Grad Students Receive Awards During Forum

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Chong Chin Heo, right, received first place. Photos by Rob Williams

The Department of Entomology recently recognized four students as they received recognition for their outstanding research presentations during the Eighteenth Annual Graduate Student Forum on August 27.

The forum allows graduate students to present their research in front of their peers. Presenters had a total of 15 minutes to present their research and field questions from the audience.

Of the 15 presenters, Chong Chin Heo received first place for his talk titled “Ecosystem resilience of carrion experiencing delayed Diptera colonization” and Paula Castillo for her talk titled “RNAi as a new alternative for fire ant gene target validation toward population control.”

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Paula Castillo, right, receiving the second place award from Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale

Heo is a Ph.D. student mentored by Dr. Jeffery Tomberlin and Castillo is a Ph.D. student mentored by Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio.

Xanthe Shirley and Wei “Ivy” Chen tied for third place during the competition. Shirley’s presentation was titled “Phylogenetic relationships among species in Aphelinus (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae)” and Chen’s was “New Aspects of Sterols in Plant-Insect Interactions”.

Shirley is a Master of Science student mentored by Dr. Jim Woolley and Chen is a Ph.D. student that is co-advised by Drs. Spence Behmer and Keyan Zhu-Salzman.

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Wei “Ivy” Chen, left, and Xanthe Shirley, right, with Dr. David Ragsdale, center. Photo by Rob Williams.

All winners received a certificate and a cash prize during a special awards ceremony following the main session.

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