, allowing us to interact with students and other faculty who are passionate about microbiology. I became a Champion because I love showing that microbiology is a determining subject in agribusiness, medicine and agriculture. I believe that if we share and guide our experiences, our colleagues will have greater vision and a better approach to conducting research.” Guillermo Pérez Esteban (Chapingo Autonomous University, Mexico) 




Thank you again to all of our Champions, as well as volunteer members who sit on Council, Committees, Panels, Divisions and Boards, for their continued support of the Society. 

If you would like to get involved and become a Microbiology Society Champion or take part in other various opportunities, have a look at our Get Involved page. Alternatively, you can email us via [email protected]

Thumbnail image credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio