Student Awards | Entomology@Purdue | Spring 2011

Awards and Recognition

2010-11 Entomology Outstanding Undergraduates

Freshman - Elaina Grott, from Mt. Prospect, IL
Junior - Tyler Stewart, from Loogootee, IN
Senior - Jiaqi Guo, from Lanzhou, China


2011 College of Agriculture Outstanding Freshman

Elaina GrottElaina Grott
Elaina Grott, from Mt. Prospect, Illinois, was selected as the College of Agriculture Outstanding Freshman at the 2011 Spring COA Awards Program. She was also recognized as a member of the 400 Club for her perfect 4.0 grade point average. Elaina is a member of the University Honors Program and a Dean's Scholar. She is co-chair of the Boiler Green Initiative's Alternative Transportation Committee, social chair of Habitat for Humanity, and a member of other department, college, and university organizations.



2010-2011 Bilsland Fellowship

Victoria Caceres received a Bilsland Fellowship award for the 2011-2012 academic year. The fellowship is a University program in honor of Winifred Beatrice Bilsland, that provides support to outstanding PhD candidates in their final year of doctoral degree completion. Victoria works with Doug Richmond in the area of divergent management approaches in turfgrass.


Celebration of Teaching Excellence

Kristi Bugajski was recognized for completion of a Graduate Teaching Certificate, exemplifying excellence in the University's learning mission as a graduate student. Kristi is a Forensic Science major with Ralph Williams.


Kapil Raje received the CETA (Committee on the Education of Teaching Assistants) award, honoring his performance as a graduate Teaching Assistant in Entomology.



ESA-NCB Awards

ESA-NCB AWARD WINNERS: (l-r) Adam Salyer, Jonathan Nixon, Gladys Andino, Gabriel Hughes, and Jeff GrabowskiESA-NCB AWARD WINNERS: (l-r) Adam Salyer, Jonathan Nixon, Gladys Andino, Gabriel Hughes, and Jeff Grabowski

Oral Presentations:
1st place MS


Jonathan Nixon (supervisor, Rick Foster) Predicting oviposition by corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea, in sweet corn with pheromone traps.


2nd place MS


Adam Salyer (supervisor, Grzesiek Buczkowski) Odorous house ants, Tapinoma sessile: "drivers" or "passengers" of ecological change?


3rd place MS


Gabriel Hughes (supervisor, Matt Ginzel) Evidence for the stratification of hydrocarbons in the epicuticular wax layer of female Megacyllene robiniae (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae).


Poster Presentations:
2nd place PhD


Gladys Andino (supervisor, Greg Hunt) – A new assay to measure mite grooming behavior.


3rd place PhD


Jeff Grabowski (supervisor, Cate Hill) – Properties of tick-borne Langat virus during growth in Ixodes scapularis ISE6 cells.


Purdue Entomology was well represented, and our students, in particular, did a wonderful job representing the department throughout the Entomological Society of America North Central Branch meeting this March in Minneapolis.  Our Linnaean Game team (Gabriel Hughes, Kapil Raje, Sarah Thompson, and Scott Williams) had a tough first match against Nebraska, but forced the eventual champs of the competition to defend a 5 point lead through the final question–  Nebraska 105, Purdue 100.

2010 - 2011 Scholarship Award Recipients: Scholarship funds totaling $56,000 were awarded to twenty-three entomology students at the 75th Annual Pest Management Conference in January.2010 - 2011 Scholarship Award Recipients: Scholarship funds totaling $56,000 were awarded to twenty-three entomology students at the 75th Annual Pest Management Conference in January.

Featured Student Article by Alex Murphy

Alex MurphyAlex Murphy

"From the West to the Midwest"


I grew up on a farm in the small agricultural community of Hermiston, Oregon. Throughout childhood, I enjoyed studying all forms of life, from pond scum to vertebrates, but most of all I liked insects. When I was 15, I began working at an agricultural experiment station in the summers under Dr. Gary Reed, an entomologist (now emeritus). I couldn't believe someone was willing to pay me to collect and identify insects! For the first time, I was able to identify a career path that meshed with my interests and abilities. Following high school, I attended Oregon State University and, as the formal department of entomology was dissolved during my degree program, I was the last student to graduate with a B.S. in entomology.


As I compared universities for my doctoral degree, I remember all the factors that originally went into my decision to attend Purdue. Of course, there was the infamous and intriguing subject of my future research – the western corn rootworm, but there was also the Department of Entomology – an inviting community of dynamic entomologists. The prestigious reputation of Purdue entomology, including tales of Tom Turpin and the Bug Bowl, had reached even the backwaters of Oregon, and I was lured from my mountainous home state to the corn-saturated landscape of Indiana.


I was not disappointed. When I told people in the community here that I was an entomologist, there were few blank looks or discussions about the roots of words; they knew about entomology, and often, had friends or acquaintances in the department. At my first Bug Bowl I found out why. Before the event started, the walls of Smith hall were covered from floor to ceiling with insect art submitted by school children. Much of this art was amazingly accurate and creative. I volunteered for the petting zoo. People of all ages lined up: out the door, around the corner, and down the hall - just to hold a cockroach, pet a millipede, or brave holding "Teddy" the tarantula. Thousands of people wanted to come see, touch, hold, eat and learn about bugs. I appreciated the enthusiasm evident on the faces of many of the participants. I have been involved in Bug Bowl every year, and I will miss it when I leave Purdue.


I will also miss the community within the Department of Entomology, which is one of its greatest strengths. In spite of the diverse conglomeration of scientific interests and cultural backgrounds, everyone is welcome. Faculty and staff members are particularly supportive of graduate students, from answering random research questions to hosting graduate student events at their homes. As president of the Entomology Graduate Organization (EGO), I had the opportunity to welcome new students into the department and facilitate graduate student endeavors. I appreciated working with my fellow EGO officers and members, who organized a litany of activities including the Linnaean Team, Journal Club, Bug N Brew, and collecting or educational trips. While these activities sometimes inadvertently, distracted me from my research, they provided me with the opportunity to build friendships that will last well beyond Purdue.


For my research, I decided to join the countless generations of graduate students and scientists in their investigation of the western corn rootworm. Under my co-advisors Dr. Christian Krupke and Dr. Matthew Ginzel, I examined the impacts of refuge structure, mainly seed mix refuges, on western corn rootworm emergence. I also investigated various aspects of rootworm mating behavior and biology, as it relates to resistance management for transgenic (Bt) corn. As I move on to my next position and a new system, I hope that my scientific contributions are helpful in modeling and assessing current and future resistance management strategies in rootworm-resistant transgenic corn.

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

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