Dr. Samantha (Sam) Willden
Dr. Samantha (Sam) Willden studies the ecology and management of agricultural pests with an emphasis on biological control. Solving pest management challenges and supporting growers in their business is a key driver of Samantha’s research and extension efforts. At Cornell University, her PhD research was focused on protected culture strawberry where she developed practical approaches to management of two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) and tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris) that interleave into an IPM framework for this new system in New York. She joined the Ingwell lab as a postdoctoral researcher in 2022 with an interest in developing a systems-level approach to crop production and pest management on urban farms.
Leslie Alejandra Aviles Lopez is originally from El Salvador, Central America. She received her undergraduate degree in agronomy at the Pan American Agricultural University in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Leslie joined the lab in fall 2020 after completing her master's degree at Louisiana State University where she studied the host range of the invasive scale Nipponaclerda biwakoensis and host plant resistance among Phragmites australis populations. In her current position, she will evaluate best management practices for the two-spotted spider mite in high tunnel cucumber production systems, from cultivar selection to scouting and biological control tactics.
Robert is a PhD student interested in insect ecology. He is originally from Kansas and received his Bachelors of Science from Kansas State University. He earned his Master's degree in Entomology from the University of Florida. There, he studied insect functional traits and explored the role of these traits in governing community assembly processes. Robert's current research will be focused on understanding the ecology of insect pollinators and pests in high tunnel growing systems.
Milena Agila is originally from Ecuador. She got her bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science and Production at Zamorano University in Honduras. After she finished her undergrad studies, she worked with flower production in Ecuador. Milena joined Ingwell's lab in 2022 and worked as a Research Scholar for one year. She was assisting with different projects and responsible for maintaining a Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) colony for future projects. Currently, she is pursuing a master's degree and her research will focus on building circular economies around black soldier fly production. Specifically, she will use the digestate and pupal cases as amendments in the production of specialty crops under Dr. Ingwell's supervision. She will also continue to investigate different organic waste streams as a food source and rearing methods of the flies.
Allison Zablah is an international student from Honduras. She received her B.S. from Zamorano University, where she majored in Agronomy. Allison joined the lab in summer 2022 as a research scholar; she is currently working on her M.S.. Allison studies beneficial insects such as syrphid flies, which, in addition to being predators in their larval stage, are pollinators in their adult stage. Information on syrphid flies is currently lacking, especially in the context of high tunnel specialty crops production. Her thesis aims to measure the ecological role that syprhid flies play in these protected culture environments.
Eze Pojmann Ezeonyilo, M.S., Dec 2022
Catherine (Caydee) Terrell, M.S., May 2022