2015-2016 Academic Year

President: Kristen Brochu

Currently a 4th year PhD student in the field of Entomology at Cornell University, I received my BSc in Wildlife Biology from McGill University and my MSc in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Toronto. I have always been fascinated by the natural world, and my love of biology was only reinforced by several excellent field research opportunities during my undergraduate studies. I enjoy being involved in science communication and outreach activities as I love sharing my passion for science with others. In my research, I am interested in the evolution of life history traits, specifically patterns of generalist vs. specialist diets.My dissertation is focused on examining the effects of pollen chemistry and the microbial community on the health of the specialist squash bee, Peponapis pruinosa. Although I currently study bees, I love all insects and have spent a lot of quality time with my collecting net in Canada, the United States, Barbados, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, and The Bahamas. When not traveling, I can usually be found tending to my pet insect zoo.

Vice President: Ethan Degner

Ethan Degner joined the Harrington lab in the fall of 2013. He earned his B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College where he majored in Biology and minored in necromancy and knitting. After graduating, he spent 3 months in Panama tricking leafcutter ants into eating things they’re not supposed to. During this time he became excited about entomology. He also became aware of many insect-borne diseases and parasites. He chose to study medical entomology in the hopes of conducting research that will improve human health. His research focuses on mating behavior and sperm locomotion of the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the culprit responsible for transmission of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. When he can find spare time, Ethan enjoys catching in his mouth gummy bears thrown from across the room, playing air guitar, bowhunting, and quoting obscure 80s movies.


Secretary: Leticia Smith
Leticia Smith

I’m a 3rd year student in the Scott Lab. I am interested in vector biology and in understanding the limitations in their control such as the evolution of insecticide resistance and what environmental conditions are having an impact in this phenomenon. Through my research, I hope to expand on the existing knowledge of insecticide resistance and the fundamental mechanisms that drive its stability and perseverance in the environment.

I tend to surround myself with a lot of plants and also love the company of animals, including humans! My free time is often spent trying out new food recipes, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, as well as hiking or strolling along with my senior dog. I also love travelling (who doesn’t?) and learning new languages and about different cultures.

Treasurer: Ricardo Perez-Alvarez
SNEEB Guru: Zoe Getman-Pickering


I am a second year student in Dr. Thaler’s lab. I got my BA in Ecology and Evolution of Invasive Species at the small experimental Hampshire College. While I consider myself an Ecologist the vagaries of fate and funding have dropped me in the Cornell Department of Entomology. I study how tomato plants communicate the threat of herbivory through underground fungal networks. I love playing ahem I mean working with big manduca caterpillars. When I’m not at work I am probably either cooking up a dessert or going way overboard on a craft project. I am working on my presentation skills by getting involved in theater productions like the vagina monologues and Rocky Horror.

Seminar Coordinator: Anyi Mazo-Vargas
GPSA Representative: Mary Centrella 
Mary Centrella

My name is Mary Centrella and I am a 3rd year PhD student in Entomology at Cornell in the Danforth and Poveda labs. I am studying how pesticides and diet diversity affect mason bees in apple orchards across a landscape gradient. I hope this work will help us increase pollination services and improve pollinator health for wild bees. 5 years ago, as an undergrad, I fell into a job collecting caterpillars in the Cloud Forest and I have been a huge entomology and ecology nerd ever since. I love sharing my passion for science with others through teaching and outreach. Apart from science-ing, I love going hiking, cross-country skiing, biking, and kayaking. I also really enjoy eating cookies and playing word games. I’m excited to see where grad school will lead me and hope to make many discoveries along the way!

Webmaster: Tessa Lessord

I am a second year Master’s student working with Art Agnello at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY. I am interested in the virulence of native entomopathogenic nematodes against a common apple pest, Plum Curculio.

In my spare time, I love to go adventuring and make food and art. I do a lot of biology outreach, so that means I spend a lot of time taking care of animals including my bearded dragon and gray tree frogs.


Professional Development: Laura Figueroa 


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I’m a first year Ph.D student in Scott McArt’s lab working on pathogen transmission in bees. I am interested in understanding how specific flower and bee functional traits guide transmission in plant-pollinator networks. Developing evidence-based conservation strategies to protect bees is the driving force behind my research. I am passionate about sustainability and conservation of biodiversity. When I am not doing science you can find me dancing, painting, knitting or cooking delicious vegan food!

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