Grad Students Receive Recognition for Outstanding Service and Research

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Two of the Department’s graduate students received high honors from the Department for their outstanding research and service as they were honored during a special seminar on Thursday.

Marion Le Gall, left, stands with Dr. Ragsdale

Marion Le Gall, right, received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in the Ph.D. student category during a special awards presentation on February 20. Standing with Le Gall is Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale. Photo by Rob Williams

Marion Le Gall received the Outstanding Ph.D. Student and Milo Lewis was honored with the Outstanding Masters student Award during the special presentation.

Le Gall is currently working in Dr. Spence Behmer’s lab, where she is examining how interactions between macro nutrients and allelochemicals influence feeding behavior and nutrient utilization in insect herbivores.

Le Gall also has been working as a teaching assistant for several courses including General Entomology (ENTO 201) and Insect Physiology (ENTO 306), as well as giving lectures in the 201 course. She has been instrumental in creating and organizing a “digital storytelling project” exercise where students use computer-based tools to tell a short video story to integrate into the lab portion of the ENTO 306 course.

Since coming to Texas A&M in spring of 2009 from the University of Tours in France, Le Gall has served several officer positions with the EGSO, including social chair, vice president, seminar chair and secretary. She has also been instrumental in organizing several activities, including the ENTOBLITZ, the insect collecting trip for professionals and amateurs in the State of Texas, the first-ever inter-departmental soccer tournament against Wildlife and Fisheries Science, as well as departmental fall picnics and various other outreach events.

Marion has  given multiple talks on campus, including three Entomology Graduate Student forums, an invited Departmental Seminar, two Ecological Integration Symposiums, and one presentation at Student Research Week). She was awarded first place (2012), and third place (2011 & 2013), at the Entomology Graduate Student Forum, and was awarded the best talk at the 2013 Ecological Integration Symposium. Le Gall also had two papers published in 2013: one in the Journal of Experimental Biology (work from her M.S.) and one in Metaleptea , which is a non-peer-reviewed journal.

“Marion is an exemplary graduate student, and a perfect example of what the Department of Entomology wants its students to be,” Behmer said. “She gives generously of her time to promote our Department (as well as Texas A&M University), plus the field of entomology, is excellent in the classroom (including as an instructor), and is passionate about her research.”

Milo Lewis, right, received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in the Master's student category during a special awards presentation on February 20. Standing with Le Gall is Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale.  Photo by Rob Williams

Milo Lewis, right, received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in the Master’s student category during a special awards presentation on February 20. Standing with Lewis is Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale. Photo by Rob Williams

Lewis currently is working on his Master’s in Dr. Kevin Heinz’s lab researching the physiological ecology of the potato psyllid. He is developing a degree-day model for the psyllid as a means of predicting key events within the psyllid’s population dynamics. The nominator in the packet states that completion of his thesis would help to provide growers with a tool that will allow them to transition away from calendar-based insecticide applications.

The research conducted by Lewis has translated into co-authorship of 3 peer-reviewed manuscripts in three distinctly different journals; Aquatic Botany, Environmental Entomology, and Crop Protection. He is the co-author of 1 editor-reviewed manuscript and 2 research reports. He has co-authored 5 oral and 7 poster presentations, and of these he has delivered 2 of the oral and 6 of the poster presentations.

During his career Lewis has already received two awards of recognition for his research accomplishments; one as an undergraduate student and one as a graduate student. He has also competed successfully for an Entomology Student Enhancement Fund Scholarship ($225) and an Amarillo Research and Extension Center Award for Excellence ($1,000).

Lewis serves in an elected capacity as the 2013-14 treasurer of the Entomology Graduate Student Organization and is also active as a member of the Gamma Sigma Delta Agricultural Honor Society, the Entomological Society of America, the Texas Plant Protection Association, the USDA-SCRI Zebra Chip Working Group, and previously in the American Society of Plant Biologists.

“I am impressed with his work ethic, personality, and interest in entomology, said Professor Dr. Gerry Michels. “His MS program results will be outstanding and will lead to the development of major components of potato psyllid IPM and zebra chip control.”

 

 

 

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