The Department of Entomology is featuring some of our Extension personnel and how they became interested in entomology and their jobs as entomologists.
Extension Program Specialist Wizzie Brown works in the Austin/Travis county area and handles issues with integrated pest management and urban educational programs.
Brown started her career in Extension in 2002 working as an Extension agent with the integrated pest management (IPM). She said that she was very interested in entomology when she was younger but didn’t start studying it as a possible field of study until she went to college.
“I always liked insects as a child. While I enjoyed insects, I didn’t know that it was a college track or career choice. Fortunately, I discovered that entomology was something I could do for a job.”
After taking an entomology class during her undergraduate years at Ohio State, Brown decided to make entomology a major field of study when she found out that she enjoyed the subject matter.
“I took an entomology class and changed my major after about two weeks,” she said.
After she graduated from Ohio State, she went on to further her education at Texas A&M. Brown did not get interested in working with Extension until after she had worked in industry with her husband when they lived in the Houston area.
“My husband and I were working for a pest control company in Houston. He decided he wanted to start his own pest control business, but we had signed a non-compete clause so we had to move out of the area,” she said. “I started looking for a job and stumbled upon the job listing for Extension. I remember reading the job description and telling my husband that it was perfect and seemed to be written for me.”
As an Extension Program Specialist, she works with the community on urban insect issues, as well as conducting education and training sessions. She also has written several articles and appeared on television and radio talking about pests and integrated pest management.
The best part about working for Extension, Brown said, was connecting with the community.
“I really like the connections that I make with people of all ages,” she said. “People are fascinated, even sometimes disgusted, by insects. When I provide information to them on how to identify something or how to manage a pest they are having problems with, I feel like I’m helping them.”