Students Win Top Awards at North Central – Southwestern Branch Joint Virtual Student Competition

Group of winners from the ESA Virtual Student Competition

Top row: (from left to right): Mark Janowiecki, Erfan Vafaie, Morgan Thompson. Bottom row (from left to right): Alex Payne, Jaclyn Martin, and Cora Garcia.

Congratulations to our students that received awards during the Entomological Society of America’s 2020 North Central and Southwestern Branch Virtual Student Competition that was held in late April.

This year’s competition was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this event, students submitted a recording of their presentations and uploaded electronic versions of their posters for judging via a special website.

In the undergraduate student 10-minute paper competition, Cora Garcia received first place in the Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology, Plant-Insect Ecosystems and Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity session. Her paper was titled “Honey bee (Apis mellifera) macronutrient regulation: Nurse bee nutritional preferences for proteins and lipids”.

Ph.D. candidate Mark Janowiecki placed second in Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology and Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity session for his presentation titled “Surveying termite communities in primary and secondary neotropical rainforest”. Ph.D. student Morgan Thompson received second place in the Plant-Insect Ecosystems, Session I for her presentation titled “How do plant-associated microbes modify host-plant selection for insect herbivores?” while Ph.D. student Erfan Vafaie received third place for his talk “Robustness of biological control using multiple natural enemies against whitefly influx or delayed natural enemy releases”.

In the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Session II, Ph.D. student Jaclyn Martin received second place for her talk titled “Investigating the effects of Rice hoja blanca virus on the insect vector Tagosodes orizicolus”.

Jordan Gomez placed second in the undergraduate poster contest in the Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology and Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology session for her poster titled “Determining the effects of nutrition on honey bee (Apis mellifera) pathogen defense against deformed wing virus.”

In the Ph.D. category of the Plant-Insect Ecosystems session, Ph.D candidate Alex Payne received second place “Interspecies virus transmission between ants and honey bees (Apis mellifera)”while Isaac Esquivel won third place for “Reciprocal benefits to cotton and bee pollinators in a cotton agroecosystem.”

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