Spencer Stout, M.S. Student

Spencer Stout


Brian Aukema


Westminster, CO

Research Topic

I am researching an invasive pest of tamarack trees called larch casebearer, LCB. LCB was introduced into the US in the late 1800s and a successful biological control program was implement in the mid-1900s. However, LCB populations have resurged in the last few decades and I am here to figure out why.

Previous Education

Coe College, Bachelor of Arts in Biology

Why Insects?

Like most entomologists, I have been obsessed with insects since my childhood. After taking an introductory course in entomology during my undergraduate career, my passion was rekindled. Insects are simply fascinating due to their diversity of shape, behavior, and physiology.

Why University of Minnesota?

Minnesota’s lakes attracted me to the state and it was only natural that I look into the University of Minnesota’s Entomology Department. I decided to email Brian Aukema of the Forest Entomology Lab. Brian was very helpful during the entire process of getting into graduate school and the students in his lab were an extension of his kindness. Now that I am here, the community of students that I have gotten to know is wonderful. Every one I have met is intelligent, driven, and passionate in what they do. 


I hope to teach. Specifically, I want to teach at field stations such as Coe College’s Wilderness Field Station near the BWCAW.  I want to inspire the next generations of biologists to follow their passions.

Favorite Insect

This is a hard question to ask an entomologist! I would argue that the praying mantis is the coolest insect. I am pretty sure they arrived on earth via spaceships. 

Other interests/hobbies

Well I love the outdoors and everything that is associated or can be done in it. But that isn’t entirely uncommon amongst ecologists. What makes me unique is my love (or obsession) with art history. I decided to take an art history class in undergrad and I was hooked immediately. I fell in love with Rembrandt and Vermeer’s use of black pigments, M.C. Escher’s prints of impossible images, and Mark Rothko’s ability to use field color painting to evoke strong human emotions. I would love to volunteer at a museum to teach art history in retirement.

Coffee or tea?

Tea, of course.