Ph.D. Candidate Named Outstanding Graduate Student

Ashley Tessnow, right, receiving her award from Professor and Interim Department Head Dr. Pete Teel. Photo by Rob Williams

Ashley Tessnow, right, receiving her award from Professor and Interim Department Head Dr. Pete Teel. Photo by Rob Williams

The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University would like to honor Ph.D. candidate Ashley Tessnow with the 2020 Outstanding Grad Student Award in the Ph.D. category.

Tessnow was honored during the annual Graduate Student Recognition seminar during the annual Ph.D. recruitment week on January 30.

Tessnow first came to the Department as a student participating in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience in Undergraduate program in 2013. During her time in the program, she worked in Dr. Greg Sword’s lab which resulted in her co-authoring a publication.

Two years later, Tessnow returned to A&M as a Ph.D. student working in Dr. Greg Sword’s lab. She is currently researching the applications of nutritional and molecular ecology to the integrated pest management of the fall armyworm.

Tessnow also has been very active in presenting her research having been invited to present three times at a wide range of scientific conferences. Additionally, she has given 19 oral and four poster presentations at various events. Her most recent talks include presenting her fall armyworm population genomics research at the 2019 Entomological Society meeting in St. Louis, and the 2020 Beltwide Cotton Conference in Austin, TX.

Tessnow has also mentored three different undergraduate researchers and is often sought out for help by other graduate students in the Department and across the university for bioinformatics and computational advice. She has served as a planning committee member for the Ecological Integration Symposium and helped raise more than $20,000 to support the event that had over 400 people in attendance.

Tessnow has been honored recently with the Undergraduate Student Organization’s Outstanding Teaching award and has been invited by the Assistant Department Head of the Academic Programs to serve as a Graduate Teaching Consultant to train other graduate students to become effective educators. As a Graduate Teaching Consultant, she regularly represents the department by teaching seminars across campus and working with international graduate students who hope to become teaching assistants.

“I am very honored to have received this award,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for this department, my advisor, and all the people who have helped me to get to this point.”

The Department also announced the winners of the annual Arthropods Image Salon. This year’s salon had a total of 35 images in four categories, with the best overall winner being awarded to Ph.D. student Mark Olson with his entry named “Sugar Dance.”

The category winners are:

All images can be viewed at

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