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Penn State Entomology Students, Faculty Recognized

Posted: October 8, 2012

Numerous awards were recently presented to faculty, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students in the Entomology department in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Students and faculty in the department are future leaders in many aspects of entomology, both domestically and internationally. These awards recognize their accomplishments and potential.
  • Maggie Douglas, graduate student, was recently recognized by the International Organization for Biological Control (Neatric Region Section) with the Outstanding MSc Student in Biological Control Award. She also placed third at the Environmental and Natural Resources Sciences Gamma Sigma Delta Research Expo at Penn State.Her research is exploring the potential transfer of insecticidal seed coatings up the food chain from plants to slugs to their insect predators
  • Ariel Rivers, doctoral candidate, received the U.S. Borlaug Global Food Security Program Fellowship to conduct research at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, El Batan, Mexico; a scholarship to attend the Future Leaders Forum at the Annual Conference of the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development; and a graduate student grant through the USDA Sustainable Ag Research and Education Program. In both Mexico and Pennsylvania, her research focuses on insect predator conservation and interactions in conservation agricultural systems. 
  • Dr. Tom Baker, distinguished professor of entomology, received the Silver Medal Award for Career Achievement in Chemical Ecology for International Society of Chemical Ecology for more than 40 years of research in this field.
  • Chris Donaghy, Outstanding Alumni, College of Agricultural Sciences. Donaghy is the CEO of Residex in New Jersey and is also the recipient of the 2011 Pest Control Technology Leadership Award.         
  • Dr. Elina Lastro Niño, postdoctoral scholar, will receive a USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the molecular and sociological basis of honey bee queen breeding and the 2012 International Congress on Insect Neurochemistry and Neurophysiology Student Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, Toxicology, and Molecular Biology. She was also awarded the Harold K. Schilling Dean’s Graduate Scholarship from Penn State and the 2012 Dissertation Award from Penn State Alumni Association.
  • Seung Ho Chung, doctoral candidate, was selected as the 2012 Stan Beck Fellowship awardee from the Entomological Society of America. The fellowship assists students with physical or economic, minority, or environmental limitations. He is studying plant-insect interactions using tomato plants and Colorado potato beetles as a model system. His research focuses on deciphering the mechanisms by which the beetles manipulate induced defenses of tomato plants.
  • Dr. Kerry Mauck, postdoctoral scholar, will receive the Henry & Sylvia Richardson Research Grant from the Entomological Society of America. The grant provides research funds to postdoctoral ESA members who have at least one year of promising work experience, are undertaking research in selected areas, and have demonstrated a high level of scholarship. Her current research examines changes in mammalian host odors in response to infection by malaria, and how these changes influence interactions between hosts and mosquito vectors to better understand how host-produced attractants influence pathogen acquisition.
  • Eric Bohnenblust, doctoral candidate, received the EPA STAR Graduate Fellowship to evaluate the influence of synthetic auxin herbicide exposure to arthropod communities in field crop agroecosystems.
  • Ian Grettenberger, doctoral candidate, received a USDA NIFA pre-doctoral fellowship to study the potential of crop genotypic diversity to manage abiotic and biotic stressors associated with climate change. He will also receive the Kenneth and Barbara Starks Plant Resistance to Insects Graduate Student Research Award from the Entomological Society of America.
  • Sheena Sidhu, doctoral candidate, received a USDA NIFA fellowship to study wild bee resource utilization in agroecosystems.
  • Anthony Vaudo, doctoral candidate, was awarded a Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research for his studies in the role of nutrition in floral resources in shaping plant-pollinator networks.
  • Jason Smith, doctoral candidate, was awarded a USDA AFRI NIFA pre-doctoral fellowship to continue his work researching ecological interactions among plants, herbivores, and parasitoids.
  • Katie Ellis, doctoral candidate, was awarded a graduate student grant from the USDA Sustainable Ag Research and Education Program to continue her research in the role of cover crops as a floral resource for native bee conservation in agroecosystems.
  • Silvie Huijben, postdoctoral scholar, took first place at the 5th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition, Penn State’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and the Postdoctoral Society. Her research interests include evolution of drug resistance in malaria parasites.
  • Joe Louis, postdoctoral scholar, took third place at the 5th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition, Penn State’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and the Postdoctoral Society. His research involves Insect-plant interactions, plant stress biology, chemical ecology
  • Grant Hughes, postdoctoral scholar, took third place 5th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition, Penn State’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and the Postdoctoral Society. His research includes using insect symbionts to manipulate the vector competence of mosquitoes to control arthropod-borne disease.
  • Wanyi Zhu, graduate student, received a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Travel Award, Sahakian Family Fund for Agricultural Research to attend the 5th European Conference on Apidology in Halle an der Saale, Germany. Zhu studies chemicals that affect insect behavior and apply the chemistry method into environmentally safe pest management programs.
  • Justin George, graduate student, received the Harold K. Schilling Dean’s Graduate Scholarship, Penn State. His research involves behavioral and elecrophysiological studies on how fungal infection affects mosquito’s olfaction behavior.
  • Anjel Helms, doctoral candidate, took third place at the Biological Sciences Gamma Sigma Delta Research Expo, Penn State. Helms studies the relationships among plants, insect herbivores, and natural enemies to understand factors that regulate populations of herbivorous insects.
  • Angela Hoover, undergraduate student, received the Undergraduate Research Award at the Gamma Sigma Delta Research Expo, Penn State.
  • Salvatore Anzaldo, undergraduate student, was awarded a Smithsonian Museum of Natural History internship.
  • Spencer Malloy, undergraduate student, received an Undergraduate Summer Discovery Grant from Penn State.

 Established in 1963, Penn State’s Department of Entomology has grown into a well-balanced department combining innovative research and providing undergraduate education, graduate student training and extension outreach education focusing on both domestic and international issues. Twenty-four faculty and more than eighty graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and research associates work on a variety of research topics providing insights into insect ecology, behavior and molecular biology as well as integrated pest management. The department is part of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. For more information about solving insect problems, descriptions of research and education programs or admission to the graduate program, visit Web site at http://www.ento.psu.edu/ or contact the department at (814) 865-1895.