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By Marilyn Morris

Marilyn MorrisRecently, after being promoted to Distinguished Professor at the University at Buffalo, a colleague asked me if this was in my plans. I was taken aback for a moment as I realized that I never had a career plan. This may be pretty surprising to most, especially since I am the past president of AAPS. But even without a plan, I was driven by what I enjoy in my career, and I have tried to stay with that path.

I enjoy research, teaching, and interacting with students and postdocs and other scientists. I think that I am a competent administrator, but I don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I’m really looking forward to this meeting.”

So, how did I end up as AAPS president? I became involved with the AAPS Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, and Drug Metabolism (PPDM) section as secretary/treasurer. I ran for this position since it was only a two-year commitment. I was surviving day-by-day at that time, with a demanding faculty position and raising three daughters. You know what this is like. However, I met a number of really interesting and dedicated people, enjoyed my interactions with the PPDM section leadership, and made friends. We were working together towards the same goals for the membership and making a difference with new programs, annual meeting programming, and workshops. So, it was the people and a sense of contributing to our profession, making a difference, working towards our shared vision. This led me to run for chair of PPDM, a four-year commitment, spending a total of six years in the PPDM section leadership.

Following this, when asked to run for AAPS Member-at-Large (MAL), part of the AAPS Executive Council, which is a three-year commitment, I went for it. I really recommend running for this position—you get to interact with section leadership in all areas and contribute to different committees, programming, and new initiatives. I loved my time as MAL! I was also amazed at how much I did not know about AAPS—it was a learning experience. That led to running for AAPS president-elect, which is a three-year commitment, including president-elect, president, and past president. Being in these positions gave me a chance to interact with many talented scientists and AAPS staff, to make a difference and move AAPS and our profession forward, working towards common goals. Some of these goals were really important to me, such as eLearning, enhancing research funding, graduate education, and international outreach.

As past president, looking back, I don’t regret a day. However, I am up for new challenges and I am thinking that maybe it’s time for a career plan.

Marilyn Morris, Ph.D., is the 2014 AAPS past president.