Entomological Foundation Names its 2013 Awardees

Annapolis, MD; September 11, 2013 -- The Entomological Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of its 2013 awards. The awards will be presented at Entomology 2013, the 61st Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Austin, TX from November 10-13, 2013.


ENTOMOLOGICAL FOUNDATION MEDAL OF HONOR—This award is the highest award presented by the Foundation and is given only to those who have attained preeminence in the field through outstanding contributions. Dr. John Acorn was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1958 and has been fascinated with animals since a very early age. He still lives in Edmonton, with his wife Dena and their two sons, Jesse and Benjamin. John is perhaps best known as the writer and host of the television series Acorn, The Nature Nut, a family-oriented, how-to-be-a-naturalist show. He also hosted Twits and Pishers, a travel show for bird watchers, as well as the gallery videos of the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology. John has written 17 books, including many well-received field guides, and he produces a regular column, The Terminal Segment, for American Entomologist. These days John teaches at the University of Alberta and continues his involvement with public communication in a variety of forms. John is the recipient of NSERC’s Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion, the University of Alberta’s Distinguished Alumni Award, two “Rosies” (as Best Host in the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Awards), and two nominations for Canada’s national television award, the Gemini. The Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Society of Zoologists, and the Entomological Society of Alberta have all recognized his contributions to public education.

AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT—This award, which is sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, is based on outstanding contributions which have a direct relation to integrated pest management (IPM). Dr. Douglas B. Walsh received his BS in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1985 and his PhD in entomology from the University of California, Davis in 1998. Dr. Walsh was hired as an assistant professor at Washington State University in 1998. He is currently a professor of entomology at WSU, holding a 50% organized research/ 50% extension academic appointment. Dr. Walsh is the research director of the Environmental and Agricultural Entomology Laboratory located at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in the Yakima Valley near Prosser, Washington. He is the extension integrated pest management coordinator for Washington State and the Washington state liaison representative to the USDA IR-4 Program. Dr. Walsh has an extensive and varied IPM research and extension program, assisting regionally important commodities including hops, alfalfa, grapes, mint, and livestock. Dr. Walsh also directs environmental impact studies on alfalfa leafcutting and alkali bees, the key pollinators of alfalfa produced for seed. Dr. Walsh’s efforts in IPM have resulted in the reduction of over 100,000 pounds of insecticide use in the Pacific Northwest annually. Dr. Walsh serves on various advisory boards including the National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance, Salmon Safe, and LIVE (low input viticulture and enology) programs. Dr. Walsh has served the Pacific Branch of the ESA as President in 2010, Executive Committee Member (2007-2009), Nominations Committee Chair (2010-2011), Representative to the National Awards Committee (2006-2009), and Awards Canvassing Chair (2001-2006 and 2011). Recently Dr. Walsh was selected to represent the Pacific Branch on the ESA Governing board from 2014 through 2016. Dr. Walsh accounts his success as a scientist to the mentoring he received from the University of California, exceptional colleagues, hard working staff and graduate students, loving friends and family, and rock solid support from Washington State University and the commodity organizations he serves.

INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT TEAM AWARD—This award, which is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, recognizes the successful pest-control efforts of a small, collaborative work team which includes at least one entomologist from the private sector and one from the public sector. The Risk Assessment of Bt Plants on Beneficial Non-target Arthropods (NTA) IPM Team members include Jörg Romeis (Agroscope, Switzerland), Anthony M. Shelton (Cornell), Steven E. Naranjo (USDA-ARS), Richard L. Hellmich (USDA-ARS), Morven A. McLean (Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, USA), Alan Raybould (Syngenta, UK), Marco P. Candolfi (Innovative Environmental Services, Switzerland), Jian J. Duan (USDA-ARS), Joseph E. Huesing (USAID/BFS), and Raymond J. Layton (Pioneer Hi-Bred, USA). The NTA IPM team has significantly enhanced the environmental risk assessment of Bt crops. They have developed research and outreach information needed by scientific and regulatory communities to understand potential risks and benefits of Bt crops to beneficial non-target arthropods (NTA). The team developed a science-based framework for assessing the potential risks by Bt proteins (and future insecticidal compounds) on beneficial NTAs, made a proposal on how to select surrogate species for laboratory toxicity studies, developed a guidance document on the design criteria for robust and reliable laboratory studies, and conducted non-target studies in the laboratory and in the field on a broad community of species. Additionally, existing data sets from laboratory and field studies throughout the world were analyzed that showed currently used Bt crops do not cause any unexpected detrimental effects on predators or parasitoids or on the biological control function they provide. These analyses also helped to validate the tier-testing system used by various regulatory agencies. In crops where the introduction of Bt-transgenic varieties results in significant reductions of insecticide applications, clear benefits on arthropod abundance in general, and natural enemies in particular, were found. Bt crops have become a valuable component of IPM by contributing to natural enemy conservation while at the same time protecting the crops from targeted pests. Overall, the assessment and testing approaches developed by the team will enhance the robustness and rigor of risk assessment and thus increase the environmental safety of Bt crops and other novel transgenic crops in the future.

HENRY & SYLVIA RICHARDSON RESEARCH GRANT—This grant provides research funds to postdoctoral ESA members who have at least one year of promising work experience, are undertaking research in selected areas, and have demonstrated a high level of scholarship. Dr. Doo-Hyung Lee is a postdoctoral research associate at USDA-ARS, Appalachian Fruit Research Station (AFRS), Kearneysville, WV. Doo-Hyung received his undergraduate degree in agricultural biology from Korea University and his master’s degree in bioresource and ecology under the guidance of Dr. Kijong Cho at the same university. His master’s project focused on developing mathematical models of spatial distributions and interactions among insect pest populations in greenhouse systems. Doo-Hyung received his PhD in entomology from Cornell University under the guidance of Drs. Jan Nyrop and John Sanderson. His dissertation research examined how habitat structures and non-consumptive predator effects could affect resource use patterns by herbivorous pests and its implications for pest management. Doo-Hyung joined Dr. Tracy Leskey’s lab at AFRS in November, 2011 as a postdoctoral researcher where he studies the overwintering and dispersal ecology of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug, and he applies this knowledge to enhance management tactics for this destructive pest in agricultural ecosystems. He is also very enthusiastic with extension and outreach programs and delivers research findings to the scientific and public communities using diverse outlets. 

RECOGNITION AWARD IN URBAN ENTOMOLOGY—This award, which is sponsored by S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., recognizes and encourages outstanding extension, research, and teaching contributions in urban entomology. Dr. Jules Silverman is Charles G. Wright Distinguished Professor of Structural Pest Management at North Carolina State University. He received his PhD in entomology from the University of California, Riverside in 1981, specializing in the biology and management of insect pests of urban importance with a focus on the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Dr. Silverman was an R&D scientist at American Cyanamid Co. and the Clorox Company from 1981–1999. As an industry scientist, Dr. Silverman made key contributions, including bioassay design, to the development of the first effective consumer and professional bait products for cockroach and ant control (COMBAT® and MAXFORCE®). He is co-discoverer of the first example of behavioral resistance—glucose-aversion—in the German cockroach. Dr. Silverman joined the faculty at North Carolina State University in 1999. His research has focused on the behavior, ecology, and management of invasive ants, particularly the Argentine ant and Asian needle ant. His notable accomplishments (with graduate students, postdoctoral associates, and colleagues) include discovering the role of prey-based cues in modifying Argentine ant nestmate recognition, determining the importance of hemipteran honeydew for Argentine ant colony founding success, and identifying trap mulching as an Argentine ant management strategy. Dr. Silverman was subject editor for the household and structural insects section of the Journal of Economic Entomology and ESA Subsection Fb Chair, Vice-chair, and Secretary. He has authored/co-authored more than 70 publications (including an invited review), been granted five patents, given numerous invited presentations, and received several awards.

PRESIDENT’S PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN PRIMARY EDUCATION—This award, which is sponsored by the Entomological Society of America, recognizes a primary school educator (grades K-6) who has gone beyond the traditional teaching methods by using insects as educational tools. Laura Gagnon is the school library media specialist at Joseph B. Radez Elementary in Cobleskill-Richmondville School District, located about 40 minutes west of Albany, New York. She received a BA in social studies education (grades 7-12) from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, and her MSIS from the State University of New York at Albany. As a librarian for a school of 460 students in grades three through five, she teaches 21 classes a week in information literacy skills and provides resources to staff and students to support the curriculum. She incorporates the talents of members of the local learning community, which have included astronauts, archaeologists, historians, videographers, authors, veterinarians, soil scientists, and farmers. Her daily collaborations and co-teaching projects have won numerous awards, including the New York State Archives Student Research Award. Her interest in entomology was ignited by master beekeepers Bob and Alyson Montione.

PRESIDENT’S PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SECONDARY EDUCATION—This award, which is sponsored by the Entomological Society of America, recognizes a secondary school educator (grades 7-12) who has gone beyond the traditional teaching methods by using insects as educational tools. Joyce Forand-Voorhis is a biology teacher employed at Brockton High School, an urban public high school of 4,500 students in Southern Massachusetts. Joyce finds that insects are often overlooked in standardized test-driven biology classes, but can be used to inspire in students a sense of awe of the vast diversity and complexity of life on our planet. Insects are also a perfect, easy-to-find, inexpensive vehicle that can be used to direct inquiry-based scientific learning. Students usually enjoy the outdoors, and all types of learning of the scientific process occur as students map, analyze sampling areas and conditions, attempt to standardize sampling techniques, use keys to identify insects, and evaluate biodiversity. Her Junior IB Biology students were also challenged to analyze bacterial DNA from the endosymbionts found within sampled insects. A 13-year, second-career teacher, Joyce began teaching after 20 years in the medical laboratory field. She has received several student-selected teaching awards, and in 2009 was named an MIT Inspirational Teacher by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.


JEFFERY P. LAFAGE GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH AWARD—This grant, which was established by an endowment from donations by Rousell Bio, Dow AgroSciences, FMC, and the friends and family of Dr. Jeffery P. LaFage, is awarded to a graduate student who proposes innovative research that advances or contributes significantly to the knowledge of the biology or control of pests in the urban environment, especially termites or other wood-destroying organisms. Brittany Delong is a graduate research assistant in the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech. She received her BS degree in biology from a small college located in Georgia. Following graduation, she worked as a research technician at the UGA marine institute under Dr. Steve Pennings. While at the institute, she studied insect and crab herbivory of Iva plants in salt marsh communities located on a small island off the coast of Georgia. She also worked as a research assistant during the summer of 2010 on a rapid NSF grant investigating the impact of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill on insect communities along the Eastern seaboard. These research experiences led Brittany to graduate school at Virginia Tech, where she is currently a master’s candidate investigating the role the bed bug eggshell plays in insecticide resistance. She has currently investigated metabolic rates and resistance of bed bug eggs and the morphological features of the bed bug eggshell. Brittany has one peer-reviewed publication (and three in-prep from her master’s thesis) and has given seven presentations to both the pest control industry and at scientific meetings. She is an active member of the W.B. Alwood Entomology Society at Virginia Tech and the Entomological Society of America.

LARRY LARSON GRADUATE STUDENT AWARD FOR LEADERSHIP IN APPLIED ENTOMOLOGY—This award, which is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, recognizes Dr. Larry Larson’s role as a leader and pioneer in insect management and carries that legacy to the next generation of leaders in applied entomology. Natalie Boyle is a graduate research assistant in the Department of Entomology at Washington State University. She joined the lab of Dr. Doug Walsh last year, and her dissertation research focuses on evaluating the impacts of pollinator-mediated gene flow in alfalfa seed production. Alfalfa is the first major perennial geneticall-engineered crop, and seed production is largely dependent upon the pollination services of the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata. Surprisingly, little is known about the contribution that the alfalfa leafcutting bee makes to gene flow in alfalfa production regions. Based on her findings, Natalie hopes to develop best management practices for seed producers which would minimize undesired movement of transgenes into sensitive production regions. Natalie received her master’s degree in entomology under Dr. Steve Sheppard at Washington State University, where she examined the influence of pesticide residues in brood comb on honey bee colony health and performance. She holds a BS degree in entomology from Western Washington University.

LILLIAN & ALEX FEIR GRADUATE STUDENT TRAVEL AWARD IN INSECT PHYSIOLOGY, BIOCHEMISTRY, OR MOLECULAR BIOLOGY—This award aims to encourage graduate students working with insects or other arthropods in the broad areas of physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to affiliate with ESA’s Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Section and to attend the ESA Annual Meeting or an International Congress of Entomology. Brittany F. Peterson is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Life Science Program (PULSe) and the Department of Entomology at Purdue University. She received both her BS and MS degrees in biology from Western Illinois University. Currently, under the direction of Dr. Michael Scharf, she is investigating how the gut microbiome of the termite Reticulitermes flavipes impacts host digestion and immunocompetence. The goal of her dissertation is to generate a better understanding of the broad physiological importance of prokaryotic symbionts in the termite gut. Using antimicrobial treatments, she has shown that the bacterial community significantly impacts the efficiency of lignocellulose degradation in the R. flavipes gut. Brittany has also generated and sequenced a clone library from each antimicrobial treatment in an effort to pinpoint how these treatments impact gut biodiversity. Moving forward, her project will focus on how gut symbionts impact disease resistance and the tradeoffs between nutrition and immunity.

SHRIPAT KAMBLE URBAN ENTOMOLOGY GRADUATE STUDENT AWARD FOR INNOVATIVE RESEARCH—The Entomological Foundation recognizes the contributions of Dr. Shripat Kamble in urban entomology and his services to entomology, the Entomological Society of America, and to the ESA Certification Program. This award is provided to a doctoral student who is currently conducting research which demonstrates innovative and realistic approaches to urban entomology. Garima Kakkar is a PhD candidate in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida under the guidance of Dr. Nan-Yao Su. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delhi, India, Garima earned an MS in entomology from the University of Florida. Her dissertation research involves evaluation of factors affecting the time taken by a chitin synthesis inhibitor based baiting program in subterranean termite colony elimination. Bait technology added another tool for management of subterranean termites in recent years, but there remain challenges due to the large colony size and cryptic nature of subterranean termites. Her research will help understand the termite’s complex biological system and whether the time taken for elimination of subterranean termite colonies using CSI baits can be reduced. Garima has 10 peer-reviewed research papers, three extension articles, and a book chapter to her credit. She has received numerous awards and has won several competitions from her participation at student paper presentations and the Linnaean Games in the past. Currently, she is serving on executive committee of the Florida Entomological Society.

STAN BECK FELLOWSHIP—This award assists needy students at the graduate or undergraduate level of their education in entomology and related disciplines at a college or university in the United States, Mexico, or Canada. Erika García is an undergraduate at San Diego State University majoring in biology with a zoology emphasis. She was introduced to the fascinating diversity of the terrestrial arthropod fauna of California and Oregon in 2011. The impressive diversity of this terrestrial arthropod fauna, coupled with the relative lack of knowledge about these organisms, strongly kindled her career interests. Since 2011, Erika has participated in two original research projects at her home institution and at the California Academy of Sciences. Erika is a student in Dr. Marshal Hedin’s Lab of Arachnid Evolution, Systematics, and Conservation, studying armored harvestmen (Opiliones, Laniatores). This research tests species-level hypotheses in the Bishopella laciniosa species complex, which is widely distributed throughout the heterogeneous landscape of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Her research at the California Academy of Sciences with Dr. Charles Griswold involves the systematics and evolution of the orb-web building araneoid spider genus Cyatholipus, endemic to the Afromontane regions of South Africa. With an expected graduation date of December, 2013, Erika plans to apply to both PhD and master’s programs in the field of entomology and terrestrial arthropod biology. She hopes to make significant contributions to understanding biodiversity and the evolutionary processes that give rise to diversity. Her career goals are to obtain a faculty research position to spread awareness of the captivating complexity of arthropod life. Ultimately, through education and research, she aspires to help eliminate quotidian practices that threaten species rich habitats and improve efforts of conservation.

The Entomological Foundation is a national, not-for-profit organization made up of representatives from the public and private sectors, including academic institutions, government, and business and industry. Their mission is to build a future for entomology by educating young people about science through insects. For more information, please visit http://www.entfdn.org/index.php.