Candidates for the Southwestern Branch Elections

Southwestern Branch Elections will be held by electronic ballot and voting will open December 15, 2021 and close January 31, 2022 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time US.

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Southwestern Branch Secretary-Elect

Brandon G. Smythe
New Mexico State University

Bio: Dr. Brandon G. Smythe is a veterinary entomologist and Research Assistant Professor at New Mexico State University. Currently, Dr. Smythe is the Director of the Veterinary Entomology Research Laboratory (VERL) which now serves as an extension of the Agricultural Experiment Station in the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. Additionally, Dr. Smythe served as lead Principle Investigator of the VERL while acquiring his Ph.D. and since that time has established a successful program in veterinarian pharmaceutical parasiticide development garnering more than $3 million in contracted research that is largely proprietary. However, Dr. Smythe’s program has focused on leveraging these funds to support original research and student development in the area of veterinary entomology broadening impacts across the state, region, and national levels.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Smythe has been and continues to be an advocate and representative for New Mexico State University within the ESA community. Dr. Smythe has mentored multiple undergraduate and graduate students that have presented and placed in multiple competitions at the national and regional levels. Additionally, Dr. Smythe was the very first recipient of the SWB ESA Excellence in Early Career Award (2019). Along with volunteer roles including moderating, judging, and organizing section symposia, Dr. Smythe currently serves on the SWB ESA Awards Committee and the Student Research Paper and Poster Awards Committee. Furthermore, Dr. Smythe continues to interact with ECP members at both the branch and national levels.

Candidate statement: I would be honored to serve as the Secretary-Elect of the ESA-SWB. Having been part of the SWB as a graduate student and now as an early career professional, I have experienced first-hand, the benefits of involvement at the branch level and feel an obligation to give back similar to those who have served before me. Aside from the comradery and educational opportunities the SWB has to offer, I believe it is important for the branch to continue to grow and highlight the diversity of our region ensuring various networking and professional development opportunities are available and apparent to all of our members.

Sonja Swiger
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Bio: Sonja Swiger has been an active member of the entomological community for over 15 years. Swiger received her B.S. from Bethany College in Bethany, WV in 2001 where she participated in the Beta Beta Beta biological society and conducted circadian rhythm studies with Melanogaster drosophila. She conducted her graduate studies at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL, completing her M.S. in 2003 working with maggot mass temperature analysis and forensic fauna and her Ph.D. in 2007 investigating how blow fly larvae survive the extreme temperatures produced by a maggot mass. In the fall of 2008, she joined Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Livestock/Veterinary Entomology located at the Stephenville, TX Research and Extension Station. In 2017, Swiger was promoted to Associate Professor within Texas A&M University where she focuses on arthropod IPM of biting insects that impact livestock and humans. Swiger is responsible for adult educational outreach and research projects state-wide related to livestock/veterinary entomology and serves as the Extension contact for mosquito issues. Swiger is the Co-PI for 1 of 5 CDC-funded Centers of Excellence, the Western Gulf Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases, where she conducts the outreach education for the Gulf Region which includes TX, OK, AR, LA, and MS.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Swiger currently serves as the treasurer for the Medical, Urban, Veterinary Entomology-Entomological Society of America, is on the Executive Committee for the Livestock Insect Workers Conference, secretary for the Texas Mosquito Control Association, president-elect of the Society Southwestern Entomologists and has been the program co-chair for the Southwestern Branch ESA annual meeting five times. She has provided reviews for many journal articles for the Journal of Medical Entomology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Journal of IPM, Medical, and Veterinary Entomology, and others. Her publication record includes eight referred scientific journal articles, thirty-one extension publications, a pesticide applicator manual, and an online course in addition to several newsletters, Facebook, and blog posts. Swiger has been an active member of the ESA since 2003 and the Southwestern Branch of ESA since 2008. Sonja Swiger would be honored to serve as secretary-elect for the Southwestern Branch of ESA.

Candidate statement: I have had the honor and pleasure of working in a volunteer capacity for several Entomology related organizations and I would love to serve in the capacity of secretary-elect for the Southwestern Branch of ESA. I have a passion for continued education and mentoring upcoming entomologists and I feel this would give me the opportunity to continue to pursue that passion. I have helped organize and facilitate several conferences and meetings and I feel these gatherings are an integral part of our continued success as professionals. I would like to continue to bring cohesiveness and inclusion to all areas of entomology and I would look forward to supporting the governing body in doing this.


Southwestern Branch Treasurer

Robert W. Davis
BASF Professional & Specialty Solutions

Bio: Dr. Bob Davis’s positions have included Fisheries Biologist, Pest Control Technician & Operator, Extension Research Specialist, Graduate Research Assistant, Technical Director for ABC Pest & Lawn Services, and Technical Field Representative for Aventis & Bayer Environmental Sciences. Bob is employed as a Technical Services Representative for BASF Professional & Specialty Solutions. Bob received his B.S. degree in Natural Resources and M.S. & Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Nebraska. He is a Board Certified Entomologist. His graduate work was focused on testing and evaluating termite control materials and techniques. Bob has provided research & educational materials through peer-reviewed publications, extension and magazine venues. He has provided many educational and research presentations to the structural pest management industry for >25 years.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Bob served ESA as Southwestern Branch: Treasurer 2020-now, Past President 2015-16, President 2014-15, Vice President 2013-14, Secretary-Treasurer. 2012-13, and Secretary-Treasurer elect 2011-12. He has served ESA as Certification Program: Awards Committee Chair 2008-2010, Past-Director 2007-2008, Director 2005-2007, Director Elect 2003-2004, & Representative of the Southwestern Branch 2001-2003. Bob has served as North Central Branch: Entomology Games Committee Member 1992-93, Student Affairs Committee Member 1991-1994, Chair 1991-92, & Vice-Chair: 1990-91, and Employment Opportunity Center Chair 1991-92. He served as Texas Pest Control Association Education Committee Chair 1999-2000. Bob served in volunteer positions for >25 years in Scouting BSA (Assistant Scoutmaster, Venture Crew Advisor, Committee Chair & Merit Badge Counselor).

Candidate statement: If elected to serve as Treasurer of ESA-SWB I plan on continuing to help the Branch provide interactive, informative, educational, and fun Branch meetings. I will support SWB member involvement in the ESA Annual Meetings. My focus will be on ensuring the Branch financials are kept current and support SWB meetings and endeavors. I will work with the SWB Executive Committee, Audit Committee & Treasurer of ESA to properly prepare and report the Branch financial records. The Branch meetings are great opportunities for ESA members to network, learn, share information, and support students. I developed much of my professional acumen participating in NCB & SWB meetings as a student and ECP. Being able to help current students and professionals grow from Branch meeting involvement is fulfilling. I ask for your vote to support my service as Treasurer of the SWB. Thank You!

Adam Mitchell
Tarleton State University

Bio: Dr. Adam Mitchell is an Assistant Professor of Entomology in the Department of Wildlife and Natural Resources at Tarleton State University. Dr. Mitchell investigates anthropogenic impacts on the diversity, assembly, and functionality of arthropod communities in Texas, such as invasive species impacts on native food webs, pollinator response to drought and urbanization, and the efficacy of restoration techniques. Dr. Mitchell teaches general entomology, pollinator ecology, aquatic entomology, IPM, and animal-plant interactions at Tarleton, as well as advise the Tarleton Entomological Society and the Entomology concentration and minor offered in his department.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Adam Mitchell has been a member of Entomological Society of America in three different branches (Eastern, Southwestern, and Pacific). In 2015, Dr. Mitchell organized a members symposium at the national meeting in Minneapolis to promote collaborative relationships between entomologists and wildlife biologists and improve conservation efforts, which also included a discussion panel at an annual meeting of the Wildlife Society in Winnipeg of the same year. Dr. Mitchell serves as a board member for the Ecological Society of America's Restoration Ecology working group, of which he has prior Treasurer experience.

Candidate statement: Dr. Mitchell seeks to serve in this position as a means of becoming more involved with the branch and its opportunities. As Treasurer, he would foresee primary duties to include the management of branch funds for conferences and business meetings, as well as management of awards and scholarships provided by the branch to student researchers and organizations.

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