Department of Entomology Newsletter | Summer 2021

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Message from Department Head, Sujaya Rao 

Sujaya RaoGreetings!

Welcome change is around the corner as we emerge from a year of unprecedented upheaval! In fall 2021, UMN campuses will return to a new normal with most courses offered on campus and an increase in online instruction given its appeal to students.
Spring was a time for celebration! We congratulated graduates and undergraduates that completed their programs and moved to their next endeavors, while faculty, staff and students received accolades nationally and locally. I share these with you while announcing a new Insect Science Pathways Scholarship for enhancing diversity in our program. Join me in this new opportunity for building a pipeline of diverse entomologists for tomorrow’s workforce. See details below.
Happy Reading! Send us your thoughts and ideas on this format, our successes and events – we welcome your feedback.

Have a great summer!

Congratulations to our Graduates!

commencementDuring the 2021 virtual commencement on May 14, our M.S. and Ph.D. graduates were honored. Congratulations on successful completion of your programs! We wish you well in your future endeavors – wherever they may take you! 
Rafael Carlesso Aita
Hollie Dalenberg
Jonathan Dregni
Zach Smith
Edwin Benkert

Additionally, in May, Spencer Stout (M.S.) and Ian Lane (Ph.D.) defended their theses.

Welcoming New Graduate Students - Spring 2021

M.S. – Entomology

Josie Dillon

Undergraduate Education Successes

Our efforts to support UMN students through new class offerings and course delivery methods, new scholarships, and new programs for students in the Insect Science Minor have led to amazing successes! We now offer 9 courses for Liberal Education (LE) credit, quadrupling the number of offerings that were available in 2017! Three of these are also available entirely online, allowing for greater flexibility for students looking to complete their LE requirements. Our courses continue to draw students from colleges typically unrepresented in entomology – Carlson School of Management, Nursing, Education and Human Development, Design, Engineering. As a result, student credit hours for the department have tripled over the last three years. Additionally, enrollment in the Insect Science Minor increased nine-fold in recent years from only three in Spring 2015 to 28 in Spring 2021! Graduating seniors also increased from one to eight over that same timeframe!

New programs initiated for enhancing student engagement and success include a Graduate-Undergraduate mentoring program, and an Insect Science Pathways Scholarship to encourage and support a diverse student population in our undergraduate Minor.

Insect Science Minor Spotlight

The new Insect Science Minor reached a new enrollment high during the 2020-2021 school year with 28 enrolled students! Our students come from a diverse range of programs, but all share the same excitement for entomology and desire to explore the world of insects. We are particularly happy to announce the graduation of the following eight students during the last academic year.
Samantha Broadfoot (Major: Plant & Microbial Biology)
Izzy Bur (Major: Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology; Minor: Environmental Sciences Policy and Management)
Taylor Chevalier (Major: Animal Science)
Gabriel Jimenez (Major: Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology)
Michelle Jugovich  (Major: Plant Science)
Calla Morrissey (Maor: Plant Science)
Jillian Neece (Major: Plant & Microbial Biology; Minor: Sustainability Studies)
Jun Seok Ryoo (Major: Psychology)

Reflections by recent Insect Science Minor graduates:

Izzy Bur

Izzy Bur

"My classes in the Insect Science minor covered a wide range of interesting topics, including pollination biology, aquatic pollution and indicator species, communication within social insect colonies, integrated pest management, and conservation science and policy. I also gained important technical skills, such as identifying, pinning, and rearing insects. The professors are very knowledgeable and passionate about their work, and the small class sizes made it easy to form connections. 

A huge thanks to the graduate students and faculty that have taken the time to help with my resumes and cover letters, prepared me for my first entomology conference, and connected me with job opportunities and interesting scientists in the field. I feel well equipped to pursue a career in entomology!"

Samantha Broadfoot

Samantha Broadfoot

“I've loved insects ever since I was a little kid, so I was overjoyed when I found out that the entomology program here was filled with such engaging classes, professors, and hands-on experiences working with insects. I am so grateful to have met the wonderful people in this department who continue to encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. Although I'm sad that I have to leave this program now that I'm graduating, I know that I am doing so as a much better scientist and more well-rounded person than I was when I arrived”.  

Hannah Bodmer Receives Prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Hannah Bodmer, an undergraduate in the Insect Science Minor, was awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship! She was one of only 4 selected to represent U of M, and 1 of only 410 selected nationwide from a pool of 1256 natural science, engineering, and mathematics students nominated by 438 institutions!

Congratulations, Hannah! A great honor!!!

Insect Science Pathways Scholarship

Recent events have forcefully highlighted the inequities and barriers that exist for some student populations at the University of Minnesota. These events have sparked conversations within the Entomology department about not only what we can do to facilitate student support, but also how we can actively encourage greater diversity in the Department to promote an environment rich in experiences, backgrounds and identities. We are excited to announce the new Insect Science Pathways Scholarship for the undergraduate Insect Science Minor at UMN, a new scholarship to enhance the diversity of our program and of future entomologists. 

pathways scholarship

Achievements & Honors

medalsCongratulations to our undergraduates, graduates, staff, and faculty on their selection for fellowships, awards, student competition prizes, and other honors and achievements at UMN, nationally, and internationally! Details in the link below. 

We are pleased to announce that the Lugger-Radcliffe Fellowship is now being awarded as a summer stipend thanks to the generosity of donors. 

achievements and awards

Upcoming Events

socialUMN ENTO Alumni Social

We are excited that the first ever UMN Ento Alumni Social held virtually in Fall 2020 drew over 40 attendees, including former department Heads Richard Jones and Mark Ascerno. Based on its success and the feedback, annually two socials will be organized, one in spring/summer and one in fall. Please join us for the second social UMN Ento Alumni Social on Friday June 25 at 12:30 pm.


Research News Spotlight

Small Wonders

small wondersSmall Wonders is a monthly feature that profiles insects and other arthropods found in Minnesota. These articles are intended to inform interested laypersons and generate interest in entomology! Please read about the latest Small Wonder, the great black wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus


Alumni, get involved! The UMN Alumni Association recently developed and funded the Maroon and Gold Network, a free, online platform for career-related advice and networking that has grown to more than 5,000 alumni and students in 44 countries and 46 states plus Washington DC! 

maroon and gold

Hodson Graduate Alumni Award

The Hodson Graduate Alumni Award, named in honor of Dr. Alexander Hodson, Department Head from 1960-1974, recognizes and honors an outstanding alumna or alumnus of the Department of Entomology. It will now be awarded every other year. Stay tuned for the call for nominations in early spring 2022.

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