Maggie Shanahan, Ph.D Candidate

Maggie Shanahan


Marla Spivak

Previous Education:

B.S. in Biology at University of PUget Sound


Superior, CO

Research Topics:

Resin use and social immunity in honey bees and stingless bees

Why Insects?

As if their exquisite beauty weren’t enough, insects intersect a variety of systems in a fascinating way. They shape our ecosystems and agricultural systems, and even help us detect and address imbalances in those environments. They also have great personalities.

Why University of Minnesota?

I first came to UMN as a research technician during college. Though I went to school on the West Coast, I spent summers in Minnesota learning bees and research from the folks at the Bee Lab. My favorite thing about Minnesota is how, at the end of the winter, when it seems almost impossible, the trees turn green again.


I'd like to learn to make good, quality beeswax candles in interesting shapes, like the ones Ginger makes for the honey sale. I'm also interested in teaching, and in pairing science with action towards a more sustainable and just society. One of my long term goals is to re-forest spent pasture to create habitat and forage for bees, and to plant trees that live long enough to provide hollows for tree-dwelling bees to next.

Favorite Insect:

Tetragonisca angustula; all of the cephalotrigonas (stingless bees with disproportionately large heads

Other interests/hobbies:

Above average as a baker. Skilled swing dancer. As a soccer player, what I lack in talent I make up in enthusiasm. Fluent in Spanish, with a malleable accent.

Coffee or tea?