ESA Names Winners of 2018 Professional and Student Awards

Annapolis, MD; August 21, 2018—The Entomological Society of America congratulates the winners of its 2018 awards. The awards recognize scientists, educators, and students who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to entomology. Winners will be honored at Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia, November 11-14, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The following individuals are winners of the 2018 ESA professional, early career professional, and student awards.

Professional Awards

Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management

Rufus IsaacsRufus Isaacs
Michigan State University

This award, which is sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, recognizes outstanding contributions that have a direct relation to integrated pest management (IPM).

Dr. Rufus Isaacs is professor of entomology and extension specialist at Michigan State University, where he studies insects in grapes and berry crops. He received his Ph.D. in applied biology from Imperial College in the University of London, United Kingdom. His research focuses on the biology of insect pests and natural enemies in fruit crops, as well as their management, with the goal of developing and implementing IPM programs that improve farm productivity and profitability while reducing environmental impacts. Along with collaborators, his lab's research has also expanded to crop pollination, with projects to understand how habitat management can improve pollinator health and boost crop yield, quality, and stability. This has been coordinated with basic and applied investigations into the ecology of wild bees, and their conservation, as part of the Integrated Crop Pollination project.

Currently Dr. Isaacs is working toward improved management of the invasive spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), a significant challenge to berry crops in the United States and around the world. Projects on this pest are coordinated with colleagues nationally and include evaluation of biopesticides, exploration of natural and cultural controls, seasonal prediction, sampling and decision making, optimizing chemical controls, and monitoring for resistance. His group is also exploring methods for control of native pests that threaten berry crops, both during the growing season and after harvest. His research program is complemented by an active online and in-person extension program that disseminates information about berry insect pest management to growers, crop consultants, and other extension colleagues.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension

Paula ShrewsburyPaula Shrewsbury
University of Maryland

This annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to extension entomology.

Dr. Paula Shrewsbury is an associate professor and extension specialist at the University of Maryland. Paula earned her B.S. in plant science from the University of Rhode Island, M.S. in entomology from the University of California, Riverside, and Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Maryland. Paula's applied research generates knowledge for members of nursery, landscape, and turf management industries, extension educators, and volunteers, including Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists. Paula's research focuses on sustainable management practices, including natural enemy and pollinator conservation, integrated pest management, and biological control of invasive species. Her presentations at some 300 conferences, in-service trainings, green industry meetings, and field days at state (Maryland), regional, national, and international venues have provided training for more than 20,000 stakeholders. Each week her web-based "Beneficial of the Week" column and "Pest Prediction Calendar" reach more than 13,000 green industry members nationally and internationally. Her interviews in print, television, and internet reach millions of stakeholders. Her STEM activities include the award-winning "Insect Petting Zoo" at the University of Maryland's premier outreach event, Maryland Day, where more than 13,000 children and adults have explored the wonders of insects. Her Citizen Science project, "Stink-Be-Gone," trains Master Gardeners to gather data on the distribution and identity of native and exotic parasitoids of the brown marmorated stink bug. Paula has served as EB ESA president and program chair, and has held several other committee positions. Paula is currently the ESA EB Governing Board representative, and the P-IE Editorial Board representative to the Journal of IPM.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching

Bill WaltonBill Walton
University of California, Riverside

This award is presented annually to the member of the Society deemed to be the most outstanding teacher of the year.

Dr. Bill Walton is a professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). He received Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a B.S. from the University of Rhode Island. He currently teaches insect ecology, aquatic entomology, a freshman advising seminar for first-year learning communities, and graduate seminars in medical, veterinary, and urban entomology. Dr. Walton also has recently taught introductory evolution and ecology in the biology/life sciences curriculum and supraorganismal disciplines in the entomology graduate core curriculum. Dr. Walton has applied student-centered active learning approaches and assessments to courses that he teaches at UCR. For example, he and Dr. Brad Mullens developed an aquatic entomology course to emphasize "learning by doing." The students carry out a bioassessment of the Santa Ana River and write a report that summarizes the data collected on laboratory and weekend field trips as a way to encourage scientific synthesis and literacy. The exercise ties together aquatic insect identification, ecology, and concepts discussed in the classroom. Bill is currently vice chair of the Department of Entomology, a co-director of the Pacific Southwest Center of Excellence in Vector-borne Diseases, and president of the American Mosquito Control Association. Bill is a distinguished professor of teaching, a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, and a recent recipient of the Western Region Award of Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology

Consuelo De MoraesConsuelo De Moraes
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

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. Consuelo De Moraes, a professor at The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland, leads an internationally recognized research program that produces innovative science at the leading edge of insect chemical ecology. Her work has produced numerous groundbreaking studies documenting novel and often unexpected aspects of chemical communication among plants, insects, and other organisms. In addition to exploring the complex and sophisticated information that plant odors can convey to insect herbivores and their natural enemies, her research has shown that plants themselves detect and respond to a variety of olfactory cues, including some insect pheromones. She has also made important contributions to the field of disease chemical ecology, exploring the role of olfactory cues in mediating disease transmission by insect vectors as well as their potential use as diagnostic biomarkers. Professor De Moraes's research findings have been published in leading scientific journals including Science, Nature, and PNAS. In addition to its broad influence within the scientific community, her work has also reached a broader audience, being featured in several life science textbooks and documentary films, as well as numerous articles in the scientific and popular press. Professor De Moraes's accomplishments have been recognized through numerous awards and honors, including the Packard Foundation's Fellowship for Science and Engineering and the Beckman Foundation's Young Investigator Award. She was also the recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Award, the Du Pont Young Professor Award, the ESA Early Career Innovation Award, and the International Society of Chemical Ecology's Silverstein-Simeone Award. She has been named a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Early Career Professional (ECP) Awards

Henry & Silvia Richardson Research Grant

Rajeswaran JagadeesanRajeswaran Jagadeesan
Queensland (Australia) Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

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. Rajeswaran Jagadeesan (Raj) is a research scientist within the Postharvest Grain Protection Team of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), Australia. He holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in agriculture from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India, and a Ph.D. in molecular entomology from the University of Queensland, Australia. In his Ph.D. program, Raj worked on the genetics of resistance to phosphine (a fumigant insecticide) in red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, and identified the first resistance gene, Dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (DLD), that has revealed significant insights in to the management of resistance in grain insect pests. Raj started his career within QDAF in 2011, which provided him an opportunity to connect with farmers and major stakeholders of the grain industry. During the last seven years, Raj has worked on several industry-driven research projects in stored product pest management and gained expertise in pest and resistance diagnosis, insecticide/fumigant efficacy and characterization, resistance genetics, molecular characterization, protocol establishment, and validation. Currently, Raj is exploring the efficacy of an alternative fumigant, sulfuryl fluoride, by itself and in combination with other fumigants, to alleviate phosphine resistance in grain pests. He is also working in an international linkage project between India and Australia, where he is deploying advanced molecular tools to diagnose and manage phosphine resistance in key pest species along the entire stored grain value chain. Raj has attended several conferences, nationally and internationally, and published key findings in high-profile journals, including Science, Genetics, Pest Management Science, and Journal of Economic Entomology.

ECP Outreach and Public Engagement Award

Alexandria BryantAlexandria Bryant
University of Kentucky

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.

Ms. Alexandria Bryant is originally from Beaver Dam, Kentucky. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, in 2010 with her B.A. in biology and psychology. For her master's research, she researched the impact of habitat complexity on insect communities in vegetable crops at Michigan State University, where she graduated with her M.S. in entomology in 2013. She enjoyed volunteering at the Michigan State Bug House, presenting at outreach events, and serving as a 4-H volunteer. Alexandria is currently a University of Kentucky extension agent for 4-H Youth Development in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. She manages 75 volunteers and teaches youth programs in school, after-school, and camp settings, reaching over 2,800 youth in 2018. For the past five years, she has taught programs and trained volunteers in natural resources, STEM education, agriculture, leadership, and other fields. Alexandria's entomological outreach has included initiating entomology school programs for more than 600 middle school youth annually, developing comprehensive Kentucky 4-H science curriculum centered on the Madagascar hissing cockroach, teaching entomology workshops at events across the commonwealth, establishing a 4-H Bug Club for youth, training extension agents on entomology programming, and initiating a county-wide bee ambassador program about honey bee management. Her Madagascar hissing cockroach curriculum, which she designed to fulfill state-mandated Next Generation Science Standards, has been especially popular, and has since been adopted in 13 other counties in Kentucky, reaching an estimated 25,000-plus youth. In total, Alex has started, overseen, or implemented over 60 STEM-related programs in her county.  

ECP Extension Award

Rebecca Schmidt-JeffrisRebecca Schmidt-Jeffris
Clemson University

This award is given to a student transition or early professional who excels in entomological extension.

Dr. Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Clemson University. Her commodity responsibilities are strawberries and vegetables, including cucurbits, tomatoes, and leafy greens. She earned her B.S. in biology from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. She attended Washington State University for her Ph.D. in entomology, which she completed in 2015. Her research program focuses on biological control, mite management, landscape ecology, and soil health impacts on arthropods.

Dr. Schmidt-Jeffris is particularly interested in the behavior and ecology of natural enemies in agroecosystems. This includes nontarget impacts of agricultural practices, such as pesticide use, soil health management, and historical land-use patterns. Current projects in her lab include miticide resistance and nontarget effects in strawberries, impacts of organic weed management practices on natural enemies, predatory mite biodiversity in vegetables, and impacts of cover crops on host-plant selection. Her extension program includes county and regional grower meetings, conservation biocontrol trainings with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and publication of production guides, including the myIPM app and the Southeastern Vegetable Crop Handbook. She is also active in K-12 and community outreach.

She enjoys participating in ESA and is a member of Plant-Insect Ecosystems Section Governing Council. Dr. Schmidt-Jeffris has previously served on the ECP Committee and chaired the ESA and ICE Student Affairs Committees. Rebecca is a prior recipient of ESA's Comstock, Student Activity, and Pacific Branch Leadership awards.

ECP Research Award

Margarita López-UribeMargarita López-Uribe
Penn State University

This award recognizes a student transition or early professional who has made outstanding research contributions to the field of entomology.

Dr. Margarita López-Uribe received her bachelor's degree in biology from Universidad de los Andes (Colombia), her master's degree in genetics and evolution from Universidade Federal de São Carlos (Brazil), and her Ph.D. in entomology from Cornell University. Margarita was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at North Carolina State University for two years. Afterwards, she transitioned to the Pennsylvania State University as an assistant professor of entomology.

Dr. López-Uribe is broadly interested in understanding how environmental change and life-history traits affect demography, health, and long-term persistence of wild bee pollinator populations. She integrates population genetics, comparative phylogenetics, landscape ecology, and field experiments to address these questions. Her research has focused on three main research themes. First, her research has revealed previously unknown patterns of male-biased dispersal, strong signatures of philopatry, and patchy nesting patterns in solitary bees. Second, her research in the field of social immunity has demonstrated that different aspects of immune function (internal vs. external immunity) respond differently to evolutionary changes in group size in social insects. More recently her research program is focusing on how beekeeping management practices impact honey bee health and host-pathogen dynamics in honey bees. Overall, these different lines of research comprise relevant topics for bee conservation and health while advancing our understanding of basic ecological and evolutionary processes of pollinators. Margarita is heavily involved in extension and outreach, and she hopes to serve as a mentor to younger scientists who are passionate about insects. For more information about her program, please check her lab website:

ECP Teaching Award

Megan MeutiMegan Meuti
Ohio State University

This award is given to a student transition or early professional who excels in entomological education.

Dr. Megan Meuti started as an assistant professor of entomology at Ohio State University (OSU) in 2016. She received dual bachelor's degrees in entomology and microbiology from Ohio State, where she also completed her Ph.D. with David Denlinger. Next she taught at Kenyon College, a top-tier small liberal arts college, for one year as a visiting professor, where she developed lecture and laboratory courses on insect biology and taught first-year students how to design experiments and write scientific-style manuscripts in an introductory biology lab.

Since joining the faculty at OSU, Dr. Meuti has continued to use research-supported techniques to improve her teaching and support student learning. For example, she developed graduate-level insect physiology lecture and laboratory courses using backward design, and taught these courses for the first time last fall. In addition to teaching general entomology, she is currently modifying two high-enrollment, online courses: "Pests, Plagues, Pollinators, and Poisons: Insects in Human Affairs," and "The Biology of Hope and Belief." She has co-authored a freely available text for Insects in Human Affairs, is increasing student engagement and dialogue in both courses, and is implementing a research study to compare learning in online and in-person classes. Outside of her formal teaching responsibilities, Dr. Meuti mentors graduate and undergraduate students in research focusing on seasonal responses in mosquitoes. She enjoys the challenge of translating science to diverse audiences. She also delights in sharing her enthusiasm for insects, evolution, and molecular biology with students ranging from freshman, nonscience majors to senior graduate students.

Student Awards

John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Awards
  • Ashley Kennedy, University of Delaware (ESA Eastern Branch)
  • Ximena Cibils-Stewart, Western Sydney University (ESA International Branch)
  • Rachael Sitz, U.S. Forest Service (ESA North Central Branch)
  • Adekunle Adesanya, Washington State University (ESA Pacific Branch)
  • Zachary DeVries, North Carolina State University (ESA Southeastern Branch)
  • Freddy Ibanez, University of Florida (ESA Southwestern Branch)

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.

Ashley KennedyAshley Kennedy
University of Delaware

Ashley Kennedy (Eastern Branch) is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Delaware in the Tallamy Lab. Her dissertation research focuses on bird-insect food webs, examining which species of insects are most important in North American bird species' diets. Ashley studied behavior of vervet monkeys for her undergraduate thesis research at Johns Hopkins University, graduating in 2009. She completed internships at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, the National Zoo, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute between her undergraduate and graduate studies. In 2010, she joined Charles Bartlett's lab at the University of Delaware to begin an M.S. project on delphacid planthopper taxonomy, describing two new genera in the process. She received her M.S. in 2013 and began working as an educator for the Delaware Nature Society, and also worked as a taxonomist for Delaware Mosquito Control in 2014. In 2015, she began her current position in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at University of Delaware. She serves as the Eastern Branch representative to the SAC, the student liaison to the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and a member of the 2017 Class of Science Policy Fellows. Outside the realm of entomology, she enjoys volunteering with her therapy dog, running, reading, and costume parties.

Ximena Cibils-StewartXimena Cibils-Stewart
Western Sydney University

Ximena Cibils-Stewart (International Branch) grew up in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay (South America). She earned a double B.Sc. degree in biology and entomology from Iowa State University in 2010, and an M.Sc. in entomology from Kansas State University in 2013. Her M.Sc. thesis was entitled, "Influence of Plant Architecture on Trophic Interactions Involving Canola, Aphids, and Lady Beetles." After obtaining her M.Sc., she moved back to Uruguay, where she started working as an entomology scientist at INIA, Uruguay´s National Institute for Agricultural Research. At INIA, Ximena's work has been majorly linked to the breeding programs of forage crops (legumes and grasses).

Currently, Ximena is a Ph.D. student at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University. Her Ph.D. focuses on elucidating the interactive effects between mutualistic fungi (novel endophytes and mycorrhiza) and silicon uptake in grasses since these associations might enhance plant defense against certain stressors, such as herbivores. Her Ph.D. thesis is entitled, "Down to Earth Defense: How Mutualistic Fungi Augment Silicon-Based Defense Against Above- and Below-Ground Insect Pests." These strategies have clear potential for plant protection with fewer environmental impacts than the insecticides they replace.

In the past, Ximena has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Research Training Program Stipend Scholarship, supported by the Australian Government Research (2017); Plant Insect Ecosystems Legends of Entomology Award for Masters Student Achievement (2013); and Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant of the Year, sponsored by the Golden Key Honour Society, Kansas State University Chapter (2013).

Rachael SitzRachael Sitz
U.S. Forest Service

Rachael Sitz (North Central Branch) graduated with B.S. degrees in insect science and plant biology from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln in 2011, where her research focused on plant-insect interactions in a biofuel grass system with Drs. Tiffany Heng-Moss and Fred Baxendale. During her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Dr. Whitney Cranshaw's lab in the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at Colorado State University, Rachael started work on insect-associated diseases of trees. Her focus is on the insect causal agents of two emergent diseases, including thousand cankers disease of walnut and drippy blight disease of red oak. Her M.S. research investigated cold tolerance in the walnut twig beetle, and sanitation options for thousand cankers diseased trees and felled logs. Her work has also looked at insecticide resistance in the European elm scale, the life history of the kermes scale involved in drippy blight disease, and insect involvement in the spread of a bacterial tree pathogen. Currently, she is a research scientist with the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, where she integrates basic entomology, microbiology, and ecology to answer applied research questions that aid management of insect-associated diseases in urban and natural forests.

Adekunle AdesanyaAdekunle Adesanya
Washington State University

Adekunle Adesanya, aka Kunle, (Pacific Branch) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Entomology at Washington State University, under the mentorship of Dr. Doug Walsh (committee chair and major advisor), Dr. Laura Lavine, and Dr. Fang Zhu. Kunle's Ph.D. research focus is on adaption of arthropods to xenobiotics, using the generalist herbivore two-spotted spider mite as a model organism. His Ph.D. project focus is on characterizing pesticides and allelochemical resistance in populations of two-spotted spider mites in multiple cropping systems such as hop, alfalfa, peppermint, and also strawberry, using toxicological and molecular diagnostic approaches. Kunle is also using transcriptomics to identify molecular markers involved in two-spotted spider mites' resistance to multiple chemistries of acaricides and also host plant adaption. Kunle was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, where he received his elementary and high school education. He then proceeded to obtain his bachelor's degree in crop production and protection at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife Osun State, Nigeria, in 2010. He worked briefly as a production/supply chain associate in AACE food processing company and also as an agricultural consultant at Sahel Capital in Lagos, Nigeria. Kunle proceeded to earn a master of science degree in entomology at Auburn University, Alabama, graduating in summer 2015 under the direction of Dr. David Held (committee chair), Dr. Nannan Liu, Dr. Henry Fadamiro, and Dr. Arthur Appel. His master's research focused on characterizing detoxification enzymes in the invasive polyphagous herbivore pest Japanese beetle in response to diet breadth, host preference, and host plant intoxication. In the future, Kunle hopes to secure an academic faculty position, where he intends to use the triad of research, teaching, and extension to address food security, especially through crop protection and pest management.

Zachary DeVriesZachary DeVries
North Carolina State University

Dr. Zachary DeVries (Southeastern Branch) received his Ph.D. in entomology from North Carolina State University under the direction of Dr. Coby Schal. Zach received both his bachelor's degree in zoology and master's degree in entomology from Auburn University, where he developed a passion for working with urban pests (e.g., cockroaches, bed bugs, etc.). His dissertation research focused on several aspects of urban pest behavior, physiology, evolution, and management. Specifically, he evaluated the efficacy and exposure risks associated with total release foggers ("bug bombs") used for German cockroach control. In addition, he evaluated bed bug host-attraction and several behavioral and physiological factors responsible for preventing gene flow among different host-associated lineages (human- and bat-associated) of bed bugs. During his graduate tenure, Zach received numerous national and international level awards for his work relating to insect behavior, physiology, and integrated pest management. He has also taught several undergraduate entomology courses and has actively engaged the public in both extension and outreach activities throughout his career, including events such as BugFest and pest control association meetings. Zach is currently a postdoctoral research scholar at North Carolina State University, working with Dr. Coby Schal on the relationship among urban pest biology, management, and human health.

Freddy IbanezFreddy Ibanez
University of Florida

Dr. Freddy Ibanez (Southwestern Branch) received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Santiago of Chile in 2006. He began his career studying molecular biology, focusing on developmental genes associated with gastrulation in Drosophila melanogaster, and epigenetic mechanisms. In 2013, Freddy started his Ph.D. in entomology under the direction of Dr. Cecilia Tamborindeguy at Texas A&M University. His dissertation research focused in the study on the effects of insect growth regulators and application of dsRNA in different aspects of reproduction of Bactericera cockerelli, known as potato psyllid, the vector of "zebra chip." His main research interests consist in understanding the host-pathogen-vector interaction, identifying the nutritional strategies of the pathogen on insect and plants, and finding novel strategies to control vector-pathogen spread on fields.

During his four years at Texas A&M University, Freddy contributed with nine manuscripts, six of them as first author. Also, he was a member of the Linnaean Games team awarded first place in ESA Southwestern Branch (2016); he was awarded the USDA-AFRI Student Travel Grant (2014); and he received the first-place award in the student poster competition for President's Prize, in the section of Physiology Biochemistry and Toxicology, in 2014.

Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher in Department of Entomology and Nematology at the Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, working with Dr. Lukasz Stelinski. The main goal of this research is to address the effectiveness of pesticide applications to control Diaphorina citri on Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus-infected citrus groves and evaluating the effect of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus inoculation frequency on citrus greening progression and plant defense response.

Larry Larson Graduate Student Award for Leadership in Applied Entomology

Daniela PezziniDaniela Pezzini
University of Minnesota

This ESA award, 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.

Daniela Pezzini graduated from the Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil with a B.S. in agronomy. While an undergraduate, she acquired multiple experiences as a research assistant in an entomology laboratory. She is currently finishing her M.S. degree at the University of Minnesota under Dr. Robert Koch. Her research project involves nine states of the North Central Region and aims to address questions related to the increasing threat posed by stink bugs in soybean. Specifically, it will fill the gap of literature on stink bug species composition and abundance in the region and develop sampling recommendations for growers and researchers. Daniela is passionate about agriculture and enjoys being able to help farmers better protect their crops.

Lillian and Alex Feir Graduate Student Travel Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, or Molecular Biology

Hillary FischerHillary Fischer
University of Arkansas

The purpose of this ESA award is 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 Integrative Physiological and Molecular Insect Systems Section and to attend the ESA Annual Meeting.

Hillary Fischer found her passion for understanding the mechanisms of host-plant resistance while working as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Tiffany Heng-Moss' lab for plant-insect interactions at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She graduated from UNL in 2016 with Bachelor's degrees in both plant biology and entomology and continued on to the University of Arkansas to pursue her Ph.D. with Dr. Fiona Goggin. Her dissertation research aims to understand the role of primary metabolism in plants for defense against aphids. Specifically, she investigates how singlet oxygen, a reactive oxygen species produced during photosynthesis, can serve as a signaling molecule for plant defense. Singlet oxygen has been largely overlooked in plant defense to herbivores due to a short half-life, making it difficult to study. Her research will improve techniques to more accurately and efficiently study singlet oxygen and elucidate its role in signaling for aphid resistance.

In the past two years of her Ph.D., she was awarded Honorable Mention for the NSF Graduate Student Fellowship and was a supporting author on three peer-reviewed publications. Along with numerous awards for her research, she is also active in leadership. She was president of the Arkansas Entomological Society from 2016 to Spring 2018, during which time she organized the annual entomology meeting for the state. She also served as president of the Isely-Baerg Entomology Club for the 2017-2018 term. After graduating, she hopes to continue in research focusing on the molecular aspects of host-plant resistance.

ESA Student Activity Award

Lina BernaolaLina Bernaola
Louisiana State University

Sponsored by Monsanto Company, this award will be presented annually to recognize a student for outstanding contributions to the Society, his/her academic department, and the community, while still achieving academic excellence.

Lina Bernaola was born in Lima, Peru. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Louisiana State University (LSU) under the guidance 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 and pathogens. 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 earned her B.S. in biological sciences from San Marcos National University, Peru, and later completed her M.S. in agronomy at LSU. Lina has been actively involved in the Entomological Society of America since 2013. She has presented her research at several international, national, and Southeastern Branch meetings; she has also participated in LSU's Linnaean Games and Student Debate teams. Currently, she serves as student representative to the Governing Board and participates in both the Student Affairs Committee and the Early Career Professionals Committee. She has served on the P-IE Governing Council as the student representative and as president of LSU's Entomology Club, coordinating many of the club's educational outreach events about insects to kids. She is very grateful to the society for the many opportunities it has provided her. She has had a lifelong interest on science and looks forward to sharing this passion with younger generations.

Student Certification Award

Emily BickEmily Bick
University of California, Davis

This award recognizes and encourages outstanding entomology graduate students with interest in the mission of the ESA certification program.

Emily Bick is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Davis. She received entomology degrees from Cornell University (B.S.) and University of California, Davis (M.S.).

Emily has focused her career on leveraging entomological knowledge to best serve people. After working in industry developing practical solutions for invasion biology of urban forests, she focused her master's project on an invasive aquatic weed, the water hyacinth, and its insect biological control agent, Neochetina bruchi. Her Ph.D. project homed in on behaviorally manipulating a pesticide-resistant insect (Lygus spp.) away from high-value horticultural crops using a push-pull strategy. Emily utilizes simulation models of ecosystems to optimize integrated pest management strategies, a technique she learned while on an American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship working with Dr. Niels Holst out of Aarhus University in Denmark.

Additionally, Emily is a Board Certified Entomologist with specialties in medical and plant entomology, holds a Linnaean Games championship, and is delighted to list "published theater critic" on her resume for her review of "An Entomologist's Love Story" in Entomology Today.

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 nearly 7,000 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