Student Awards | Annual Newsletter 2010

Awards and Recognition

2010 Scholarship Awards
2010 Scholarship Award Recipients: Scholarship funds totaling $43,500 were awarded to 30 entomology students at the 74th Annual Pest Management Conference in January.

2010 Pest Management Conference Scholarship Banquet2010 Pest Management Conference Scholarship Winners

Bilsland Fellowship
Marissa McDonough was selected to receive Bilsland Fellowship funding for the 2010-2011 academic year. The fellowship, a University program in honor of Winifred Beatrice Bilsland, provides support to outstanding PhD candidates in their final year of doctoral degree completion. Marissa worked with Linda Mason in the area of Stored Foods & Grains.


OVEA Competition
A team of 5 students and 1 faculty member from the Department traveled to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the Twenty Third Annual Forum of the Ohio Valley Entomological Association (OVEA) on October 29th. Seventeen students from 4 different universities and one high school took part in the competition. Purdue gave 5 presentations and came home with 2 awards for current students, and 2 awards for alumni. A complete account the event is posted on the OVEA website:
A special thanks to Linda Mason who coordinates our participation in OVEA, and to all the advisors who encouraged their students to participate and helped them prepare and practice their presentations.


Jonathan Larson, John Shorter, Gabriel Hughes & Nikki Van Der Laan2010 Ohio Valley Entomological Association (OVEA) Winners

MS: First PlaceJonathan Larson (BS '09; currently Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky) for his paper entitled, “Comparative impact of chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn®) a novel anthranilic diamide, and other insecticides on beneficial invertebrates and their ecosystem services”.


BS: Second PlaceJohn Shorter for his paper entitled, “A genetic analysis of guarding and stinging behaviors in the honey bee”.


BS: Tied for Third PlaceGabriel Hughes for his paper entitled, “Use of volatile pheromone components as general lures to attract longhorned beetles (Coleoptera: Ceramybicidae)”, and Nikki Van Der Laan (BS '10; currently FNR, Purdue University) for her paper entitled, “Influence of osmotic stress on the susceptibility of black cherry to colonization by the peach bark beetle, Phloeotribus liminaris (Harris)”.


Entomology Outstanding Student Awards 2010

Alex Murphy, Kapil Raje & John ShorterAlex Murphy, Kapil Raje and John Shorter

Entomology Outstanding Student Service Award
Kapil Raje started at Purdue in August 2007 working with Dr. Virginia Ferris and Dr. Jeff Holland on his PhD in the area of Molecular Systematics. He has volunteered for the past three years at the Bug Bowl honey bee exhibit, Insectaganza, and the Purdue Entomology exhibit at the Indiana State Fair in 2010. He was a leader for the department’s Tippecanoe County Butterfly Encounter in 2008-2010, served as the student representative on Dr. Yaninek’s Advisory Committee for two years, and coordinated the Survival Skills Workshop for the Entomology Graduate Organization. Beyond the department, Raje has acted as a guest lecturer on India in Dr. Lee Schweitzer’s Global Awareness Class in the Department of Agronomy and volunteers as a guide to new international students with the Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) since 2008. He was a co-recipient of the 2010 ISS Outstanding Student Award for his service to the organization.


Entomology Outstanding Student, Masters Program
John Shorter received a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan in 2008. He began at Purdue in August 2008 with Dr. Greg Hunt studying the genetic and environmental influence on worker guard behaviors and stinging response in honeybees. He served as a TA in the Department of Psychology for the course Introduction to Ethology and lead specialized lessons for elementary school students as a Gifted Education Resource Institute (GERI) Teacher with Purdue University. John received a travel grant from the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) to present his undergraduate research at the IUSSI Conference in Puerto Rico. He was an Entomology Graduate Organization officer and a Purdue Graduate Student Government member and Representative for the Department of Entomology in 2009-2010. John volunteers for the Open Access Insect Physiology Journal, the Purdue Bug Bowl, the Tippecanoe County Butterfly Count, and the Indiana State Beekeepers Association. He plans to graduate with his MS degree in May 2011.


Entomology Outstanding Student, Doctoral Program
Alex Murphy received a BS in Entomology with a minor in Chemistry from Oregon State University in 2006 and began at Purdue in August 2006 working towards her PhD with Dr. Christian Krupke and Dr. Matt Ginzel. Her thesis in the area of insecticide resistance and resistance management is entitled “Evaluating Western Corn Rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) Emergence and Root Damage in a Seed Mix Refuge.” She has been awarded several prestigious honors such as the Ross Fellowship, the Kenneth and Barbara Starks Plant Resistance to Insects Graduate Student Research Award, and 1st Place PhD Presentation at the Ohio Valley Entomological Association. Alex was President of the Entomology Graduate Student Organization in 2009 and President of the Ohio Valley Entomological Association in 2008-2009. She is a member of many professional societies such as Entomological Society of America, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and Phi Sigma Phi Honor Society.


Outstanding Undergraduate Entomology Students 2009 - 2010
Tyler Stewart – Loogootee, IN
Rebecca Rose– Logansport, IN
Kevin Norman – Dyer, IN
Nicole Van Der Laan – Valparaiso, IN


Celebration of Teaching Excellence
Kapil Raje and Emily Shebish (BS '07) were honored with awards at the spring Celebration of Teaching Excellence Banquet in April. Kapil was recognized for completion of a Graduate Teaching Certificate. Kapil is a PhD candidate from West Mumbai, India, studying molecular systematics with Jeff Holland and Virginia Ferris. Emily was presented with the Committee for the Education of Teaching Assistants (CETA) award. Emily, an MS candidate, is from Whiting, Indiana, studying acarology with Chris Oseto.

Emily ShebishEmily Shebish (BS '07, MS '10)
Kapil RajeKapil Raje

Dean’s Choice Award
Nikki Van Der Laan received the College of Agriculture Dean’s Choice Award for her work on “Chemically-mediated and host colonization behavior of the peach bark beetle” at the Research Poster Symposium. Nikki did her research with Matt Ginzel and his research group.


ISS Outstanding Student Volunteer Award
Kapil Raje received an Outstanding Student Volunteer Award from the office of International Students and Scholars (ISS). The award acknowledges his commitment over several years to welcome new international students.


Invitation to Present – Genomic Epidemiology of Malaria Meeting
Diego Echeverri-Garcia, PhD candidate with Cate Hill was honored with a travel award to attend and present his work at the third annual Genomic Epidemiology of Malaria meeting at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus conference center in Hinxton, UK in June, 2010. He was selected for the award by the conference organizing committee and other scientists in his field. This is a prestigious honor for Diego and Purdue. The Wellcome Trust meetings are selective and very high caliber. Attendance is restricted and these meetings are mostly attended by mid- to late-career Principle Investigators. Diego's selection for this award is a reflection of the groundbreaking work he is doing in malaria research.


2010 NSF-GRF Fellowship
Jeff Grabowski, PhD candidate with Cate Hill was selected to receive a 2010 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF). Selection for this 3-year fellowship was based on Jeff’s “outstanding abilities and accomplishments, and his potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.”


SURF Program

Jiaqi GuoJiaqi Guo


Jiaqi Guo accepted an offer for an undergraduate research position with the 2010 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. The SURF program provides students across all engineering, science and technology disciplines with an intensive research experience, allowing them to work closely with graduate students and professors in their respective schools. The interdisciplinary aspect of the projects allows students to learn and work across other disciplines while still applying the concepts and skills from their own programs. This setting provides undergraduate students with an avenue to perform research in an academic environment while exploring future graduate study options.






New Students in 2010

Spring and Summer
Joseph Braasch, MS candidate with Ian Kaplan, from Berkeley, California
Jonathan Nixon, MS candidate with Rick Foster, from West Lafayette, Indiana
Zachary Amodt, Undergraduate from Woodinville, Washington
Daniel Martin, Undergraduate from Rockville, Indiana
Kyle Pluchar, CODO from Carmel, IN


Gina Angelella, PhD candidate with Ian Kaplan, from Chicago, Illinois
Jeff Grabowski, PhD candidate with Cate Hill, from North Manchester, Indiana
Serena Gross, PhD candidate with Ralph Williams, from Orono, Maine
Lucio Navarro Escalante, PhD candidate with Jeff Stuart, from Cambridge, Massachusetts
Vianney Willot, PhD candidate with Christian Krupke, from Seclin, France
Madeline Spigler, MS candidate with Christian Krupke, from Protersville, Pennsylvania
Nicole Parker, MS candidate with Christian Krupke, from Shade Gap, Pennsylvania
Jessica Barnett, Undergraduate from Brownsburg, Indiana
Alyssa Collins, Undergraduate from Manor, Texas
Elaina Grott, Undergraduate from Mount Prospect, Illinois
Kristie Martin, Undergraduate from Lafayette, Indiana
Chelsea Rider-Hill, Undergraduate from Altadena, California
Jacob Thompson, Undergraduate from Sullivan, Indiana


2010 Graduates

Thiago Benatti, PhD
Shulin Yang, PhD
Alicia Kelley, BS
Nicole Van Der Laan, BS


Janice Van Zee, PhD


Marissa McDonough, PhD
Emily Shebish, MS
Matt Van Weelden, BS
Greg McGraw, BS
Caitlin Race, BS
Chase Williams, BS


Featured Student Article by Walter Baldauf

Walter BaldaufWalter Baldauf (BS '06, MS '09)

“Take Two Pill Bugs and Call Me in the Morning”

As most of you know entomology is the study of insects, and that is what I have been trained to do for the majority of my formal education, but I have decided to pursue a career in medicine. For non-entomologists, this declaration is usually met with coy smiles and questions regarding my intentions of performing ‘surgery’ on insects and being a ‘bug doctor’. However, unlike many of my fellow entomologists who followed their childhood fascination with insects through college and into their careers, my interest in the insect world began part way through my undergraduate studies at Purdue.
I was born in Lafayette, Indiana and traveled all the way across the Wabash River to attend Purdue University. As the first person in my family to attend college I entered with little direction and struggled for the first two years while seeking a degree in sociology. However, this all changed when I took an introductory insect taxonomy course from Dr. Chris Oseto. The biology and diversity of these animals caught my attention in a way sociology never had, which led me to change my major to entomology at the end of my sophomore year.


As a junior I joined the turfgrass ecology laboratory of Dr. Douglas Richmond. As an undergraduate research assistant I became actively involved with the entire lab by helping the graduate students with their research projects. When the opportunity arose, Dr. Richmond and I worked on a proposal for an undergraduate research scholarship to fund a small project I initiated that examined how different plant defensive compounds affected the feeding behavior of Fall Armyworm. This project sparked my interest in pursuing a master’s degree to build my skills as a research scientist. Obtaining a master’s degree was the next logical step in my goal of someday having a research laboratory of my own.

After graduation I enrolled in the graduate school at Purdue. This was an eye opening experience for me in that I realized how much I needed to interact with other people. This realization came about after spending most of my time alone with Petri dishes and insect larvae during the day and the rest of my time outside the laboratory volunteering with the local Baptist Student Foundation. Volunteering enabled me to spend time with like-minded people who wanted to make a difference in the community. It also gave me a sense of personal satisfaction that research never had.


I soon realized that I wanted to spend my life serving others, but at the same time, I wanted to find a career where I could also stay within the realm of science. The health care professions, specifically medicine, seemed like a perfect fit. To test this out and gain some first-hand experience I volunteered in the emergency room at Home Hospital in Lafayette, Indiana. I spent my time observing the doctors and other medical staff working as a cohesive unit to treat patients. After several months of observation I was convinced that a career in medicine would combine both service and science in a way that no other career can.


Graduate school gave me the opportunity to truly understand the scientific process and gain an appreciation for scientific research as a whole. However, it also taught me that a career in research would be unable to fully satisfy my desire to work directly with the people in my community. This is important to me because I would not be the person I am today if it were not for the support and encouragement of those around me both personally and professionally. Over the past eight years at Purdue I have grown immensely as an individual and have benefited from the opportunities and relationships that come with an education from Purdue. If only there was a medical school on campus.​

Department of Entomology, 901 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4554

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