AUSTIN — Several members of the Department of Entomology traveled westward to Austin to attend the annual national meeting of the Entomological Society of America meeting.
Held at the Austin Convention Center this year, the meeting allows entomologists to learn the newest research and collaborate with others from across the United States. Three students and the Department’s debate team received awards during two of the ceremonies at the event.
Ph.D. student Suhas Vyavhare was recognized for receiving the USDA-AFRI Student Grant. The award was created to provide financial support to graduate students for new networking, presentation and research opportunities at the annual meeting.
Vyavhare is currently co-advised by Drs. Raul Medina and M.O. Way. His research focuses on the development of an integrated pest management program for the red-banded stinkbug, which is an invasive pest of soybeans in the southern United States. He is conducting field-cage experiments to study insect-plant interactions for the last three years.
Ph.D. student Loriann Garcia also received first place in the Plant-Insect Ecosystems 10 minute paper oral presentation section. Her paper was titled “The timing of cotton fleahopper, Pseudatomoscelis seriatus, herbivory and cotton’s compensatory response.”
Professor Micky Eubanks was very proud of Garcia’s hard work.
“Loriann is a fantastic student,” Eubanks said. “I am very excited to see Loriann’s hard work, ingenuity, and tenacity recognized by the Entomological Society of America.”
The Student Debate Team consisting of grad students Meaghan Pimsler, Ordom Huot, Suhas Vyavhare, Luciano Cosme and Lue Cuttiford competed against Mississippi State in the specific debate topic, where they chose the topic “What Is the Best Individual Solution to Preserving the World’s Current Biodiversity?”
The team won the Topic 1 debate but the overall debate winner was the University of California-Davis for their debate topic titled “Using GMOs to Increase Food-Security in Regions Where theTechnology is not Universally Accepted”.
Several of the Department’s undergraduate and graduate students also participated in the Insect Expo, which is an interactive children’s exhibition held at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
During the event, participants viewed several displays and got to see numerous live insects at the petting zoo and participated in interactive activities throughout the day. Dr. Charles Allen was very happy at the turnout from both volunteers and the visitors.
“We had a great time and we saw lots of smiles on lots of small faces,” he said.
Allen said that there were over 2,000 oral presentations and approximately 800 posters total with more than 80 people from the Department that attended the meeting.
“The meeting was a memorable success,” Allen said. “Attendance was very good. The papers, posters and student competitions were awesome and the opportunity for people to collaborate and network with colleagues was one of a kind.”
The Southwestern Branch mixer (Texas A&M, OK State and the SW Branch sponsored social) was a rousing success with over 225 in attendance. This was one of the best attended mixers we’ve held.