Early Career Professionals Webinar Series



Wednesday, July 27 | 1:30-3 PM EST


The North Central Branch Early Career Professionals Committee and the national ESA Early Career Professionals Committee are organizing a webinar series focused on careers in entomology. In this webinar, we will highlight entomology careers in industry! Join us to learn about job opportunities in industry, the interview and hiring process, and strategies to be competitive in this job market. Join in on the conversation and bring questions!

**Closed captioning will be available.

Panelist: Dr. Harit Bal

Dr. Harit Bal is Senior Research Entomologist in Regulatory Sciences at Bayer Crop Science. Her team develops and implements global ecological risk assessment strategy of biotechnology-derived insect control products to enable successful product launch and defense. Dr. Bal received her Ph.D. in Entomology in 2013 from the Ohio State University, M.Sc. in Entomology in 2007 and B.Sc. in Agriculture in 2005 from Punjab Agricultural University in India. She worked as Post Doctoral Researcher at the Ohio State University and Michigan State University.

Panelist: Dr. Kevin Chase

Dr. Kevin Chase is a research entomologist with the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory. He received his BSc from Shippensburg University in ecology, his MSc from Mississippi State University studying forest entomology and his PhD from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand where he combined his passion for ecology and forest entomology. He also did a post-doc at the University of Minnesota studying bark beetles. Kevin has worked at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center, the United States Department of Agriculture – APHIS, and as a utility arborist with Arbor Metrics Solutions. 

Panelist: Dr. Ronda Hamm

Dr. Ronda Hamm is passionate about providing enriching science and agriculture experiences for everyone. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education at Fresno State University. She taught at Clovis East and Sierra High Schools before starting her graduate education. She received her Master of Science and Doctorate degrees in Entomology at Cornell University. Currently, she is the Global Academic Relations Leader for Corteva Agriscience. In this role, she develops and implements strategies and relationships to promote people and innovations for the future of agriculture.  She has previously held roles as a Patent Liaison, Six Sigma Project Leader, and Senior Biologist conducting both laboratory and field research in Urban Pest Management and Northern Crops. Find out more about her past experiences at www.linkedin.com/in/ronda-hamm 

Dr. Hamm was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) If/Then Ambassador. In 2019 she was recognized as an Indiana Woman of Achievement with Distinction in Science Education and was the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Informal Educator Award from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). She received the Entomological Foundation Medal of Honor for her work in founding three successful science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs (two while in graduate school and one at Corteva Agriscience) that continue to grow.  At Corteva Agriscience she was a founding member of the Corteva Grows Science Outreach program.  This program engages employees and inspires students to enter agricultural science careers, empowers teachers to bring agricultural sciences into their classrooms, and engages adults on the importance of the agricultural industry. In the first five years more than a half million people were impacted by the program’s volunteers, numbers that continue to grow.  

Panelist: Dr. Scott O'Neal

Dr. Scott O’Neal earned his Ph.D. in Entomology from Virginia Tech, following a B.S. from Purdue University and a M.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University. Scott had the privilege of being awarded both Predoctoral and Postdoctoral USDA NIFA Fellowships to support his research in the area of insect physiology and toxicology, which he began as a doctoral student and then continued as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since January of 2020, he has been employed as a Research Entomologist in the Insect and Nematode Management group of Corteva Agriscience, in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a result of his professional achievements, Scott has been awarded the ESA North Central Branch Excellence in Early Career Award, the UNL Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award, and the American Chemical Society’s Agrochemical Division New Investigator Award

Panelist: Dr. Alix Whitener

Alix Whitener earned her PhD at Washington State University and currently is a technical services manager for FMC Corporation covering the highly diverse cropping regions in Washington and Oregon. In this role, she has a split appointment between managing regional research of registered chemistries including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides, and serving as a technical expert to regional business managers and their customers. Her research interests include integrated pest management, invasive species management, and the mitigation of insecticide resistance. She has served ESA in multiple capacities, both at the branch and national levels, and is currently the President of ESA’s Pacific Branch. Outside ESA, Alix is the vice-chair of a trail advocacy non-profit called TREAD, that focuses on outdoor recreation accessibility and education.  Alix and her partner Cy live in Malaga, WA, where they welcomed baby Wyatt in winter 2020.

Research and Extension

Thursday, August 18 | 3:30-4 PM EST


The North Central Branch Early Career Professionals Committee and the national ESA Early Career Professionals Committee are organizing a webinar series focused on careers in entomology. In this webinar, we will highlight entomology careers in research and extension! Join us to learn about job opportunities in research and extension, the interview and hiring process, and strategies to be competitive in this job market. Join in on the conversation and bring questions!

**Closed captioning will be available.

Panelist: Amelia Lindsey

Amelia Lindsey, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Entomology Department at the University of Minnesota. Her lab takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding insect symbioses by merging molecular biology, genomics, evolution, microbiology, and entomology to uncover fundamental mechanisms of species interactions. Their major focus is on the insect reproductive symbiont, Wolbachia.

Panelist: Dalton Ludwick

Dalton Ludwick attended the University of Missouri-Columbia as a first-generation college student. There, he pursued and attained a Bachelor’s degree in Plant Sciences with an emphasis in Plant Protection in 2014. Dalton then sought a Ph.D. in Plant, Insect, and Microbial Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia under the guidance of Drs. Deborah Finke and Bruce Hibbard. His doctoral research focused on Bt resistance in western corn rootworm. After graduating in May 2018, Dalton went on to a post-doctoral associate position with the USDA-ARS in West Virginia where he studied invasive species, biological control, and behavioral ecology in orchard agroecosystems. Dalton began as an Assistant Professor & Extension Entomologist with the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University in June 2020. His lab now studies management options for row crops, forages and pasture, and stored grain, primarily in the Coastal Bend.

Panelist: Karly Regan

Karly Regan has been an extension educator with Penn State Extension since September 2021. Karly’s extension responsibilities include providing resources and information to commercial producers of horticultural crops, including vegetables, berries, and cut flowers, in south central Pennsylvania though one on one consultations, educational workshops, written newsletters and fact sheets, and applied research. Karly completed a B.S. in Biology at the University of Massachusetts, followed by an M.S. in Plant Science at South Dakota State University where she studied the impacts of drought stress and neonicotinoid seed treatments on spider mite outbreaks in soybean. Prior to joining Penn State Extension, Karly completed a Ph.D. degree in the Department of Entomology at Penn State. Her research sought to identify soil health practices, such as cover crops or reducing tillage, that could support beneficial arthropods and improve pest management in organic field crop rotations without compromising weed management or crop yield. After graduating from Penn State, she joined the Department of Entomology at Cornell University as a postdoctoral researcher stationed at the New York State Agriculture Experiment Station in Geneva, NY. At Cornell, she worked to improve management of onion thrips and bacterial bulb rot through on-farm research trials in collaboration with New York onion producers. In addition to research and extension, she has been involved with ESA throughout her career and currently serves as the early career representative on the Eastern Branch Executive Committee.

Panelist: Sam Ward

Sam Ward is an Assistant Professor of Insect Ecology at Mississippi State University where he has a 60% research/40% teaching appointment. Sam’s research focuses on understanding the ecology and improving the management of invading and emergent insect pests. He teaches two courses, one on insect ecology and the other on research methods.

Government and Military

Wednesday, September 14 | 1-2:30 PM EST


Careers in entomology are just as diverse as insects and arthropods we study! For the next installment of the ECP webinar series highlighting the diverse careers in entomology, we are focusing on careers in government and the military. Come meet our panelists and learn more about what they do, the job interview and hiring process, tips on how to be successful in a government career, and more!

**Closed captioning will be available.

Panelist: Dr. Dave Denlinger

Dr. Denlinger serves as the DoD's Defense Health Agency entomologist. He has broad interests in medical entomology, parasitology, and infectious diseases. You can find him out hiking and looking for bugs, camping in a national park, exploring a brewery or antique store in DC, or playing a round of golf.

Panelist: Dr. Kelsey Graham

Dr. Kelsey Graham is a Research Entomologist at the USDA ARS Pollinating Insects Research Unit in Logan, UT and an Adjunct Research Assistant Professor at Utah State University. Her research focuses on integrated pest and pollinator management, largely focusing on alfalfa seed production and pollination of small fruit crops, but her previous work encompasses topics such as behavior and distribution of the invasive European wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum) and improving pollination and pest management on highbush blueberry farms, as well as measuring wild bee community trends across time and landscapes.

Panelist: Dr. Will Janousek

Dr. Will Janousek is a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Will began his research career studying forest bird community dynamics in relation to fire and bark beetle (Dendroctonus sp.) outbreaks in western forest as well as the interactions between mosquito vectors (Culex sp.) and avian host in the West Nile virus system. Currently, Will works in close collaboration with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and has been building a continental-scale occupancy model to assess range-wide status and trends of the Western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis), a species under review for Endangered Species status.

Panelist: Dr. Hillary Peterson

Dr. Hillary Peterson is the IPM Entomologist with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. In this role, she is responsible for the reduction of pesticide use in the state of Maine through supporting IPM across the state in many settings and diverse stakeholders. These include K-12 schools, cooperating with the University of Maine, growers, and translating the latest research and useful information about pests and management practices to the general public.



Early Career Professionals Town Hall Meeting

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Early Career Professionals (ECP) Committee hosted a Town Hall webinar that is open to all ECPs and student members of ESA! The ECP Committee hosted the town hall to brainstorm ideas for future content that will benefit ECPs (webinars, articles, conference events, and more). Come join the Town Hall to learn more about the future directions of the committee and contribute ideas to direct our efforts to help you!

Panelist: Dr. Karen Poh

Dr. Karen Poh is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Entomology at Penn State University, where she studies the relationship between arthropod pests and their animal hosts. She currently serves at the MUVE Section Rep of the ECP Committee.

Panelist: Dr. Kayla Perry

Dr. Kayla Perry is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Entomology at Ohio State University and researches local and landscape-level drivers of ground beetles in urban ecosystems, specifically vacant and restored lots in Cleveland.

Panelist: Dr. Lorena Lopez

Dr. Lorena Lopez is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Eastern Shore AREC Entomology Lab at Virginia Tech University, where she studies IPM, biological control, and agricultural acarology. Dr. Lopez is the Southeastern Branch Rep and the Chair of the ECP Committee.

Panelist: Dr. Priyadarshini Basu

Dr. Priyadarshini Basu is an Assistant Professor of Pollinator Health and Apiculture at Mississippi State University and she studies nutrition, pesticide impacts, and stressors on bee pollinators. Dr. Basu is also the PBT Section Rep and the Vice Chair of the ECP Committee.


Academia - Teaching

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The North Central Branch Early Career Professionals Committee and the national ESA Early Career Professionals Committee organized a webinar series focused on entomology careers and the different career paths for entomologists, especially targeted toward graduate students and ECPs. We highlighted five major fields in our webinar series starting with a webinar focused on "Teaching in Academia".

Panelist: Dr. Anthony Auletta

Dr. Anthony Auletta earned his Ph.D. in Entomology in 2019 from the University of Minnesota, where he studied the neurobiology and behavior of spiders, scorpions, and other arachnids. As a Ph.D. student, he realized that his true passion lies in entomology education, and thus he sought out a teaching-focused faculty position upon graduation. He is now a lecturer (100% teaching faculty) in the Entomology & Nematology Department at the University of Florida, where he teaches a wide variety of courses, including Introductory Entomology, Spider Biology, Social Insects, and Insect Behavior. Another big component of his teaching program are course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), which bridge the gap between the classroom and laboratory by engaging students in authentic entomology research as part of their coursework. He is also very interested in international education and spends his summers teaching an entomology study abroad course in Florence, Italy. In addition to his teaching, Dr. Auletta serves as an academic advisor to students in the undergraduate Entomology & Nematology major as well as coordinator of undergraduate honors research in his department. He is also heavily involved in curriculum development and assessment for the Entomology & Nematology program. Through all of these efforts, he hopes to help students foster a lifelong interest in science and a greater appreciation for insects (and other arthropods)!

Panelist: Dr. Laramy Enders

Dr. Enders is an applied evolutionary biologist that studies plant-insect-microbe interactions in agroecosystems. She received her PhD from the University of California - Riverside, where she studied stress biology and population genetics in Drosophila. She then went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the University Nebraska -Lincoln and Kansas State University where she focused on uncovering the molecular mechanisms responsible for virulence of aphid pests in soybean and wheat. In 2017 she joined Purdue University's Entomology Department where she has expanded her research interests to include both plant and insect microbiomes. In addition to research, she currently teaches undergraduate level Insect Physiology & Biochemistry and a graduate level Science Writing course at Purdue. 

Panelist: Dr. Ashleigh Faris

Ashleigh Faris, Ph.D. is an instructional assistant professor in the Texas A&M University Department of Entomology (ENTO) and Forensic and Investigative Sciences (FIVS) Program. Dr. Faris teaches various undergraduate and first year experience courses including forensic entomology, medical entomology, insects in human society, and forensic genetics. She is also the department coordinator for ENTO and FIVS undergraduate internships and research, advises undergraduate led research, and serves on graduate student committees. Dr. Faris's scholarship of teaching and learning interests are in diversity and inclusion for equitable undergraduate education, the interdisciplinary role of insects outside of entomology-based education, and course development/redesign for improving undergraduate retention. Outside of teaching, Dr. Faris's field crop research interests focus on biological control through natural enemies, including predators and parasitoids, of invasive pest species and their plant-insect interactions. Her forensic research addresses variation in blow fly development using molecular, ecological modeling, and biological approaches to improve time of colonization (TOC) estimates in decomposition ecology. Dr. Faris was selected as a 2021 Inclusive Teaching Faculty Fellow through the TAMU Center for Teaching Excellence. She has organized and presented symposia focused on entomology and its utility in interdisciplinary undergraduate education and serves on her department's education and FIVS curriculum redesign committees. Dr. Faris is currently a faculty advisor for the Aggie Forensic and Investigative Sciences Organization and the Aggie Art Therapy Organization. 

Panelist: Dr. Carly Tribull

Dr. Carly Tribull is currently an assistant professor in the Biology Department at Farmingdale State College (SUNY). They began their studies in entomology as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and continued studying parasitoid wasp systematics at the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History. As a professor at a primarily teaching-focused institution, their goal is to provide meaningful undergraduate research experiences and mentorship in field entomology and molecular systematics. Their other great passion is comics, specifically the incorporation of science communication and education comics into the college classroom; their work on a free, online textbook for nonmajor biology students can be found at www.biologycomics.com. Additionally, as schools have pivoted to online learning, Tribull has been interested in developing resources and best practices for teaching introductory entomology online, including student-driven remote insect collecting. They've helped to develop brainstorming sessions in conjunction with ESA and have joined working groups of other entomologists. In the future, they want to broaden the resources available to entomologists, including students, at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions and their representation at ESA.
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