Dora Mwangola, Ph.D. Student

Dora Mwangola


Brian Aukema


Nairobi, Kenya

Research Topic

Associational protection and potential non-target effects of systemic insecticide treatments against emerald ash borer

Previous Education

MSc. genetics, University of Pretoria, South Africa
BSc. Hons. Microbiology, Rhodes University, South Africa
BSc. Microbiology and Biochemistry, Rhodes University, South Africa

Why Insects?

I am interested in keeping trees/plants healthy and insects are a major threat to many forests and plants. Therefore, I wanted to get a better understanding of insects so I could learn how to protect trees/plants against insect pests or how to eradicate them. Although, after taking a couple entomology classes, I have developed a new appreciation for insects and arthropods in general. I am not only interested in how to get rid of them but now I am fascinated by how they interact with their environment and all the cool adaptations they have for surviving and thriving in their surroundings.   

Why University of Minnesota? What is your favorite thing about UMN?

Because I love the cold!! :D. Just kidding! I was interested in working with my current advisor and being part of our awesome lab, they do great work and are awesome people. My favorite thing about the U are the resources they have available for students to help with our mental/emotional and physical wellbeing and not just academics. I also love that I have many opportunities to engage with the public during outreach events. 


Interested in science communication, mentoring and working in forest/plant health management  

Favorite Insect

Dung beetles. They are very good at taking something that is not so great and using it. I think this is a good lesson we can all learn, life can throw some stinky balls your way and you can still make use them. Their strength and acrobatic skill is also something to be admired! 

Other interests/hobbies

I love making puns, laughing, sloths and I recently got into biking, the twin cities are great for going on biking adventures!

Coffee or tea?

Always coffee!