Students in the News

Eric FlyingThe Human Dung Beetle Competes Again!

May 4, 2018
Entomology Ph. D. Candidate Eric Middleton has been competing on NBC's American Ninja Warrior for the past two seasons. The first season he competed, Eric was given the nickname The Human Dung Beetle. This week, Eric received the call to compete again this year! The filming and competition will take place here in Minneapolis at US Bank Stadium on May 25th! Congratulations, Eric, and good luck in your training!

Sam WardSam Ward Wins Memorial Scholarship

March 28, 2018

Sam Ward wins the 2018 Western Forest Insect Work Conference Memorial Scholarship, which recognizes the top graduate
student in the field of forest entomology in western North America.

Congratulations Sam!

Menger, Pezzini, Hanson, KochKoch Lab Students awarded at ESA Meeting

June 6, 2017

Congratulations to the three Koch Lab students who won awards at 2017 NCB ESA meeting in Indianapolis:

Anthony Hanson: 1st place poster;Daniela Pezzini: 2nd place talk and NCB Travel Scholarship; and

James Menger: 1st place poster.
Well done everyone!

Luis Ernesto Razuri Gonzales300-year-old entomology books still relevant today

September 15, 2016

When University of Minnesota graduate student Ernesto Razuri had the opportunity to see and interact with 300-year-old entomology books in person, he was a bit awestruck.

“Getting to touch them, it was like, ‘Oh, this is what you get to see in a museum!’ That was really nice,” Razuri said.


AphidsSulfoxaflor Found to Be Less Harmful to Beneficial Predators of Soybean Aphids

August 19, 2016

new study published by Anh Tran, Tavvs Alves & Bob Koch, in the journal of Economic Entomology, has found in the field, sulfoxaflor can control the soybean aphids as effectively as broader spectrum pesticides, and field and laboratory analyses showed that sulfoxaflor did not harm predators to soybean aphids nearly as much as did broad-spectrum insecticides.

The study provides more evidence that selective insecticides like sulfoxaflor could play a larger role in integrated pest management, which attempts to minimize the adverse impact on beneficial insects while effectively controlling pests.

RazuriRàzuri Gonzales Award

[10/22/15] Congratulations to Ernesto Ràzuri Gonzales (M.S. Holzenthal), recipient of a Judd Fellowship, a $2,500 award which funds academic work abroad. This fellowship supported his work surveying the caddisfly fauna of aquatic habitats on the Andes in central Ecuador, and visits to museums and universities in Quito to examine their Trichoptera collections and establish contact with researchers. Well done, Ernie!


NCFPW Aukema LabAukema Lab Awards

[9/30/2015] Minnesota graduate students took the top three places in the student talk competition at the North Central Forest Pest Workshop on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Keshena, Wisconsin. Congrats to Rachael Nicoll, giving her first ever scientific talk, Andrea Hefty, and Marissa Streifel, for jobs well done!

The topic of Rachael's talk was late instar larval dispersal of gypsy moth, titled: “The dispersal capacity of late instar gypsy moth larvae: Implications for mitigation measures in wood product movement”). Andrea's talk concerned the reproduction between potential hosts of the walnut twig beetle, titled “Walnut at risk: Examining reproduction between potential hosts of the walnut twig beetle in the USA”. Marissa Streifel spoke about overwintering mortality of gypsy moth egg masses in a talk titled "Out cold: Overwintering mortality of gypsy moth egg masses due to cold exposure”.

Each student received a beautiful sugar maple cutting board (pictured left) gifted to them by Menominee Tribal Enterprises from wood cut and milled on the Reservation. Congratulations again!

LaneAnthony HansonP-IE Graduate Award Winners

[9/29/2015] Congratulations, Ian Lane and Anthony Hanson, on receiving Plant-Insect Ecosystems Awards! Ian was awarded the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Master’s Student Achievement in Entomology Award, and Anthony was awarded the Kenneth and Barbara Starks Plant Resistance to Insects Graduate Student Award. P-IE Graduate Awards, along with other P-IE Awards, will be presented at ESA 2015 during the Monday (November 16) networking session. Great work!

Koch Lab at ESAStudents Earn Awards at NCB-ESA-2015!

[6/8/15] Many of our graduate students were active at the NCB-ESA meetings in Manhattan, KS, last week, and several received awards. The UMN Linnaean team (Anthony Hanson, Tavvs Alves, Anh Tran and Grace Sward) made it to the semifinals, but lost to Michigan State (who later took 1st place). Tavvs Alves received 2nd place in the 10-minute paper competition for PhD students, while Anh Tran earned 2nd place in the 10-minute paper competition for MS students. Anthony Hanson and Tavvs Alves won NCB travel scholarships. Theresa Cira also gave an invited symposium presentation on brown marmorated stink bug ecology and IPM. As noted earlier, Amy Morey was selected to receive the 2015 NCB-ESA John Henry Comstock Award –the top student award given to graduate students within each ESA Branch, to promote interest in entomology at the graduate level and to stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting (in Minneapolis this year!). Congrats again to all the students who received awards and participated this year!

Morey and Cira Awards

Amy Morey[4/13/2015] Amy Morey (Ph.D. Candidate, Venette Lab), is the 2015 recipient of the North Central Branch John Henry Comstock Award! This award given to one graduate student from each ESA Branch to promote interest in entomology at the graduate level and to stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting. Students members are eligible to compete for this award in one Branch only. Each award consists of an all-expenses-paid trip to the meeting, a $100 cash prize, and a certificate. Expenses paid include reimbursed airfare, free hotel arrangements, free meeting registration, and a per diem allowance. Previous Comstock Award winners.





Cira[4/13/2015] Theresa Cira (Ph.D., Hutchison Lab) is the recipient of the Global Food Security Fellowship from the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. This fellowship will support Theresa's research on sustainable pest management in Vietnam on the litchi fruit borer (LFB), a pest of litchi. She will be working with growers to learn about on-farm pest management decision-making, conducting experiments with a new pheromone bait, surveying natural enemies for use in conservation biological control, and producing extension material for growers and the Vietnamese government. More on the ICGC Global Food Security Fellowships.

Holzenthal Lab Awards

[4/3/2015] Congratulations to Ernesto and Lucas (Luis Ernesto Rázuri Gonzales and Lucas Marques de Camargos), who each received a $600 "Systematics Fund" student endowment award from the Society of Freshwater Science in recognition of their research in taxonomy of aquatic insects. In addition, Ernesto was just awarded a Walter H. Judd International Graduate & Professional Fellowship worth $2500 from the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance of the University of Minnesota. Ernesto will use his award to do field work in Ecuador this summer. Finally, Lucas was selected to participate in the Darwin Scholars Programme sponsored by the Field Studies Council, London, England. He received a of £625 fellowship to cover tuition and housing to attend a series of workshops in England this August on biodiversity conservation and field methods.

Petra KranzfelderPetra Kranzfelder receives the Systematics Fund Award

[3/10/2015] The Society for Freshwater Science awarded Petra Kranzfelder (Ph.D. Candidate, Len Ferrington) the Systematics Fund Award. The award was given to support Petra's research in the area of taxonomy and systematics. Congratulations, Petra!

Hannah Gray ThumbnailHannah Gray awarded two fellowships in global food security

[1/20/2015] Hannah Gray (Ph.D. Student under David Andow and co-advised by George Heimpel) has been awarded an ICGC Global Food Security Fellowship and a US Borlaug Fellowship in Food Security. The ICGC Fellowship is offered to students at the University of Minnesota whose research addresses the global dimensions of food security with an interdisciplinary and social justice focus. As a first year graduate student, Hannah's award will support research in the 2015 summer field season on predation pressure across a gradient of ecosystem complexities. The US Borlaug Fellowship in Food Security is awarded through USAID to graduate students who are interested in developing a component of their research in a developing country in collaboration with a mentor form an International Agricultural Research Center (IARC) or qualifying National Agricultural Research System (NARS). Awards are made on a competitive basis to students who demonstrate strong scientific foundation, leadership potential, and commitment to international development. Hannah will be working in collaboration with EMBRAPA in Brazil to investigate how latitudinal patterns in predation pressure may change due to ecosystem simplification.

Anthony Auletta 200x200Anthony Auletta awarded Shevlin Fellowship

[12/17/14] Anthony Aultetta (Ph.D. Student under Karen Mesce) has been awarded a Thomas H. Shevlin Fellowship for the 2015-16 academic year. This prestigious award is offered to students at the University of Minnesota in the biological and agricultural sciences, basic physical and medical sciences, or liberal arts, and who have completed at least one year of graduate study at the University of Minnesota at the time of application. The student must be nominated by their Program. Selection is based on:

  • The strength of the academic record and the overall professional promise.
  • The cohesiveness and significance of the study or research plan.
  • The timeliness of progress toward the degree.
  • The strength of the letters of recommendation.

Two Awards were made for 2015. Congratulations Anthony!

RosenbergerMountain beetle threatens Minnesota's pine forests

[12/8/2014] The State Department of Agriculture is proposing a Quarantine that would ban freshly cut logs from states infested with the mountain pine beetle from entering Minnesota, in the hopes of preventing an infestation. Dr. Brian Aukema was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio News to explain why and how this invasion could still happen, even with the proposed quarantine in effect.

Read the full article, and take a look at some of the beautiful photos by Derek Rosenberger!

Winners of the ESA Student Competition for the President's Prize

[11/19/2014] Much of the Entomology department has been in Portland this week for the annual ESA meeting, and many of our students participated in various competitions. We are proud to announce the following winners:

For 10 Minute Oral Presentations:

  • 1st place - Matthew Smart (Spivak Lab)
  • 1st place - Amy Morey (Venette Lab)
  • 2nd place - Anthony Hanson (Koch Lab)
  • 2nd place - Tavvs Alves (Koch Lab)

For Poster Presentations:

  • 1st - place Amanda Stephens (Hutchison Lab)
  • 1st - place Anna Hansen (Moon Lab)
  • 2nd - place Jaana Iverson – undergraduate student

A job well done by all!

Grad Student Derek Rosenberger in the news!

[11/17/2014] Derek Rosenberger, a Ph.D. student studying under Dr. Brian Aukema and Dr. Rob Venette, spoke with KSTP 5 Eyewitness news regarding his research of the Mountain Pine Beetle. These destructive little beetles have been wreaking havoc in Colorado and South Dakota. Derek's research suggests they could start attacking pines in Minnesota as well. Researchers brought in different pine trees from Minnesota and placed the beetle into logs to see how the insect reacted. Unfortunately, the research has shown that mountain pine beetles will attack pine trees found in Minnesota.