President's Corner: Entomology Care

Alvin Simmons, Ph.D.

Alvin Simmons, Ph.D.

March 4, 2020

Spring is near and a host of entomological activities will soon be everywhere. Preparation for the Entomology 2020 program continues to build as illuminated through the exciting announcement of the Program Symposia this week. These are first-rate Program Symposia that are representatives of the 2020 theme “Entomology for All.” The Annual Meeting Program Committee is actively assessing all other submitted proposals for Section Symposia, Member Symposia, and Workshops. At first glance, it is obvious that an abundant trove of captivating proposals were submitted. As a vibrant Society, it is essential for us to strive to incorporate a wide range of inclusiveness in all that we do.  

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I briefly reflect on two women whose names were “must know” for qualifying examinations, defense of theses and dissertations, and practice sessions for Linnaean Games during my time as a graduate student at the University of Kentucky. One is Dr. Edith Patch, the first woman to serve as president of ESA in 1930. Nearly 60 years later, ESA members elected another woman, Dr. Dorothy Feir, as president (1989). The third woman elected as ESA president (1996) was Dr. Manya Stoetzel, the only woman from the U.S. Department of Agriculture so far to serve as ESA president. Drs. Sharron Quisenberry (2000), May Berenbaum (2016), and Susan Weller (2017) have since followed in their footsteps. 

The second “must know” was Dame Miriam Rothschild, who had a passion for diverse subjects of entomology and was an expert on fleas. She died in 2005 at 96 years of age. I have often heard that people do not pursue a career in entomology to become wealthy. Conversely, although Rothschild had considerable wealth, she pursued entomology because of her interest in the subject. Both of these women were, based on today’s classification, environmental activists, as they advocated for the environment. As a responsible scientific Society, we can work together to help take care of our planet.

I am confident that we will further embrace inclusiveness as we strive to be the Society that each of us will appreciate. As we kick off our Branch Meetings in just a couple of weeks, into these meetings let’s bring with us “Entomology for All.”

Alvin M. Simmons, Ph.D., FRES
President, Entomological Society of America
Charleston, South Carolina

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