Officers

2019-2020 Academic Year

Co-President: Kaitlin Deutsch 

I am broadly interested in the ecology and conservation of native pollinators. For my master’s dissertation at the University of Oxford, I investigated the prevalence of pathogens in syrphid flies. At Cornell, I would like to study the potential effects of disease, pesticide exposure, and climate change on the ability of native pollinators to fulfill critical pollination services. Under the supervision of Dr. Scott McArt, I hope to translate the scientific results into policy suggestions and guidelines.

Co-President: Samantha Willden 

After finishing my MS work at Utah State University, I am hoping to begin a PhD program that will provide the training necessary in pursuing a career in university extension. My primary interest in research includes the development of pest management strategies, and particularly biological control, that provide sustainable control of arthropod pests in agriculture. In the northeastern U.S., cyclamen mites pose serious threats to strawberry production while little is known of their biology and management. I would like to address this issue in a PhD project with Dr. Greg Loeb at Cornell that emphasizes biocontrol, while also developing educational materials that extends this research to local growers.

Secretary: Ashley Jernigan

I am interested in exploring how soil fauna can be managed to increase crop production while improving soil health. I hope to develop our understanding of the relationships between soil properties, mesofauna communities, and plant growth.

Treasurer: Chhoki Sherpa

I am interested in furthering my knowledge in mosquito identification and surveillance techniques. I hope to learn in-depth details about mosquito physiology and biology including their ecological preferences and reproduction evolution in response to climate change or chemicals (pesticides), especially of Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. Likewise, I would like to gain knowledge in vector-borne pathogens and delve into vaccines for vector-borne diseases so that I can contribute to control or eradicate vector-borne illnesses such as zika and chikungunya on a national as well as global level. Furthermore, I would like to garner/strengthen data analysis and management skills.

SNEEB Chair: Tim Luttermoser

I am broadly interested in insect ecology and natural history, and particularly in community and landscape ecology. For my M.Sc. research at Purdue University, I focused on behavioral and chemical ecology of ants. Specifically, I studied odorous house ants, a native North American ant which has an extremely variable social structure which seems to relate in some way to its success in urban areas. For my PhD at Cornell, I would like to focus on community ecology in agroecosystems under the supervision of Dr. Katja Poveda. I am particularly interested in understanding how diversity and community composition relate to ecosystem services such as pest control by natural enemies.

Outreach Chair: Julie Davis

Julie DavisI am fascinated by how plant chemistry and insect physiology mediate multi-species interactions. In graduate school, I plan to study how plants manage multiple mutualists and antagonists under variable biotic and abiotic conditions. It is my goal to study evolutionary ecology in systems applicable to agriculture and conservation. I have a particular interest in push-pull management approaches and landscape-scale insectary plantings, and would like to work to apply theoretical research through Cornell Cooperative Extension and other public outreach avenues.
GPSA Representative: Lindsay Fennell

I am a graduate student in Dr. Kyle Wickings’ lab. My interests include soil health, above- and below-ground biotic interactions, and the range of ecosystem services that soil dwelling organisms provide to agricultural crops. My research will investigate the trade-offs between soil health management practices and pest management tactics. Specifically, I’ll be looking at the effects of pesticide use practices on soil fauna and microbial activity, and the implications for soil biological processes such as fertility and biological control.

Symposium Chair: Erica Moretti

As a graduate student of Entomology, I study integrated pest management (IPM) in commercial onion systems. Specifically, my research attempts to understand how abiotic factors, like management and weather, influence the distribution of the early-season pest, onion maggot.  In addition to this work, for the past 3 summers, I have monitored susceptibility of onion thrips, the most important pest of onion, to insecticides used in its control.  Onion thrips is a small pest (1-2 mm) that feed on the leaves of onions, ultimately reducing bulb size and transmitting pathogens among plants. The primary way these pests are controlled is with pesticides; however, this pest is notorious for developing resistance to insecticides. In order to manage resistance and maintain the efficacy of reduced-risk products, annual monitoring of thrips susceptibility to insecticides is essential. The goal of my EOA project is to continue monitoring thrips susceptibility to insecticides, to prepare protocols that can be used in the future by others to monitor thrips, and to deliver this information to growers through extension publications.


 

Professional Development Chair: Kass Urban-Mead

I am interested in the spatial ecology of beneficial insects in agricultural landscapes. For my undergraduate and M.Sc. research at Yale University, I focused on the interaction networks of wild bee communities in old-field meadows across human impact gradients. For my Ph.D., I would like to continue studying landscape scale beneficial insect dynamics and theory-driven conservation with Prof. Bryan Danforth. I am particularly interested in understanding early season forage provisioning and factors affecting nest site availability for wild bee pollinators in apple orchards.

 
Social Chair: Erin Hassett

Beginning in the fall of 2018, I will be working in Dr. Laura Harrington’s lab. I am interested in exploring the way human health is impacted by environmental factors. Specifically, my research is guided by a general concern with population dynamics of vector-borne diseases and searching for methods of prevention, management, and control for both disease and vectors. I hope to use the knowledge and experience I gain at Cornell to help protect communities from these diseases on both the domestic and international level.

Mental Health Chairs: Talya Shragai & Kaitlin Deutsch

I am interested in the biology of vector-borne diseases. For my undergraduate research at the University of California, Los Angeles, I focused on the intersection between biology and global development; specifically, I looked at how anthropogenic impact affects animal behavior. For my Ph.D. at Cornell University, I would like to study the impact of climate change on mosquito behavior and physiology under the supervision of Laura Harrington. I am particularly interested in understanding how these changes may influence the dynamics of disease transfer.

I am broadly interested in the ecology and conservation of native pollinators. For my master’s dissertation at the University of Oxford, I investigated the prevalence of pathogens in syrphid flies. At Cornell, I would like to study the potential effects of disease, pesticide exposure, and climate change on the ability of native pollinators to fulfill critical pollination services. Under the supervision of Dr. Scott McArt, I hope to translate the scientific results into policy suggestions and guidelines.

DPW Chairs: Juan Silva & Diana Obregon

My fields of interest are biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, toxicology, and population genetics and I am applying to Cornell as a PhD student in Entomology. I am fascinated by the life cycle, behavior, and ecology of mosquitoes and other insects. More precisely, I would like to study resistance to insecticides because this is a field where I can evidence evolution happening every day to the mosquito population. Finally, I would like to drive a project under the direction of Dr. Scott: the idea would be to seek molecular markers involved in resistance to insecticides using A. aegypti as target organism.

I am agronomist, with a master degree on entomology and I am applying to Cornell as a PhD student. Since my bachelor I have been interested in the plant – insect interactions. At the beginning of my career I worked with honey bees and stingless bees, identifying their trophic niche and their potential as crop pollinators. Last years I have been more involved in pest management in tropical crops. Now, for my PhD project under the direction of Dr. Katja Poveda, I would like to combine these two aspects to develop integrated solutions for farmers, controlling pests but at the same taking care of pollinators. To do that I want to learn more about agroecology, chemical ecology and pest management strategies.

Comments are closed.