Alumni Newsletter | Winter 2009

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Christian Krupke part of study suggesting warmer temperatures could lead to boom in corn pests


Climate change could provide the warmer weather pests prefer, leading to an increase in populations that feed on corn and other crops, according to a new study.

[Full Story]


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73rd Purdue Pest Management Conference


Pest Management Conference 2009
Former NPMA President Judy Dold of Rose Pest Solutions discussed how to effectively market pest management services to women at the 73rd annual Purdue Pest Management Conference in West Lafayette, Ind. For more photos of the conference, visit

The 73rd annual Purdue Pest Management Conference, held in early January in West Lafayette, Ind., drew industry professionals and experts for five days of technical meetings, business sessions and product demonstrations. Dr. Gary Bennett, conference chair, said the goal was to provide attendees with "the latest, up-to-date information that is valuable to you as a pest management manager, preparing you with all of the skills and all of the knowledge you need to have a successful 2009."

[Full Story]




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2008 Outstanding Service Award


Paula Layden received the 2008 Entomology Outstanding Service Award. She is the Administrative Assistant to the department head and has been with the department since March, 2004. The award was presented at the annual Entomology Awards and Recognition Reception in December.


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Service Recognition Program 2009


The 2009 Annual Service Recognition Program, hosted by the Provost’s office, held in January, recognized four entomology staff members. Congratulations to the following entomology employees who were honored for their years of service:


30 Years - Cheryl Towell, Administrative Support/Budget Analyst for USDA-APHIS Wildlife
25 Years - Jamal Faghihi, Research and Extension Nematologist
20 Years - Connie Vianco, Information Specialist, National Pesticide Information Retrieval System, CERIS
15 Years - Peggy Hoover, User Services Specialist, National Pesticide Information Retrieval System, CERIS

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Births and Marriages


Brandi Schemerhorn and husband, Steve, welcomed their new daughter, Elizabeth Kathryn, in December.


Mahmoud El-Nour and his wife, Hayaam, had their second baby boy, Ahmed, born in December 2008.


Rajat Aggarwal and wife, Neha, had a new son, Syon, in December.


Hossam Abdel Moniem (PhD Candidate) and his wife, Heba H. Ahmed, have a new daughter, Judy, born in January.


Thiago Bennati (PhD Candidate) and Maria Isabel Menendez Leon were married in December, 2008.


Chaoyang Zhao (PhD Candidate) and Faith Chang were married in November 2008.

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New Staff


Jennifer Tsuruda, is a new postdoc from Fresno, California, where her parents maintain a veterinary practice. She received her BS, MS, and PhD from UC Davis, where she worked with Robert Page (now at Arizona State University) on honey bee on honey bee foraging behavior and the evolution of social behavior. She was a postdoc at Davis, working with Robert Page and Gro Amdam on downregulating an insulin receptor substrate linked to longevity using RNAi, vitellogenin dynamics, and gene expression patterns in ovaries from high and low pollen-hoarding strains. Jennifer works with Greg Hunt on a collaborative project investigating honey bee health, specifically developing SNP markers for alleles of candidate genes involved in disease resistance in honey bees. In the immediate future, she will be working on RNAi of candidate genes for defensive behavior.

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Departing Staff


Susan Balfe, Lab Manager, took a new position as Lab Manager in the Entomology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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George Earl Huff, 86 (BS ’48) [More]


Bruce Godby, 49 (BS ’87) [More]

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FROM THE HEAD BUG by Steve Yaninek


External Department Review


Steve Yaninek
Steve Yaninek

You can tell spring is just around the corner when the daffodils are up, the tree buds are swelling, and we’re getting ready for Bug Bowl. Another reminder this year is an external review we have been preparing for since the fall of 2007. Every five years or so, the College calls for an external evaluation of each academic department. They work with the Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service, the USDA agency responsible for the land grant partnership, to create a team of external experts from around the country to carryout comprehensive evaluations. Our team has been selected and is scheduled to visit in early April.

[Full Story]





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Winter 2009 kicks off with “Indiana on the Fly”


Arwin Provonsha kicked off our 2009 outreach activities at Indiana’s Fly-fishing Show, Indiana on the Fly in January at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Provonsha was on hand to answer questions about aquatic insects in the Environmental Learning Center; in addition, he displayed a few of his illustrations from Aquatic Entomology: The Fishermen’s and Ecologists’ Illustrated Guide to Insects and Their Relatives by Patrick McCafferty.  Approximately 400 visitors attended casting and tying lessons, seminars, fish and insect identification tutorials.

Christian Oseto
provided a group of 4 and 5 year olds an opportunity to learn about the science of insects during his Careers in Science presentation to children in the Super Saturday program in February. Using a variety of hands-on methods, the children learned about what an entomologist does, the qualities and characteristics of insects and their relatives, facts about insect vision and how it compares to that of humans, and insect life cycles. The youngsters dissected their own lubber grasshoppers, used compound microscopes to make observations, and were provided with an introduction to some of the world’s smallest beetles. One of the youngsters was so excited about what he had learned that he announced that taking part in the event was “a dream come true!”

Tom Turpin
was in Fishers, Indiana in February for an evening of round-robin style presentations at the Brooks School Elementary Math and Science Night. Professor Turpin did a variation on his “Bug in a Bag” program for approximately 250 K-4 students and their parents. The event was arranged to encourage young students to consider the possibilities offered by careers in the fields of math and science. Representatives from the IUPUI Departments of Chemistry and Forensic Science, the National Weather Service, INDOT, and Dow Agro Science were on hand to provide demonstrations and answer questions.

Rick Crosslin, an Emmy award-winning host, science teacher, and school liaison for science learning at the world renowned Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, featured several representatives from the Department of Entomology in February and March on WFYI’s Indiana Expeditions. This multi-part, multi-adventure series is meant to promote science in a way that makes it “accessible for all of us to try ourselves" and “bring the fun of science home to kids and adults alike” says Crosslin. Rick and his crew visited Purdue University where he  interviewed Tom Turpin to learn about some of the benefits associated with insects, spoke with Jodie Ellis to learn more about the threat of invasive species, and shared a conversation with Ralph Williams on the contributions insects can make when determining the time of death. If you missed earlier airings, please visit: to watch!

College Mentors for Kids is a mentoring program on the Purdue campus that offers university students a unique opportunity to mentor elementary school aged children from the local community. Efforts are focused on bringing quality educational activities to children from at-risk backgrounds to facilitate their growth into responsible and productive adults. Recently members brought their young charges to take a tour of the Boiler Bug Barn led by Melissa Shepson. The youngsters had an opportunity to handle the live insects and learn about where they came from, and then returned to a classroom in Smith Hall to participate in a read aloud of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and create their own Life Cycle of a Butterfly handbook.




Bug Bowl:  April 18 and 19
For more information please visit:


Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore BioBlitz:  May 15 and 16
For more information please visit:   The National Geographic BioBlitz Project or
Indiana Dunes National Park BioBlitz Page


DISCOVER! 2009:  A Summer Institute for Educators:  Science on Six Legs, June 22-26


For more information please visit:  Gifted Education Resource Institute




Bilsland Fellowship


Thiago Benatti was selected to receive Bilsland Fellowship funding for the 2009-2010 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. Thiago is from Brazil and works with Jeff Stuart in the area of Interdisciplinary Genetics.

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2008 OVEA Winners


Bachelors Category:


  • Third Place - Matt Paschen from Purdue University presented a paper entitled, “Evaluation of a commercially-available pheromone lure as a generic attractant for longhorned beetles in the subfamily Cerambycinae”.


Master of Science Category


  • First Place - Annie Spikes from Purdue University presented a paper entitled, “Chemically mediated mate location and recognition in the primitive longhorned beetle Mallodon dasystomus (Say)".
  • Third Place - Terri Hoctor from Purdue University presented a paper entitled, “Comparison of indigenous and commercial strains of the nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora”.


Ph.D. Category:

First Place - Alex Murphy from Purdue University presented a paper entitled, “A comparison of refuge-in–a-bag to other refuge structures used in managing resistance to transgenic corn in western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte)


OVEA website:

[Full Story]

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New Awards Established for Entomology Students


Philip Morton - Outstanding Student, Doctoral Program

Walter Baldauf - Outstanding Student, Masters Program

Walter Baldauf - Outstanding Student Service Award


Philip Morton and Walter Baldauf

Philip Morton

Walter Baldauf

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New Students – Spring 2009


Katelyn Strack, CODO, from Indianapolis, Indiana

Mahsa Fardisi, MS with Linda Mason, from Shiraz, Iran

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Winter Graduations


Matt Paschen (BS ’08), from Twelve Mile, Indiana

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Bugs, Brains and Trivia


Entomology students aren’t normally the ones under the microscope, but at the annual Linnaean Games, a national insect trivia competition, they are scrutinized as closely as their own six-legged subjects. Before a crowd of more than a thousand, the larval scholars – mostly PhD candidates – struggle with categories like “Name That Pest” and “Know Your Bug Families.”

[Full Story]

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Robert Waltz (MS '82, PhD ’86)
Bob Waltz, Indiana State Chemist and Seed Commissioner, received the 2008 Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association Award of Merit at the 2009 Indiana Green Expo in Indianapolis. The award is given annually to a business, institution, job, or individual whom the INLA feels has contributed significantly to the industry.


Max Summers (PhD ’68)
The pioneer and co-inventor of the most innovative technology in the life sciences field was recognized with an organization’s highest award during a recent conference in San Antonio.

[Full Story]


Kevin Steffey (BS ’72)
Kevin L. Steffey has been recognized for his extension entomology program at the University of Illinois, where he has been an extension specialist (100% appointment) since 1979, first with the Office of Economic Entomology, then with the Department of Crop Sciences (since 1996).

[Full Story]


John Wieland (BS ’79) is a Deputy Permit Administrator with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. John remembers “Gary Bennett being a wonderful major professor and all ‘round good guy.” John and his wife, Jean, have two children, Kevin and Michelle.


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April 18-19    Bug Bowl

May 28-29    Entomology Development Council

July 18    Butterfly Count




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

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