Grad Students Research Presentations Receive Awards During Forum

The winners of the 21st Graduate Student Forum. From left to right: Ivy Wei Chen (second place), Erfan Vafaie (first place), and Liz Walsh (third place)

The winners of the 21st Graduate Student Forum. From left to right: Ivy Wei Chen (second place), Erfan Vafaie (first place), and Liz Walsh (third place)

Three graduate students received top awards for their research during the 21st annual Graduate Student Forum held in the Heep Center on August 23.

The forum gives graduate students the experience of presenting their research to peers in a format similar to what they would see during a research paper competition at conferences. Students were given a set amount of time to present their research and answer questions from the audience.

Erfan Vafaie received first place for his presentation titled “Use of multiple natural enemies for inoculative biological control of Bemisia tabaci in greenhouse Poinsettia production,” Ivy Wei Chen received second place for her talk “Insect sterol requirements: a novel target for controlling insect herbivore pests.”

Liz Walsh then received third place for her talk titled “Effects of pesticide exposure during development on the mating frequency of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) queens.”

Vafaie is a Ph.D. student advised by Dr. Kevin Heinz, Chen is advised by Dr. Keyan Zhu-Salzman, and Walsh is advised by Dr. Juliana Rangel.

The forum also featured a question and answer session with Drs. Micky Eubanks, Ed Vargo, Zach Adelman, and Jeffery Tomberlin. During the discussion, members of the audience asked questions about their experience, how each handled stress and speaking in public, and career options for graduate students when they graduate.

All winners received a certificate and a cash prize during a special awards ceremony following the main session.

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