ESA Names Recipients of 2017 Professional and Student Awards

Annapolis, MD; August 23, 2017—The Entomological Society of America is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 awards. The awards recognize scientists, educators, and students who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to entomology. Winners will be honored at Entomology 2017, November 5-8, in Denver, Colorado.

The following individuals are winners of the 2017 ESA professional and student awards.

Professional Awards

AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT—This award, which is sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, is based on outstanding contributions that have a direct relation to integrated pest management (IPM). Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Beers is a professor of entomology at Washington State University, located at the Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center in Wenatchee, Washington. She earned her Ph.D. in entomology at Penn State under the direction of Dr. Larry Hull. Dr. Beers' program has covered various aspects of tree fruit research and extension for the past 32 years at the heart of one of the largest and most innovative tree fruit industries in the nation.

Her research and outreach program during this time had adapted to the needs of the industry, and although the target pest has changed over time, the approach has always worked toward a broad-based IPM program. Early work focused on secondary pests, where the opportunity for partial or complete biological control is the greatest. Pests included aphids, leafhoppers, and leafminers, some of which were reduced to non-pest status. A career-long area of interest is conservation biological control of spider mites, a successful program started in the 1960s by colleague and mentor Stan Hoyt. This program continues today by examining the nontarget effects of a new suite of pesticides, with recent work on how the phytoseiid complex has responded to those changes. The most recent projects have focused on two invasive species that threaten Washington's tree crops, spotted wing drosophila and brown marmorated stink bug. The ongoing challenge is to find management solutions that are not disruptive to existing IPM programs by reducing the nontarget effects of pesticides and increasing the number of control tactics available.

DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN EXTENSION—This annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to extension entomology. Carol Black, pesticide education specialist at Washington State University (WSU), directs the Urban IPM and Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP). She received her B.S. (agricultural biology and pest management) from New Mexico State University and an M.S. (forest insect ecology) from WSU. Carol is a strong proponent of teamwork and feels that her program's success is due to the contributions of her staff, WSU colleagues, networks, and coalitions.

Her self‐supported program is a national model for self‐sustained extension programming. PSEP serves a wide array of clientele: farmers, foresters, public health professionals, aerial applicators, pest management professionals, and landscape managers, to name a few. They all need to be well‐versed in the fundamentals of pesticide laws, product labeling, personal safety, resistance management, and environmental protection (including pollinators, beneficial insects, surface and groundwater, and more), which ensures continued access to efficacious pesticides important to public health, landscape, and agricultural communities. Annually, PSEP reaches over 4,500 professional applicators/growers through pesticide recertification and pre-license training courses across Washington State. PSEP offers 70 training days in 39 cities as well as one aerial applicator fly‐in. Carol pioneered online training and still "hits the road" to conduct face-to-face training.

She manages EPA's Pesticide Regulatory Education Program, which provides professional development to state, territory, and tribal program managers and senior scientists. Carol helped found the National Stakeholder Team for Pesticide Safety Education Program Funding and developed much of the baseline data and reports. Her national and international work on pesticide spray drift and personal protective equipment has resulted in changes to national policy.

DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN HORTICULTURAL ENTOMOLOGY—This award honors any entomologist who has contributed to the American horticulture industry. Dr. David Smitley is a full professor and Michigan State University (MSU) extension specialist working closely with the turfgrass, nursery, landscape, and floriculture industries to identify and solve insect pest problems. In 1991, Dr. Smitley worked with Forest Service colleagues to introduce Entomophaga maimaiga, a natural fungal pathogen of gypsy moth, into Michigan, precipitating a widespread collapse of gypsy moth throughout the state over the next eight years.

In 1999 Dr. Smitley introduced a pathogen of Japanese beetle, Ovavesicula popilliae, into Michigan and followed the establishment and impact at eight locations over a 15-year period. Results indicate a high correlation between the build-up of O. popilliae and a 75% decline in Japanese beetle populations during the 15-year study period.

In the last 16 years, he worked extensively with Arborjet Inc. on the initial development and testing of the most widely used treatment to protect trees from emerald ash borer; trunk injection with emamectin benzoate (TREEäge). During the same time period a series of field trials led to publications that explain how imidacloprid can provide a consistently high level of protection against emerald ash borer when applied as a basal soil drench. This gives homeowners a much-needed tool to protect urban trees using products available at local garden centers.

In 2014, Dr. Smitley began work with nursery and greenhouse growers to develop practices for producing high-quality plants that are safe for pollinators. This led to a joint effort with Steve Frank in 2016 to organize the first national conference on "Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes." Stimulated by the conference, Dr. Smitley led a team of entomologists to publish "Protecting and Enhancing Pollinators in Urban Landscapes." In its first year of publication (2016), this bulletin was accessed more than any other MSU Extension publication, with 9,000+ page views and 5,200+ downloads.

DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN TEACHING—This award is presented annually to the member of the Society deemed to be the most outstanding teacher of the year. Dr. Wyatt Hoback, assistant professor of entomology at Oklahoma State University (OSU), has been teaching undergraduate and graduate entomology courses for 18 years. He received his Ph.D. degree in entomology from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and an M.S. in biology from Missouri State University. He taught traditional and online classes in entomology and biology for 15 years in the University of Nebraska system. At OSU, he teaches a non-majors course titled "Insects and Society" to more than 700 students each year. He wrote an online textbook for the course and engages students with a variety of projects that allow them to see the critical roles that insects have played in human history and how insects affect modern food production, health, and the environment. In addition, Dr. Hoback teaches two or three majors courses and associated laboratories each semester, including Insect Biology and Classification, Forensic Entomology, Aquatic Entomology, and Introduction to Research. He engages undergraduate and graduate students in research ranging from plant-insect interactions to conservation biology of the endangered American burying beetle. These efforts have led to the publication of 120 refereed research papers. He has also authored 11 refereed teaching articles that share laboratory exercises and approaches that he and his students have developed. Dr. Hoback has been lead P.I. on two Higher Education Challenge grants and, most recently, on a Multicultural Scholars Program grant to recruit Native American students to complete B.S. degrees in entomology at OSU.

RECOGNITION AWARD IN ENTOMOLOGY—Dr. Alvin M. Simmons is a research entomologist with the USDA-ARS U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, and is the 2017 recipient of the ESA Recognition Award in Entomology. Alvin had copious amounts of entomological ventures while growing up on his parents' farm in eastern North Carolina. Alvin received a B.S. in biology (East Carolina University), and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology (University of Kentucky). Alvin conducts research on sustainable approaches for pest management in specialty crops, and serves as interim coordinator for USDA-ARS Minor Use Pesticide Program for Food and Ornamental Horticulture. Alvin has authored/co-authored 104 refereed journal articles, has provided more than 300 technical reports to the national IR-4 program (resulting in over 200 pesticide labels for specialty crops), and has presented over 200 research papers. Alvin led graduate and undergraduate students in his laboratory while serving as adjunct with Claflin University, Clemson University, and College of Charleston. Alvin has served ESA in many roles including: co-chair of the 2016 International Congress of Entomology, Entomological Foundation Board of Counselors, chair of the International Affairs Committee, president of the Southeastern Branch-ESA, Program Committee co-chair, Committee on Education and Youth, Linnaean Committee, etc. He currently serves on the 2020 ICE Organizing Committee, Host Plant Resistance to Insect Steering Committee, and others. Alvin's honors include: first Department of Entomology Distinguished Alumni Award at University of Kentucky, IR-4 Meritorious Award, SEB-ESA Award for Excellence in IPM, SEB-ESA Recognition Award in Entomology, and Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society.

NAN-YAO SU AWARD FOR INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY IN ENTOMOLOGY—Each year this award is given to an ESA member who is able to demonstrate through his or her projects or accomplishments an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology. Dr. Subba Reddy Palli is a professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky. He is internationally recognized for his research on hormonal regulation of molting, metamorphosis, and reproduction, development of ecdysone receptor-based gene switches, and RNAi-based pest management. He has published 170 journal articles and book chapters and co-edited a book. He is also a co-inventor on 28 patents. Palli received his doctorate from the University of Western Ontario and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington. Subsequently, Palli worked at the Canadian Forest Service and Rohm and Hass Company. He joined the University of Kentucky's Department of Entomology in 2002; currently, he serves as the chair of this department. Palli has received several prestigious awards at the University of Kentucky, including a University Research Professorship, Fulbright-Nehru Award, the Thomas Poe Cooper Research Award, the Bobby Pass Excellence in Grantsmanship Award, the High Impact Research/Extension Award, the High Impact Paper Award, and the Wethington Award. Palli was named as an ESA Fellow in 2014 and is also the recipient of the ESA Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology. He has organized and chaired several symposia at ESA annual meetings and international conferences. Palli also served as president of the ESA's Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Section. He currently serves on the editorial boards of 10 journals and served on grant review panels of NSF, USDA, and NIH. He also serves as the co-director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies, NSF Industry, and University Cooperative Research Center.

RECOGNITION AWARD IN INSECT PHYSIOLOGY, BIOCHEMISTRY, & TOXICOLOGY—Dr. Mariana Federica Wolfner is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, at Cornell University. After receiving her B.A. in biology and chemistry from Cornell, she did Ph.D. research in biochemistry at Stanford University, and postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Wolfner studies the molecular, genetic, and physiological underpinnings of reproduction and fertility. After graduate and postdoctoral studies that identified critical genes in Drosophila's steroid-response and sex determination, respectively, Dr. Wolfner established her lab at Cornell. There, she and her students and postdocs utilized molecular genetics to show that males' seminal proteins modulate the physiology, behavior, and longevity of mated female Drosophila, and Aedes mosquitoes (the latter in collaboration with Laura Harrington at Cornell). The Wolfner lab identified mechanisms by which specific seminal proteins interact with female molecules or neurons to regulate phenomena such as egg production, reproductive physiology, and female sperm choice (the latter in collaboration with Andrew Clark at Cornell). In another area, the Wolfner Lab uncovered how insect eggs "activate" to undertake embryogenesis upon fertilization, revealing both insect-specific and highly-conserved triggers for this process. Dr. Wolfner has mentored nearly 40 graduate students and 30 postdoctoral scholars, as well as more than 80 undergraduate or high school students. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has also received awards for her teaching and mentorship. Dr. Wolfner publishes actively, and serves on multiple editorial boards and grants panels, and on boards of scientific societies.

RECOGNITION AWARD IN URBAN ENTOMOLOGY—This award recognizes and encourages outstanding extension, research, and teaching contributions in urban entomology. Dr. Brian T. Forschler is professor of entomology at the University of Georgia (UGA), and P.I. for the Household and Structural Entomology Research Program. He received three higher degrees, all in entomology specializing in insect pathology, with a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Kentucky and Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. Prior to joining UGA in 1991, Dr. Forschler worked on a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Arkansas.

Dr. Forschler has a teaching and research appointment that includes, over the last two decades, teaching graduate and undergraduate-level courses on urban entomology and IPM. He has acted as major advisor for 11 postdoctoral associates, six Ph.D. students, and 12 master's students and directed studies for 18 undergraduates, in addition to sitting on 16 student advisory committees. Dr. Forschler is chairperson for the Termiticide Scientific Review Panel and is a member of the ASPCRO Termiticide Label Review Committee and the Georgia Department of Agriculture Structural Pest Control Commission. He has had cooperative research agreements with Madihol University in Bangkok, Thailand, The RISH Institute at Kyoto University, the BAM Institute in Berlin, Germany, and the Vietnam Academy for Water Resources in Hanoi, Vietnam; he has organized 13 national and international symposia on urban insect pest biology/management. He is author of over 100 scientific and popular press articles on household and structural insect pests and has conducted training sessions for industry and regulatory officials in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

THOMAS SAY AWARD—This ESA award acknowledges significant and outstanding work in the fields of insect systematics, morphology, or evolution. Dr. Michael S. Engel grew up in the 1970s exploring the environs about his family's homes in California and Arizona. He eventually matriculated at the University of Kansas, receiving a B.S. in physiology and cell biology and a B.A. in chemistry (1993), and then proceeded to Cornell University for a Ph.D. in systematic entomology (1998). He served as a research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York for two years before returning to the University of Kansas, where he is today a professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior curator in the Natural History Museum's Division of Entomology.

Dr. Engel is an internationally recognized systematic entomologist and invertebrate paleontologist, working broadly on the evolutionary history of arthropods and most widely known for co-authoring Evolution of the Insects (2005). His research has contributed to an understanding of the geological history, phylogenetic relationships, past and present diversity, and evolution of many insect and related arthropod lineages, conducting work in 40 countries. He is also known for his studies on the systematics and biology of modern bees and Zoraptera.

Among other awards, Dr. Engel was honored previously as a Guggenheim Fellow (2006), Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (2000), Fellow of the Paleontological Society (2008), and recently as an ESA Fellow (2017).

Student Awards

STUDENT ACTIVITY AWARD—Sponsored by Monsanto Company, this award is presented annually to recognize a student for outstanding contributions to the Society, his or her academic department, and the community, while still achieving academic excellence. Alix Whitener is a Ph.D. candidate at Washington State University under the advisement of Dr. Elizabeth Beers. Her research on spotted wing drosophila (SWD) spans much of the integrated pest management spectrum: behavior, monitoring, low-impact control methods, pesticide efficacy, and resistance monitoring. She recently spent five months in Sweden exploring relationships between SWD and Hanseniaspora uvarum yeast in Dr. Peter Witzgall's chemical ecology laboratory. Alix graduated from Western Washington University (WWU) with a B.S. in anthropology and biology, minoring in women's studies, and competing on WWU's NCAA women's rowing team. She worked seasonally as a technician in the Beers' laboratory studying natural enemies in tree fruit.

Alix serves as chair of the SAC, organizing student activities including the Student Debates, Student Symposium, and more. She has served as president of WSU's Entomology Graduate Student Association, coordinating many of the club's outreach events, and as a graduate student representative to numerous academic committees at WSU. In her community, Alix volunteers as a judge and clinician in 4-H, mentors high school seniors as they prepare for college, and organizes outreach events for the North Central Washington Beekeeping Association.

Alix has previously been awarded the Larry Larson Graduate Student Award for Leadership in Applied Entomology, the Student Certification Award through ESA's BCE program, the Pacific Branch Student Leadership Award, and various ESA President's Prize awards. After graduation, Alix will pursue a career in industry or cooperative extension.

LILLIAN & ALEX FEIR GRADUATE STUDENT TRAVEL AWARD IN INSECT PHYSIOLOGY, BIOCHEMISTRY, OR MOLECULAR BIOLOGY—This award aims to encourage graduate students working with insects or other arthropods in the broad areas of physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to affiliate with ESA's Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Section and to attend the ESA Annual Meeting or an International Congress of Entomology. Isobel Ronai began her career at The University of Sydney, Australia, with a B.Sc. (Honors, Class 1) majoring in biology and history and philosophy of science. In 2013 Isobel started her Ph.D. in the Behavior and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory under Prof. Ben Oldroyd. Isobel's Ph.D. investigated the genetic and mechanistic basis of worker sterility in the honey bee. The evolution of sterility is a conundrum because workers "altruistically" forgo personal reproduction. Isobel utilized an evo-devo framework to propose that the mechanistic basis of worker sterility can be conceptualized as "reproductive control points," which reduce the reproductive capacity of workers. Isobel's research showed that the mechanism underlying the reproductive control points is programmed cell death. Isobel's thesis is therefore an important contribution to a mechanistic understanding of worker sterility, and provides insights into how this trait emerged from a solitary ancestor. She recently submitted her Ph.D. thesis, which was accepted without any changes, and all chapters (five papers) have been published in leading journals.

Isobel is a highly motivated early career researcher who has been awarded 30+ competitive research grants, prizes, and travel awards. During the four years of Isobel's Ph.D., she presented at seven international and 11 national conferences. Isobel is heavily involved in entomological and genetics societies. She is the International Branch representative on the Early Career Professionals Committee of ESA and helped organize an ENTOMOLOGY 2017 Program Symposium. Isobel is particularly fascinated by genetics and will pursue a research career in the genetics of insects.

LARRY LARSON GRADUATE STUDENT AWARD FOR LEADERSHIP IN APPLIED ENTOMOLOGY—This award, which is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, recognizes Dr. Larry Larson's role as a leader and pioneer in insect management and carries that legacy to the next generation of leaders in applied entomology. John Gordy received his B.S. from Texas A&M University with a double major in agronomy and entomology. He received his M.S. in entomology from Louisiana State University working with Drs. Michael Stout and Rogers Leonard in the rice and cotton labs, where his thesis focused on induced defenses in cotton, rice, corn, and soybean. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas A&M University under Drs. Michael Brewer and Mo Way. His dissertation research includes threshold development and management of sugarcane aphid in grain sorghum.

In addition to his studies, John is a full-time extension agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. He is passionate about agriculture and enjoys being able to interact with producers on a day-to-day basis to better understand their challenges and help them identify solutions. He enjoys getting to work closely with several growers to conduct on-farm research in the Upper Gulf Coast Region of Texas. Being a former teacher, he also enjoys educating youth and providing mentorship to undergraduate and high school students interested in agriculture.

In the future, John hopes to be able to work cooperatively with growers, researchers, industry, and other extension personnel to evaluate existing and propose new methods for scouting crops and making management decisions for pests in Texas and the Southern United States. John would like to thank the Entomological Society of America and Dow AgroSciences for sponsoring this prestigious award.

STUDENT CERTIFICATION AWARD—This award recognizes and encourages outstanding entomology graduate students with interest in the mission of the ESA certification program. Lina Bernaola was born in Lima, Peru. She received her B.S. in biological sciences and a minor in molecular biology from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru. Her professional experience, as well as her passion in the world of plants, began when she joined the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima to perform her undergraduate thesis. Based on this experience, Lina joined Louisiana State University (LSU) to pursue her M.S. in agronomy and crop sciences. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Entomology at LSU under the supervision of Dr. Michael Stout. Her research interests include plant-insect and plant-pathogen interactions as well as host plant resistance. Her project involves investigations of the mechanistic basis of plant resistance against above-ground and below-ground organisms in rice. Primarily, she studies the effects of mycorrhizal fungi, a symbiotic soil-borne organism, on rice resistance to insect herbivores. The ultimate goal of Lina's research is to provide a better understanding of plant-insect-mycorrhizae interactions in rice pests of Louisiana, which will help to develop more effective pest management programs in rice. Lina has been actively involved in the Entomological Society of America since 2013. She has presented her research at several national and Southeastern Branch meetings. She also enjoys conducting educational outreach about insects to kids with the Entomology Club at LSU.

JOHN HENRY COMSTOCK GRADUATE STUDENT AWARDS—These six awards are given to one graduate student from each ESA Branch to promote interest in entomology and to stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting.

Dr. Flor Edith Acevedo (Eastern Branch) is currently a research associate at the Colombian Center for Coffee Research, Cenicafé. She received her Ph.D. in entomology from The Pennsylvania State University in 2016, under the supervision of Dr. Gary Felton. Her dissertation research focused on the study of plant defense responses induced by insect herbivores and counter insect adaptation mechanisms. The results of this work highlight the importance of insect physiological, morphological, and behavioral plasticity as key factors that enable the utilization of different host plants. Flor E. received her bachelor's degree in agronomy from Universidad de Caldas (Colombia) in 2006; in her undergrad thesis research, she developed DNA molecular markers in the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei, to study the dispersion of this insect. She then joined the entomology team at Cenicafé, where she studied the genetic variability of the coffee berry borer in Colombia. In 2006, she was a short-term scholar at the University of Florida Tropical Research and Education Center, TREC, where she searched for natural enemies of the avocado lace bug Pseudacysta perseae. During this short visit, Flor E. made important contributions that led to three research papers published in 2008-2009; notably, she was able to find a new predator of avocado lace bugs, Tingidoletes praelonga Gagné (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), which was classified in a genus and species new to science. In 2010, she started her Ph.D. program at Penn State partially sponsored by a Fulbright scholarship. Part of her dissertation has been published in two recent research papers (2017), and four more are in the process of submission. Flor E. is strongly captivated by research in the field of insect-plant interactions and would like to use genetic engineering techniques to study intrinsic mechanisms shaping these interactions with the ultimate goal of increasing host plant resistance to biotic stress.

Chong Chin Heo (Southwestern Branch) was born and raised in Malaysia. He obtained his bachelor's in biomedical sciences (Hons.) (2006) and master's in medical science (parasitology) (2009) from the National University of Malaysia. He then earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, in 2016. He is currently a faculty member at the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. Prior to that, he was a research officer at the Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur. His research interests are carrion decomposition ecology, biodiversity of necrophagous and coprophagous dipteran species, and forensic entomology / acarology. As of 2017, he has published 43 peer-reviewed journal articles, one book, and one book chapter. He has delivered more than 70 platforms and poster presentations at local and international conferences. He received the Perdana Scholar Award from the Malaysian Embassy at Washington, DC (2016); the Vice President Award for Research Excellence from Texas A&M University (2015); and a scholarship from Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Section, Entomological Society of America, during the 2015 ESA Conference at Minneapolis. Chong Chin was also a team member in the ESA Linnaean Games representing Texas A&M University. Additionally, Chong Chin has been a Board-Certified Entomologist (BCE) since 2016. Currently, he is the assistant secretary for the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine (MSPTM), member of the North American Forensic Entomology Association (NAFEA), and member of the European Association for Forensic Entomology (EAFE).

Amelia Lindsey (Pacific Branch) received her Ph.D. from the University of California Riverside (UCR), under the direction of Dr. Richard Stouthamer. Amelia received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences cum laude from San José State University, where she became enamored with insects and their symbioses. Her dissertation research focused on the genomic and evolutionary consequences of infection with parthenogenesis—inducing Wolbachia, in the parasitoid wasp Trichogramma. During her time as a Chancellor's Fellow at UCR, she was awarded an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, a USDA NIFA Predoctoral Fellowship, two van den Bosch Scholarships for Research in Biological Control, and multiple UCR scholarships. In addition to research, she enjoyed coaching for the Science Olympiad, leading outreach events for the Inland Empire community, and moderating the social media pages for UCR Entomology and the Annual Riverside Insect Fair. As a student member of ESA, she organized symposia, competed with the UCR Linnaean Games team, including the 2013 national champion team, and won several President's Prize presentation awards. She is now a postdoctoral research associate at Indiana University, working with Drs. Irene Newton and Richard Hardy on the functional genomics of Wolbachia-mediated pathogen blocking.

Ashley Mortensen (Southeastern Branch) is a University of Florida (UF) doctoral candidate in the Entomology & Nematology Department. She received a B.S. in animal science from Texas A&M University in 2005 and an M.S. in entomology from UF in 2013. Ashley's current research aims to determine if key honey bee behaviors are instinctual or learned by examining the role that the juvenile rearing environment plays on adult behavior. In vitro rearing of honey bee brood is an emerging risk assessment tool that has been implemented in compound safety screening requirements for the OECD. Ashley's research will better inform how investigators interpret the findings of these risk assessments. Ashley is an active contributor to UF's teaching and Extension programs. She has developed and taught a beekeeping field techniques course; redesigned, taught, and assisted the department's online beekeeping course; led Introduction to Entomology laboratory sections; and provided numerous guest lectures and field presentations for departmental courses. To share relevant research findings and beekeeping knowledge with a broader audience, Ashley co-created a social medial strategy via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (@UFHoneyBeeLab), through which she shares research updates and other honey bee related information to over 7,500 followers across the three sites. Ashley also produces blog and newsletter posts, Extension reports, web-based presentations, in-person presentations, and workshops. Ashley is graduating this December, and she is actively pursuing future teaching, research, and Extension opportunities in apiculture and behavioral ecology.

Dr. Kayla I. Perry (North Central Branch) received her Ph.D. in entomology from Ohio State University in 2016 where she was advised by Dr. Daniel A. Herms. Kayla's research focused on elucidating mechanisms that explain the role of natural and anthropogenic disturbances in maintaining ground-dwelling arthropod diversity, structure, and function in forest ecosystems. She proposed three dynamic conceptual models describing the temporal relationship in the effect sizes of canopy gaps and woody debris caused by disturbance from emerald ash borer, intense winds from a tornado, and salvage logging on ground-dwelling arthropod communities. Her work has identified canopy gap formation following tree mortality as a primary driver of ground-dwelling arthropod diversity and community structure. Kayla developed a novel self mark-capture technique using fluorescent powder to investigate the movement of arthropods in the field. She found the dispersal of ground-dwelling arthropods was generally limited, and movement was further reduced following disturbance to the forest canopy and understory, suggesting slow recolonization after disturbance with implications for ecosystem services. Kayla received a B.S. in biology from Baldwin Wallace College in 2010, and participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in 2009, where she was advised by Dr. Kailen A Mooney. Kayla is currently a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr. Mary M. Gardiner investigating mechanisms of ground-dwelling arthropod community assembly in urban landscapes using a functional trait-based approach.

Isobel Ronai (International Branch) began her career at The University of Sydney, Australia, with a B.Sc. (Honors, Class 1) majoring in biology and history and philosophy of science. In 2013 Isobel started her Ph.D. in the Behavior and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory under Professor Ben Oldroyd. Isobel's Ph.D. investigated the genetic and mechanistic basis of worker sterility in the honey bee. The evolution of sterility is a conundrum because workers "altruistically" forgo personal reproduction. Isobel utilised an evo-devo framework to propose that the mechanistic basis of worker sterility can be conceptualized as "reproductive control points," which reduce the reproductive capacity of workers. Isobel's research showed that the mechanism underlying the reproductive control points is programmed cell death. Isobel's thesis is therefore an important contribution to a mechanistic understanding of worker sterility, and provides insights into how this trait emerged from a solitary ancestor. She recently submitted her Ph.D. thesis, which was accepted without any changes, and all chapters (five papers) have been published in leading journals.

Isobel is a highly motivated early career researcher who has been awarded 30+ competitive research grants, prizes, and travel awards. During the four years of Isobel's Ph.D., she presented at seven international and 11 national conferences. Isobel is heavily involved in entomological and genetics societies. She is the International Branch representative on the Early Career Professionals Committee of ESA and helped organize an ENTOMOLOGY 2017 Program Symposium. Isobel is particularly fascinated by genetics and will pursue a research career in the genetics of insects.

Early Career Professional Awards

HENRY & SILVIA RICHARDSON RESEARCH GRANT—This 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. Dr. Justin George is a postdoctoral researcher at the USDA-ARS U.S. Horticultural Research Lab, Fort Pierce, Florida. He received a B.S. in agriculture from Kerala Agricultural University in Kerala, India. He completed his M.S. in entomology at University of Kentucky with Dr. Daniel Potter, and his Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University with Dr. Thomas Baker. His Ph.D. work focused on the chemical ecology and neuroethology of the malaria mosquito, Anopheles stephensi. He showed how the peripheral olfactory responses of mosquitoes are altered following infection by fungal and plasmodium pathogens. Dr. George's postdoctoral research with Dr. Stephen Lapointe focuses on understanding the Asian citrus psyllid's chemical ecology, neurophysiology, and host-vector-pathogen interactions involved in citrus greening disease. He discovered and optimized a three-component phagostimulant blend that dramatically increases psyllid probing. His current research focuses on developing an attract-and-kill device by taking advantage of the psyllid's response to color, odor, and surface chemistry, thereby minimizing the use of broad-spectrum insecticides.

Dr. George has used electrical penetration graph (EPG) as a tool to understand the feeding behavior of Asian citrus psyllid nymphs and adults. He described resistance mechanisms that inhibit stylet penetration of phloem elements in citrus leaves. He extended the utility of EPG by generating machine learning algorithms for automated classification of EPG waveforms. He has authored/co-authored 16 peer-reviewed publications, and has given 40+ scientific presentations at national and international venues. Dr. George is a member of the Program and Student Awards Committees for the Southeastern branch of ESA.

EARLY CAREER INNOVATION AWARD—This award, sponsored by BASF, honors young professionals working within the field of entomology who have demonstrated innovation through contributions within any area of specialization. Dr. Joshua Benoit received his doctorate from The Ohio State University studying stress tolerance terrestrial arthropods. His postdoctoral research was at Yale University on tsetse fly reproductive physiology. Currently, Dr. Benoit's research at the University of Cincinnati centers on the integrative physiology of arthropods, particularly stress tolerance, dormancy-induced changes, and reproduction using sanguinivorius and non-sanguinivorous arthropod models. Dr. Benoit has published over 100 research papers on arthropod biology since 2003 with over 50 focused on blood-feeding arthropods. The highlights are the publication of the bed bug and tsetse fly genomes (Nature Communications and Science, respectively), Annual Review of Entomology and eLife publications on tsetse reproduction and development, and a recent publication on tick stress biology that was an Editor's Choice in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Along with his publication record, Dr. Benoit has presented on over 150 occasions, has received 40 scientific awards, and has served as a grant/award reviewer for multiple agencies, including the National Science Foundation, South African National Research Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Entomological Society of America. During his time at the University of Cincinnati, more than 30 undergraduates have performed research within the Benoit Lab and are included on eight publications. In addition to his research, Dr. Benoit is involved in multiple outreach projects, including a 10-week course for the Cincinnati Public Schools on arthropod vector biology and the impact of arthropod-associated diseases on human health and agricultural development.

ECP OUTREACH AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT AWARD—This award honors a student transition or early professional working within the field of entomology who has demonstrated excellence, leadership, and creativity in outreach and public engagement. Nancy Miorelli earned her B.S in biology from Union College before graduating with her M.S. in entomology from the University of Georgia. Upon graduation, Nancy flew to Ecuador, where she is currently residing in the heart of the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest in the Maquipucuna Reserve.

Within the Maquipucuna Reserve, Nancy gives presentations highlighting insects that can be found in the Ecuadorian cloud forest and their ecology. Nancy routinely gives guided tours both during the day and at night to show visitors the insects found within the reserve. She designs environmental education programs for Ecuadorian students, aids in student research projects, and gives guest lectures to universities and Ecolodges throughout Ecuador.

Nancy promotes science communication online as well. She is the co-founder and co-author of the blog "Ask an Entomologist," which seeks to help people answer their questions about insects. Nancy has also been featured on the Twitter account "Real Scientists," which boasts over 52,000 followers. This opportunity popularized her hashtag #facebug, which aims to show a diversity of arthropods and disseminate information about their conservation status, research importance, and biology. It has been featured in magazines and newspapers around the world and was featured on NPR.

Finally, in her free time, Nancy makes entomological, conservation-minded jewelry featuring Ecuadorian materials. Profits from this initiative, along with Nancy's personal time and effort, go to her housing project providing homes to those people who lost everything during the series of earthquakes that plagued the Ecuadorian coast in 2016.

ECP EXTENSION AWARD—This award is given to a student transition or early professional who excels in entomological extension. Dr. Kelly Hamby is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland College Park. She received her B.S. in environmental toxicology at the University of California Davis, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in entomology with Frank Zalom at the University of California Davis, where she was supported by an NSF graduate research fellowship. Her research and extension program addresses invasive and emerging insect pest issues, evaluating and optimizing pest management programs, and development of sustainable alternative management tactics.

Dr. Hamby is particularly interested in understanding and exploiting insect interactions with free-living microorganisms for sustainable pest management. Her current work includes characterizing spotted wing drosophila's interactions with yeast and fruit rot microorganisms and developing cultural control tactics for this invasive pest of small fruit. Her lab is also evaluating the pest suppression benefits and non-target impacts of neonicotinoid seed treatments in mid-Atlantic grain crop rotations. Dr. Hamby delivers timely, research-based extension programming via extension publications, field days, and winter meetings, serving the needs of Maryland's grain producers and diversified small fruit farmers. In addition to her research and extension responsibilities, Dr. Hamby teaches integrated pest management and provides K-12 outreach with hands-on pest management activities.

ECP RESEARCH AWARD—This award recognizes a student transition or early professional who has made outstanding research contributions to the field of entomology. Dr. Daniel R. Swale started as an assistant professor of entomology at Louisiana State University in April 2015. Dr. Swale received broad training in insect neurophysiology and toxicology during his master's (Virginia Tech) and doctoral (University of Florida) studies that aimed to characterize the biochemical, physiological, and toxicological properties of the acetylcholinesterase enzyme within multiple arthropod disease vectors. As a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt Medical Center (Department of Anesthesiology), Dr. Swale received training on the molecular physiology, chemical genetics, and electrophysiology of insect and mammalian potassium ion channels. Dr. Swale has since established his own research program that aims to define the physiological role and toxicological potential of underexplored ion channels to ultimately provide insights into future target sites for arthropod control. At Louisiana State University, the areas of emphasis for the Swale Lab are to 1) characterize the molecular physiology of K+ ion transport pathways in the nervous system of insects, 2) define the pathways for transepithelial ion and fluid secretion within the acini of arthropod salivary glands, 3) characterize and exploit novel physiological pathways to enhance honey bee health, and 4) develop translational delivery methods for the dissemination of products.

ECP TEACHING AWARD—This award is giving to a student transition or early professional who excels in entomological education. Dr. Erika Machtinger is an assistant professor at Penn State University. Her research focuses on arthropod pests of veterinary concern. Along with being an entomologist, Erika is also a Certified Wildlife Biologist® and specializes in zoonotic and other vector-borne diseases in wildlife and equine systems.

Erika holds a B.S. from the University of Delaware in wildlife conservation and ecology, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Florida. As a graduate student, Erika worked on biological control agents of filth flies under Dr. Chris Geden of the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology. Her postdoctoral work focused on integrated tick management at the USDA-ARS in Beltsville, Maryland, under Dr. Andrew Li.

As a graduate student at the University of Florida, Erika was the teaching assistant supervisor for the Introduction to Entomology Laboratory. In collaboration with her faculty supervisor and teaching mentor Dr. Christine Miller, Erika developed syllabi and lesson plans and coordinated six to seven sections of the course, serving as a mentor for new graduate student TAs. Erika developed an original lesson plan for this course, which was published in American Biology Teacher, and won the University of Florida Graduate Teaching Award.

While her current appointment does not include a teaching assignment at Penn State, Erika will be actively engaged in Extension activities, and will be able to continue to develop her teaching skills with a new demographic of adult learners.

CONTACT: Joe Rominiecki,, 301-731-4535 x3009

ABOUT: ESA is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has over 6,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the Society stands ready as a non-partisan scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit