ESA Welcomes New Class of Science Policy Fellows

Program develops entomologists as advocates for insect science and research

Annapolis, MD; August 16, 2017—In its ongoing efforts to strengthen the impact of entomological science in public policy and legislation, the Entomological Society of America has expanded its pool of chief advocates for insect science with the selection of its 2017 class of Science Policy Fellows.

Following in the footsteps of three previous classes, the five entomologists selected for the new class of ESA Science Policy Fellows (pictured above, left to right) are:

  • Dr. Meaghan Pimsler, a postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) who studies adaptive population genetics in native pollinators. 
  • Dr. Cheri Abraham, an operations manager and entomologist for US Citrus, LLC (Hargill, Texas), whose work ranges from daily operations to developing and implementing protocols for integrated pest management.
  • Dr. Timothy Durham, an assistant professor of agronomy and agricultural science at Ferrum College (Ferrum, Virginia) who works with Bt corn and sustainable pest management.
  • Ms. Ashley Kennedy, a Ph.D. student at the University of Delaware (Newark, Delaware) who studies breeding birds' insect prey preferences to improve avian conservation efforts.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Scott, a professor in the department of entomology at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York), studying insecticides in search of ways to decrease the impact of resistance and use fewer chemicals.

"Because so many of our nation's greatest challenges right now—and, for that matter, so many of its grandest opportunities—involve insects and their relatives, it's imperative that the Entomological Society of America engage with policymakers and the public to offer our knowledge, our expertise, and our advice for the benefit of the nation," says Dr. May Berenbaum, professor and head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and chair of the ESA Science Policy Committee. "The fact that this responsibility is shared among entomologists at all ranks and across all subdisciplines is reflected by the composition of our newest class of Science Policy Fellows."

Founded in 2014, the ESA Science Policy Fellows program supports and develops scientists as visible and effective advocates for entomology and entomological research. Fellows engage in a variety of virtual and in-person educational events to learn about how science policy and science funding decisions are made at the federal level and to provide them an opportunity to engage with lawmakers, legislative staff, and federal agency leaders in Washington, DC. Five new Fellows are chosen each year for a two-year term, selected by peers on ESA's Science Policy Committee. Those selected to the 2017 class were chosen from a pool of many highly qualified applicants.

"I am honored to be selected as a part of the 2017 class of ESA Science Policy Fellows, as science advocacy is vital to the public interest, from spurring economic growth to protecting food security," says Pimsler. "I believe that through improvement to K-12 science education and non-confrontational engagement strategies we can identify common ground and assure science-based policy."

The 2017 class of Science Policy Fellows will be formally introduced at Entomology 2017, November 5-8, in Denver. They will then participate in visits to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, in the spring and fall of 2018 and 2019, as well as periodic activities throughout the year in home political districts and online. Following the conclusion of their terms, Science Policy Fellow alumni may continue to participate in activities to advocate on behalf of ESA and entomological science.

For more information, see the ESA Science Policy Fellows program, the ESA Science Policy program, and ESA's Science Advocacy Priorities. The application period for the 2018 class of Science Policy Fellows will open in the spring of 2018.

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