Congratulations and welcome to the incoming officers of the North Central Branch!
Congratulations to the members of the North Central Branch recently elected to volunteer positions beginning in April 2023. The electronic ballot period for branch members began January 9, and was completed February 8, 2023. The branch members also voted to approve the proposed changes to their branch constitution and bylaws.
North Central Branch President-Elect
Boris A. Castro
Bio: Boris A. Castro has an agronomy degree from Honduras, B.S. from the Univ. of Florida, M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology/Ag. Econ. from LSU and an MBA from California State. He worked in academia in IPM at Zamorano College, Honduras, and as Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at LSU and Texas A&M. He joined Corteva Agriscience in 2008 with roles in CPR&D as Research Center Leader in California, Insect Traits Leader in South America, and sabbatical scientist in New Zealand. In his current role as Global Technical Educator, he works across disciplines to create e-courses, bulletins, podcasts, infographics, and animated videos for which he received five global interactive media awards. He has co-authored 23 refereed and +90 non-refereed publications, and +300 scientific and extension talks. His interests include advancing new solutions and developing learning strategies.
Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Boris has been an active ESA member for 28 years, serving the Southeastern, Southwestern and Pacific Branches, and the North Central Branch since 2015. He was Pacific Branch Secretary-Treasurer (2011-2013), North Central Branch Nominating Committee member (2017-2019) and Chair (2018-2019). He served the ESA as Student Co-Chair at the full virtual 2020 meeting, Program Co-Chair at the hybrid virtual/on-site 2021 meeting, and Poster Co-Chair at the joint 2022 meeting. He volunteers as judge, moderator, presenter, and symposia co-organizer. Boris is Editor and Board Member for American Entomologist and Journal of IPM. He co-founded the U.S. chapter of his Honduran Alma Mater (National School of Agriculture). He is Board Member of the Corteva Latin Network and serves his community at the Board of Directors for Trinity Free Clinic, a local, nonprofit medical organization.
Candidate statement: I am a strong believer in science and technology to help overcome food production challenges while safeguarding environmental sustainability. I also believe science and new proven technologies should be communicated responsibly in a manner easy to understand. Modern communication tools and entomological advances generated within our Branch put us in a unique position to empower everyone with knowledge and technology and a stronger appreciation for sustainability. The North Central Branch is dynamic, its leadership is strong, its members are enthusiastic, diverse, and talented. These are key elements that allow our Branch to contribute and lead across disciplines. I am committed to creating new cross-disciplinary opportunities to nurture leadership within our Branch, promote collaboration, drive and diversify engagement, and communicate sustainable solutions.
North Central Branch Early Career Professional Committee Chair-Elect
Adrian J. Pekarcik
Bio: Dr. Adrian J. Pekarcik started as a Research Entomologist with USDA-ARS at the North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings, SD, in May 2022. His research program focuses on the impacts of sustainable agricultural practices on soil invertebrate communities. He earned Bachelors of Arts degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2014. He briefly worked for National Park Service at Cuyahoga Valley National Park before pursuing his Master’s in Entomology from Auburn University in 2016. He earned his Doctorate in Entomology from The Ohio State University in May 2022 where he studied the ecology and management of the Asiatic garden beetle, a pest of corn in Ohio. He has won 12 awards related to entomology for speaking, debate, service, and outreach during his graduate studies, including OSU’s Graduate Associate Leadership Award.
Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Adrian has been an active member of ESA since joining in 2015. He has participated in five student paper competitions and submitted four poster presentations. Adrian also participated in the student competitions almost every year, including two Entomology games competitions and four student debates. Adrian was student debate team leader in 2019 and 2020 and his teams earned overall runners-up and overall winners, respectively. Adrian was the president of OSU’s Entomology Graduate Student Association from 2020 to 2021 where he led initiatives to address student issues throughout the pandemic, network with OSU alumni, and create virtual outreach materials in the absence of in-person events. He was also a co-chair of OSU’s Graduate Student Advisory Council representing the Wooster campus. Adrian joined the NCB Early Career Professional Committee in August 2022.
Candidate statement: I want to serve as the North Central Branch Early Career Professional Committee Chair-Elect. Early career professionals (ECPs) are at a unique crossroads; we are freed from the requirements and deadlines of graduate school, but now must seek job opportunities, deal with financial uncertainty, and establish ourselves as entomologists. I recently joined the NCB ECP committee in August 2022 to learn more about the problems faced by ECPs and to increase opportunities for personal and professional development. As the NCB ECP Committee Chair-Elect, I will work closely with the current Chair to build upon current endeavors and identify the specific interests and needs of current and future ECPs. I will prioritize finalizing the NCB ECP bylaws, increasing opportunities for ECPs (e.g., symposia, webinars, networking), and communicating with student transition members.
North Central Branch Student Affairs Committee Chair-Elect
North Dakota State University
Bio: Bethany Roberton is a current graduate research assistant at North Dakota State University (NDSU) pursuing her PhD in Entomology. Before attending NDSU, Bethany graduated with her MS degree in Biology from Emporia State University in 2021 and her BS degree in Biology and Wildlife Conservation & Management from Missouri Western State University in 2017. Bethany specifically researches pollinator conservation practices in managed landscapes as well as floral resource quality and the influence of decaying matter on insect communities. Bethany has presented her research at several conferences and meetings including the ESA North Central Branch Meeting, the Natural Areas Association Meeting, and the North Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society Meeting. Additionally, Bethany has received the Beatty-Munro Award in Entomology from NDSU and the Knipling Scholarship Enhancement Award.
Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Bethany has been a member of the Entomological Society of America and the North Central Branch since 2020 and is now serving her second year as a member on the NCB Student Affairs Committee. She attended the ESA NCB meeting in Minneapolis, MN, in 2022 where she was awarded first place for her oral presentation of her research, and she volunteered for the Entomology Games. Bethany is also a member, student liaison, and annual meeting planner for the North Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society, a member of NDSU’s Women in Science organization, and participates in the newly formed North Dakota Pollinator Working Group hosted by the Xerces Society.
Candidate statement: I am interested in serving in this position because I am passionate about student involvement within professional organizations and, I believe this position would allow me to facilitate connections with other students while also giving me leadership experience. If elected, I would like to establish set meetings for the Student Affairs Committee, delegate clear roles to student officers, promote activities that members are interested in both within the NCB annual meeting and outside of it, and advertise the annual meeting to entomology students. I want the SAC to create a welcoming experience that supports the NCB as well as creates connections amongst different universities and research projects.