ESA Names 2012 Award Winners

Lanham, MD; September 11, 2012 – The Entomological Society of America is pleased to announce the winners of its 2012 awards. The awards will be presented at Entomology 2012, ESA's 60th Annual Meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee from November 11-14, 2012.


Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension—This annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to extension entomology. Dr. Donald A. Rutz grew up on his family’s farm in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. degree in biology from Kutztown State College, his M.S. degree in entomology from Penn State University, and his Ph.D. in veterinary entomology from North Carolina State University. Don joined the entomology faculty at North Carolina State University in 1978, where he developed and served as director of the North Carolina Livestock and Poultry Integrated Pest Management Program, the first statewide implementation program of its kind in the United States.

Don and his wife Kathy moved to Ithaca, New York in 1981 when Don was offered a faculty position as an assistant professor of veterinary entomology in the Department of Entomology at Cornell. He was promoted to associate professor in 1987, and to full professor in 1995. Don’s extension, research, and teaching programs at Cornell have focused on the biology, ecology and management of arthropods of veterinary importance.

During his tenure at Cornell, Don also served six years as the Entomology Department extension leader, 11 years as the director of Cornell’s Pesticide Management Education Program, 10 years as chair of the Department of Entomology and six years as director of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program. A highlight of Don’s career in veterinary entomology occurred in 2004 when he received the Bayer Lifetime Achievement Award in Veterinary Entomology in recognition of his outstanding contributions to animal health and productivity.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology—This award, which is sponsored by Gowan Company, honors any ESA member who has contributed to the American horticulture industry. Dr. Kevin Heinz's major research focus has been to advance biological control in greenhouse horticultural systems through a fundamental understanding of basic ecological principals. By elucidating the fundamental principles associated with parasitoid sex allocation behavior and foraging strategies, Dr. Heinz has significantly advanced the adoption of biological control at the grower level. This approach of conducting discovery research with an idea on how this research can be applied to real-world problems has generated an outstanding peer-reviewed publication and grantsmanship record, a strong record of giving grower-oriented presentations across the country and around the world, and a track record of publishing numerous trade magazine articles aimed directly at greenhouse growers.

Dr. Heinz received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles, CA in 1979 and his master’s degree in biology from the University of California, Riverside in 1983. He received his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California, Riverside in 1989. He became an assistant professor of entomology at Texas A&M University in 1994 and continues to be on the faculty as professor of entomology. Additionally, he served as head of the Texas A&M Department of Entomology from 2002-2010, and he now serves as director of the Texas A&M Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program and as assistant provost for graduate studies. He continues to teach (including a freshman seminar on Bruce Springsteen and a research abroad class in forensics), and he conducts research that moves forward the foundation and practice of biological control.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching—This award is presented annually to the member of the Society deemed to be the most outstanding teacher of the year. Dr. Florence Dunkel is an associate professor of entomology in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology at Montana State University (MSU), where she teaches and conducts research on plant-based natural products for insect management. At MSU she developed 10 courses, including two university-wide core courses: “The Issues of Insects and Human Societies” and “Health, Poverty, Agriculture: Concepts and Action Research.” She teaches entomology as part of a system with foreign language faculty in service-learning courses, using the holistic process in long-term relationships established with material-resource poor communities. She links middle school students, teachers, and the local community with nearby scientists to conduct local research. Middle school students become fellow scientists with entomology professors while learning Montana Standards of Learning (SOLs).

Dunkel and co-investigators involved 131 undergraduate and graduate students in overseas (Mali) components, and an estimated 3,000 in U.S. classroom components. Entomology became woven into a program linking eight higher education institutions serving different cultures (Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Malian). Dr. Dunkel secured $1.5 million for discovery-based learning from the USDA-NIFA Challenge Grant Program and Higher Education for Development. Her publications include three books, three monographs, a book chapter, two patents, 45 peer-refereed publications, and 22 other publications. Dr. Dunkel received ESA Pacific Branch teaching awards in 1994, 1996, and 2012; the MSU President’s Award for Service Learning (2009); and the MSU Teaching and Learning Committee Award (2011). Dr. Dunkel served ESA as Chair of the PBT Section, Chair of the American Entomologist editorial board, organizer of many ESA symposia, and currently as Chair of the Publications Council. She has appeared with students on the Discovery Channel, PBS Evening News, the BBC, and TEDxbozeman, and has served as editor of the Food Insects Newsletter. She prepares insect feasts for rural Montana grade-school field days, Bozeman community events, regional and national ESA meetings,and she holds annual formal public debates on “microlivestock.”

Distinguished Service Award to the Certification Program—This award encourages, recognizes, and rewards outstanding contributions to the ESA Certification Program and the professionalism of entomology. Ms. Judy Black is vice president of technical services for Steritech’s Pest Prevention Division. Judy oversees Steritech’s pest prevention research, development, and technical operational support. Since joining Steritech in 1994, Judy has worked in a variety of technical and management roles, stepping into the position of technical director in 2005. Her promotion to vice president in early 2012 recognizes her success in that role and the work that she has done as a Steritech ambassador in the industry.

A staunch advocate for minimizing reliance on pesticides, Judy has been a strategic player in the development and evolution of Steritech’s proprietary EcoSensitive® System, an approach twice recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program for excellence in reducing the risks associated with pesticide usage. In a career spanning over 25 years, Judy has been a champion for the pest management industry, chairing the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA) Technical Committee for several years and serving as director of the ESA Certification Board 2007. She has a keen interest in developing industry standards for emerging issues, and recently served on NPMA’s Bed Bug Blue Ribbon Task Force. She has also authored two chapters for the definitive pest management text, the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control. For her work, Judy has earned accolades that include some of the industry’s highest honors, such as the Pest Control Technology Magazine/Syngenta Crown Technical Excellence Award (2007) and the Pest Control Technology Magazine Crown Leadership Award (2011). A resident of Broomfield, Colorado, Judy is a graduate of West Virginia University, where she earned a B.S. in agriculture with an emphasis on environmental protection, as well as an M.S. in entomology. She is a Board Certified Entomologist and a member of Pi Chi Omega, the national pest control fraternity.

Early Career Innovation Award—This award, which is sponsored by BASF, honors young professionals working within the field of entomology who have demonstrated innovation through contributions within any area of specialization (research, teaching, extension, product development, public service, etc.). Dr. Loganathan (Logu) Ponnusamy is a senior research scholar in the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University (NCSU). His main areas of research include molecular microbial ecology of bacterial populations in mosquito habitats, microbe-insect interactions, and oviposition site attractants of mosquitoes. He was born in Tamil Nadu, India in 1969 and obtained his B.S. degree from the University of Madras in 1991, his M.S. degree in 1995, and his Ph.D. in 2003 at the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, University of Madras, India. For his Ph.D. research, he discovered, characterized, and described a novel bacterial genus and species, Swaminathania salitolerans, a salt-tolerant, nitrogen-fixing, and phosphate-solubilizing bacterium from wild rice.

In 2004 he moved to NCSU and joined the laboratories of Drs. Charles Apperson and Coby Schal as a postdoctoral researcher. Their research project focused on developing a novel management strategy for the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector of the dengue viruses. In 2008, as researcher at NCSU, he investigated the role of microbes in mosquito oviposition, leading to a strategy that incorporates the most attractive bacteria into a sustained release formulation for coupling with a lethal trap. In 2012, Ponnusamy became a senior research scholar and is the principal investigator on an NIH R21 grant to identify bacterial factors that stimulate eggs of the mosquito Aedes aegypti to hatch. He authored 15 refereed publications, including papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Medical Entomology, Microbial Ecology and PLoS ONE. Dr. Ponnusamy has recently participated in a North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences research project to characterize the microbiome of the ticks Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum using pyrosequencing based methods.

Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology—Each year this award is given to an ESA member who is able to demonstrate through his/her projects or accomplishments an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology. Dr. John A. Byers is a research entomologist with the U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center (ALARC), USDA-ARS, in Maricopa, Arizona, where he studies chemical ecology of agricultural pest insects. John’s interest in entomology began at an early age when he watched harvester ants after school.

He attended Colorado State University, where he received a B.S. and an M.S. (1973) in entomology while studying midges that caused pinyon pine needle galls. He then attended the University of California, Berkeley and obtained a Ph.D. (1978) in entomology while researching bark beetles colonizing ponderosa pine. John then arrived in Sweden, where he worked for the next 20 years on chemical ecology research of bark beetles at Lund University and later at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp. The creativity and innovation of fellow researchers at both Berkeley and in Sweden were an inspiration that remains today. He returned to the USA in 2001 and was employed at the Western Cotton Research Laboratory (now part of ALARC). John has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles in many diverse areas of entomology and chemical ecology on subjects ranging from modeling to pheromone biosynthesis, and from insect behavior to plant volatile emissions (in 42 different journals on over 40 insect species, and with over 72 different co-authors from 12 countries). He has pioneered several concepts and methods in entomology as seen in his Java applets ( and computer programs. His website is among the most popular in entomology, with over 160,000 visitors per year:

Recognition Award in Entomology—This award, which is sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, recognizes entomologists who are making significant contributions to agriculture. Dr. Franklin (Frank) H. Arthur received a B.S. in forestry and wildlife ecology from the University of Florida (1976), and an M.S. (1982) and Ph.D. (1985) in entomology from North Carolina State University. In March of 1986 he joined the USDA-ARS Stored Product Insects Research and Development Laboratory in Savannah, Georgia as a research entomologist. The Savannah Laboratory was closed in 1994 and Dr. Arthur was transferred to the Center for Grain and Animal Health Research (CGAHR) in Manhattan, Kansas.

Dr. Arthur is responsible for planning, coordinating, and developing an independent research program on insect pest management in stored raw agricultural commodities, mills, and food warehouses. Research interests include evaluation of new, reduced-risk, low-toxicity insecticides for use in post-harvest environments; identification of the physical, biological, and environmental factors that affect insecticide efficacy; determining how these factors affect control programs; and promoting integrated pest management strategies to manage insect pests in raw bulk grain and processing facilities. Dr. Arthur has authored or co-authored 164 research publications in peer-reviewed journals and has given 202 oral presentations at professional meetings, research symposia, and technology transfer meetings. He is recognized nationally and internationally for his research.

Dr. Arthur is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Entomology at Kansas State University. He has been the co-advisor for four M.S. and three Ph.D. students, and served as an advisor for two additional M.S. and two additional Ph.D. students. These students currently have 25 published manuscripts. Dr. Arthur previously received the Excellence in Integrated Pest Management Award (2005) and the Recognition in Entomology Award (2012) from the ESA North Central Branch.

Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology—This award, which is sponsored by Apex Bait Technologies, Inc., was established in 1996 to recognize and encourage innovative research in the areas of insect physiology, biochemistry, and toxicology in the broad sense. Dr. Jeffrey G. Scott is a professor and the chair of the Department of Entomology at Cornell University. His research areas include insecticide resistance, toxicology, and evolutionary biology. A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, he received his B.S. in biochemistry from Michigan State, his M.S. in entomology from Michigan State, and his Ph.D. in entomology and toxicology from the University of California, Riverside, and he was a postdoctoral associate at the University of California, Berkeley before joining the faculty at Cornell in 1986.

A pioneer in the field of insecticide resistance, his outstanding work has led to a greater understanding of the mechanisms, evolution, and population genetics involved. He is the author of more than 170 peer-reviewed publications and has mentored numerous graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral associates, and visiting scientists. He currently serves on the editorial boards for Insect Molecular Biology (since 2008) and Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology (since 1997). He was previously the President of the Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Section of ESA. He has received many awards and honors, including the University of California-Riverside Outstanding Young Alumnus (1992), the Prominent Achievement Award from the Pesticide Science Society of Japan (1996), the Orkin Award for Research Excellence (1997), the Paul A. Dahm Memorial Lecturer (1999), and the Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Professor of Insect Physiology and Toxicology (2002).


Student Activity Award—This award, which is sponsored by Monsanto Company, is presented annually to recognize a student for outstanding contributions to the Society, his/her academic department, and the community, while still achieving academic excellence. Joy L. Newton is the IPM coordinator for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. She has conducted work in biological control of weeds, insect biodiversity, and land management effects on arthropods. Joy has taught introductory biology labs and mentored many undergraduate students.

She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from West Texas A&M University and pursued her Ph.D. at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her work now focuses on weed management, including biological control of weeds. She joined ESA in 2005 and has been very active in the Society at many levels.

She has been a member of the Southwestern Branch and has served on the Southwestern Branch Student Affairs Committee, Program Committee, and Local Arrangements Committee. She has volunteered numerous times at both the Branch and national meetings. She is currently the Chair of the ESA Student Affairs Committee, which she serves as the P-IE representative. She is committed to making sure that any student who wants to be involved with ESA will have an opportunity to contribute to the Society. She is an active member in her church and community and enjoys spending quality time with her family and dogs.

John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Awards—These six awards are given to one graduate student from each ESA Branch to promote interest in entomology and to stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting.

Sarah Jandricic (Eastern Branch) grew up thinking she was going to be a zoologist, a marine biologist, and an environmental lawyer. At age 22, she decided she should settle on just one profession and picked entomology after falling in love with honey bees, and then with all other insects at the University of Guelph (UG) in Ontario, Canada. Under the guidance of Drs. Cynthia Scott-Dupree and Bruce Broadbent (AAFC), Sarah earned an M.S. in environmental biology and toxicology from UG by assessing the compatibility of the biological control agent Dalotia (Atheta) coriaria with other soil-dwelling biocontrol agents and pesticides.

After completing her graduate degree, Sarah enjoyed a stint in industry, working for two years as the director for research for Eco Habitat Agri-Services, a company offering integrated pest management consulting for greenhouse crops in the Niagara region. Realizing she had so much more to learn about insect pests and biological control, she returned to academia in 2007 to begin her Ph.D. at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY with Dr. John Sanderson. Her project investigates the oviposition behavior and biocontrol efficacy of the aphidophagous predator Aphidoletes aphidimyza (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in multi-aphid species environments, as well as aspects of the biology of the emerging greenhouse pest, foxglove aphid (Aulacorthum solani). Sarah will be graduating in June 2013, and hopes to continue in the field of applied entomology throughout her career.

Mr. Md. Panna Ali (International Branch) received his B.S. degree in agriculture from Bangladesh Agricultural University and completed his M.S. degree in entomology in 2005, specializing in biological control of insect pests. Following graduation, he joined the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute in Gazipur in January, 2007 and was appointed scientific officer of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute in November, 2007. In 2010, he was offered and accepted a Japanese Government Scholarship (MEXT) to pursue his Ph.D. research in Japan.

He has developed and completed research on sap-feeding insects and their management through chemical and biocontrol agents. He has authored 14 papers on insect pests and their management. He understood that insecticide-based approaches to controlling insect pests were largely incompatible with sustainable agriculture. Alternative approaches are required to alleviate the environmental impacts of agrochemicals.

A long-term aim of his research is to use biotechnology as well as IPM to control sap-feeding insects by targeting the saliva that is secreted during feeding. Identifying the bioactive components within planthopper saliva will present a significant advance,and ultimately may contribute to a novel approach to their control. In addition, he has a broad interest in science in general and is a member of several scientific societies within Bangladesh (Bangladesh Entomological Society, and Seed Science and Technology) as well as other international societies (Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology, Entomological Society of America, and the International Association of Plant Protection Sciences).

Dr. Julie A. Peterson (North Central Branch) completed her Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky with Dr. James D. Harwood in May 2012 and is currently a postdoctoral associate with Dr. George Heimpel at the University of Minnesota. Previously, she completed a B.A. in zoology and Spanish at Ohio Wesleyan University. Dr. Peterson is from Louisville, Kentucky.

Julie’s Ph.D. research focused on the ecology of generalist predators (spiders and carabids) in agroecosystems, with an emphasis on food-web interactions in transgenic crops. Her project used a multifaceted approach, utilizing antibody-based and DNA-based technology with field and laboratory studies, which provides a significant advance in understanding the movement of Bt-corn proteins in invertebrate food webs and aids in the risk-assessment of genetically-modified organisms in the environment. Additionally, Julie’s research examined the potential for linyphiid spiders to utilize corn pollen as a supplementary resource in their diets.

Julie has published four peer-reviewed journal articles and one book chapter. In addition, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA and was awarded several fellowships and scholarships, including the Kentucky Opportunity Fellowship and the Kentucky Women in Agriculture Scholarship. Julie has earned over $8,000 in travel and research grants and presented 34 posters and papers (9 invited) at national and international conferences, winning seven awards for oral presentations. Dr. Peterson was honored to have received the Robert J. O’Neil Award from the International Organization for Biological Control in 2011. She is an active leader in the ESA North Central Branch, for whom she co-organized five symposia and served on several committees, including as Chair of the Student Affairs Committee. Julie is also a student leader in her department, and served as president of the UK Garman Entomology Club. She has participated in over 20 extension and outreach activities, has served as a teaching assistant, and has given guest lectures at college and high schools.

Dr. Joyce Parker (Pacific Branch) has always been fascinated by insects, and after working one summer for the USDA-ARS Beneficial Insect Unit in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, she decided to pursue her interests further in entomology. Joyce received her M.S. in agriculture biology at New Mexico State University with Dr. David Thompson. There, Joyce examined the impacts of insect herbivory on swainsonine, an alkaloid toxin in locoweed species. The goal of this project was to reduce the negative impacts of locoweed on the livestock industry with implications for conservation weed biocontrol.

Joyce went on to receive her Ph.D. in entomology at Washington State University under the supervision of Dr. William Snyder, and with Dr. Sanford Eigenbrode from the University of Idaho. During her doctoral research she explored sustainable pest management strategies for the crucifer flea beetle by developing trap cropping and companion-planting techniques that examined how to “ecologically engineer” broccoli fields to discourage pests and encourage beneficial insects.

Joyce has been very active in entomology outreach and education. She has organized several Natural Pest Management Field Days, cooperating with a local organic farm in Sandpoint, ID. Joyce has also competed in several student paper competitions and has received first place for each presentation. In addition, Joyce was awarded second place as an outstanding graduate student from the Washington State University Association for Faculty of Women for her doctoral research. Currently, Joyce is a postdoctoral research associate under the supervision of Dr. Cesar Rodriguez-Saona at Rutgers University, where she is investigating spatial distribution and pest management strategies for the brown marmorated stink bug in blueberries. She hopes to pursue a career in applied entomology and agriculture policy.

Dr. Dustin A. Swanson (Southeastern Branch) was raised in Illinois. He developed an interest in biology from watching the various animals around and on his family farm and decided early in high school that biology was his career path.

He attended Illinois College, majoring in biology and chemistry. He did not become interested in entomology until his senior year when he took the first entomology course offered at Illinois College and fell in love with the diversity of insects. He went on to study entomology at Clemson University with Dr. Peter Adler, initially working with biting flies.

He earned his M.S. in entomology from Clemson and elected to stay in Clemson for his Ph.D., working in Dr. Adler’s lab. While working with biting flies, he became familiar with ceratopogonids. The challenge of ceratopogonid taxonomy and the relatively open niche in the group lead to Dustin’s focus on this family. His dissertation work was on the ecology and phylogenetics of the biting-midge genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). He successfully defended his dissertation in July, graduated from Clemson in August, and currently resides in northern Kentucky with his wife and son. This fall he started a position as an assistant professor of biology at Thomas More College.

Dr. Apurba Barman (Southwestern Branch) received his undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences from Assam Agricultural University, India. Subsequently, he worked as a senior research fellow at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, conducting research on insect growth regulators, Bt-resistance in diamondback moth and heliothine populations, and breeding shoot-fly-resistant sorghum cultivars. Apurba received his M.S. in entomology from Texas Tech University, where he investigated the compensation ability of cotton to Lygus hesperus damage and its inter-host movement in the Texas High Plains agro-ecosystem. Apurba earned his Ph.D. in entomology from Texas A&M University.

In his dissertation research, using molecular markers and geometric-morphometric methods, he documented the genetic and phenotypic variation in cotton fleahopper populations of cotton-growing states in the U.S., and also populations associated with crop and non-crop host plants. Apurba has published seven refereed journal articles, 14 proceeding papers, and several extension reports. Apurba was recognized at student oral presentation competitions during the 2006 and 2011 national Beltwide Cotton Conferences. Apurba has also received independent research grants, several scholarships, and travel grants.

Apurba’s involvement in ESA includes participation in the Linnaean Games, student volunteer, moderator, judge, symposium organizer, and invited speaker. Apurba is actively involved in outreach programs, especially ones which stimulate interest in entomology among youths. He also enjoys mentoring undergraduates and helping fellow students in their research. At Texas A&M, Apurba taught an IPM course section to undergraduate and graduate students. Apurba’s primary research interests are in understanding the molecular ecology of insect pests and natural enemies, and applications of this information in an effective IPM program. Further, he is also interested in the study of hemipteran pests and their role in plant feeding and transmission of plant pathogens. Currently, Apurba is investigating interactions between insect vectors and plant pathogens of vegetable crops in his postdoctoral research at the University of Georgia.