Grad Students Honored at Special Recognition Seminar

Paula Castillo with Dr. David Ragsdale holding an award

Paula Castillo, left, with Entomology Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale. Castillo received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Masters Student at a special presentation. Photo by Rob Williams

The Department of Entomology recently named its Outstanding Graduate Students of 2015 during a special seminar on Thursday, February 19.

Paula Castillo and Meaghan Pimsler were honored during the Grad Student Recognition Seminar. Castillo received the Outstanding Grad Student – Masters Student while Pimsler received the Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award.

Castillo is currently being mentored by Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio. She is author of an article published in PLoS One in 2013 on the immunolocalization of the sNPF receptor in all three subcastes of red imported fire ant workers. The research was also presented at a Society for Neurobiology poster competition, where she received third place in the Junior Graduate Student category.

Castillo is also actively involved in the Entomology Graduate Student Organization where she is currently serving as the Seminar Chair for the Entomology Graduate Student Organization. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Santiago in Santiago, Chile.

“Paula is undoubtedly an outstanding graduate student,” said Professor and AgriLife Research Fellow, Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio.

Paula also works with undergraduate students conducting research in the laboratory and she is extremely helpful and dedicated,” Dr. Cecilia Tamborindeguy said. “She has a wealth of knowledge that she shares with her fellow students.”

Meaghan Pimsler. Photo by Rob Williams.

Meaghan Pimsler. Photo by Rob Williams.

Pimsler is co-advised by Drs. Jeff Tomberlin and Aaron Tarone and her dissertation is titled “A Functional Genetic Study of the Behavioral Ecology of Chrysomya rufifacies (Diptera: Calliphoridae); Potential for Sexual Conflict in Immature Insects.

She is actively involved in the Entomological Society of America and has organized two symposia, as well as represented Texas A&M in the regional and national Linnaean Games several times in her career. Pimsler also has organized and participated in the ESA’s student debate and submitted three manuscripts to the Journal of Medical Entomology.

In addition to her research, Pimsler has been a graduate teaching assistant for several courses, including the FIVS 205 Introduction to Forensic and Investigative Sciences and the FIVS/ENTO 431/432 Theoretical and Applied Forensic Entomology.

“Her attention to details as related to experimental design is tremendous, as well as, her ability to envision potential hurdles and associated solutions is on par with those at the conclusion of their Ph.D. studies,” said Dr. Jeff Tomberlin. “I also appreciate her ability to collaborate with other students in the laboratory. I have noticed that she is always willing to help those in need, has a passion for outreach, interacts wonderfully with non-scientists, and just has a drive to be the best entomologist/scientist/             citizen that is tough to match. I sincerely appreciate Meaghan as a person and fellow researcher.”


Pimsler received her Bachelor of Science in Entomology from Cornell University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2007.

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