COLLEGE STATION, Texas–The Department of Entomology recently named Ph.D. student Carl Hjelmen and MS student Richelle Marquess as the newest Oustanding Graduate Students at a special recognition seminar on Thursday.
Hjelmen is advised by Dr. Spencer Johnston and is researching the evolution of genome size in Drosophila species. During the past year, Hjelmen has prepared and submitted a manuscript titled “The mode and tempo of genome size evolution in the subgenus Sopophora” and was a contributing author of another paper titled “The effects of natural selection and repetitive elements on genome-size evolution in North American Fireflies.”
Hjelmen has served on two leadership roles during his grad school career, including President and Vice President of the Entomological Graduate Student Organization. He served as the social activities chair and was chair of the Southwestern Branch Entomological Society of America’s Photo Salon for 2 years. Hjelmen currently is a team member of the graduate Linnaean Team which took first place during the Linnaean Games at the Southwestern Branch meeting in 2016 in Tyler.
He also has volunteered at various outreach programs at various local elementary schools and at the university, as well as at Boonville Days at the Brazos Valley Natural History Museum. Hjelmen also represented the Department at the Entomological Society of America meetings, as well as the Ecological Integration Symposium and Texas A&M’s annual Student Research Week.
Marquess recently graduated in December 2016 with her Master of Science in Entomology and is currently working with Dr. Spence Behmer’s laboratory part-time as a research technician on projects related to her thesis titled “The role of food protein-carbohydrate content on nutrient regulation strategies and wing morph determination in the wing polymorphic cricket Gryllus firmus.”
During her time at A&M, Marquess has been involved in various outreach activities including insect presentations at Rock Prairie Elementary’s STEM Night, Greens Prairie Elemantary’s Open House, and at a local children’s camp in Millican. She also has served as a teaching assistant for the General Entomology course (ENTO 201) in 2015 and 2016.
“Richelle’s passion for entomology is contagious, and it shows when she is doing outreach activities. It is when she is truly in her element. I can also honestly say that Richelle has taught me much about how to handle live insects/arthropods,” Behmer said. “I predict her passion and enthusiasm for all things insects will be greatly missed in the department when she eventually moves on to her next position.”