LEXINGTON—Rangel Lab member and Ph.D. student Elizabeth Walsh was one of two students from Texas A&M that received a high awards for their research at a company’s international agricultural science competition.
Walsh and Xiaoquiu “Churchill” Wang submitted research projects to the Alltech Young Scientist Competition that was held in Lexington, Kentucky. Walsh received second place and Wang received first out of more than 9,000 students from 61 countries that participated in the competition.
A native of Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, Walsh entered her project named “The Effects of In-Hive miticides on honey bee (Apis mellifera) queen retinue”.
Walsh’s project involves chemicals that are used to protect honey bees from Varroa mites, which are deadly pests that affect honey bees.
Walsh’s love for bees goes even farther back since she has been a beekeeper for nine years. She said that she wants to help beekeepers from losing production with her research.
“As a part of the beekeeping community, my goal is to make a positive impact on the beekeeping industry and community which have had such a positive impact on me, both personally and professionally,” she said.
Walsh received her undergraduate degree in both biology and English at Ripon College in Wisconsin, but came to Texas for the Department’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program in 2013, where she studied under Dr. Juliana Rangel.
She said the program has been a big help with graduate school.
“My REU experience is what I credit with showing me what graduate school is like,” she said. “It was a great experience.”
Rangel was very proud of Walsh and praised her hard work and dedication.
“Liz is a very accomplished young scientist and beekeeper, who is committed to helping the beekeeping industry that she cherishes so much in finding the effects of beekeeper-applied chemicals used to control the parasitic Varroa mite on the reproductive quality of honey bee queens,” Rangel said. “She is a terrific beekeeper with an infectiously positive attitude, which seeps through as she talks about bees and her research interests to beekeepers and fellow scientists alike. Liz’s recognition at the national level is noteworthy and solely due to her own accomplishments in bee biology.”
Rangel also stressed the importance of such projects as Walsh’s.
“Her recognition in the media does increase the visibility and importance of honey bees and of our honey bee research program at Texas A&M University,” she said. “These types of awards come to those who are passionate about their work, and her accomplishments so far are increasingly effective in showcasing her work, our ongoing research efforts, and the importance of pollinators to every member of our society!”
According to Alltech’s website, the global competition is to help raise awareness of quality research by grad students and gives them the opportunity to be rewarded for their scientific discoveries and research and to compete internationally at the highest level.
“I’m very excited that Alltech saw value in my research and I am honored to be an award recipient,” Walsh said.