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Entomological Society of America names 2008 award winners

Lanham, MD; September 29, 2008The Entomological Society of America (ESA) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2008 awards. The Society's professional awards will be presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada during the Plenary Session from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on the evening of Sunday, November 16, 2008. The student awards will be presented from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 18. The awardees are listed below.

Winners of the Entomological Foundation's awards and scholarships will be announced in next month's newsletter.

Professional Awards

Distinguished Achievement Award in ExtensionThis award recognizes outstanding contributions in extension entomology. This year's winner, Dr. Frederick P. Baxendale, is a professor and extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He completed his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in entomology at Texas A&M University, and earned his B.S. degree in entomology at Cornell University. Baxendale has extensive experience as an extension educator and research scientist. His extension responsibilities include educational programming in the areas of turfgrass and horticultural entomology, urban pest management, 4-H and youth entomology, and, most recently, forensic entomology. Baxendale has served as a panelist on the popular, long-running Backyard Farmer television program (now completing its 55th consecutive season) since 1985.

Baxendale is widely recognized for his expertise in the environmentally-responsible management of turfgrass and landscape insect pests, and he is a leading authority on the insects and mites associated with buffalograss. His research focuses on the development of integrated pest management strategies for insects affecting turfgrasses, native grasses, and horticultural plantings in Nebraska. He is currently investigating the biology, ecology, and management of arthropods associated with buffalograss and swived a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2008. Her thesis work focused on the superfamily Libelluloidea, which comprises Macromiidae, Corduliidae and the extremely speciose family Libellulidae. She incorporated molecular and morphological analyses to determine the evolution of several behavioral and biogeographical characters within Libelluloidea. Jessica also studies convergent evolution, particularly in dragonfly wing venation patterns, which are influenced by flight behaviour. She is collaborating on several species level odonate systematics studies (e.g., Stylogomphus, Synlestes, and Syncordulia). In addition to dragonfly systematics, Jessica is interested in phylogenetic methodology. She has examined how phylogenetic hypotheses vary with ingroup and outgroup taxon selection in Dictyoptera, and has investigated the effects of model selection on divergence estimation in dragonflies. Jessica recently won an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work on the systematics of lower termites with Dr. Dave Grimaldi at the American Museum of Natural History.

Dr. Jeffrey D. Bradshaw (North Central Branch) recently received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in entomology and plant pathology. He was co-advised by Dr. Marlin Rice and Dr. John Hill. Jeff's research involved work on the bean leaf beetle, Cerotoma trifurcata (Chrysomelidae), and Bean pod mottle virus (BPMV) biology and management. He also used various molecular tools to identify and sequence a new strain of BPMV from Desmodium illinoense (Fabaceae), a potential reservoir host for BPMV. This work has resulted in peer-reviewed and extension publications that have received numerous awards and recognitions. Jeff has been presenting the recommendations derived from his research, and he has been author/co-author of 41 scientific presentations (17 invited) at Branch and national meetings of the ESA, the National IPM Symposium, and the American Phytopathological Society, as well as two international symposia. In addition, he has authored or co-authored 27 extension publications. Jeff has also shown excellence as a teaching assistant in a study-abroad class titled "Natural History of the Serengeti," a 2.5-week course in which students observed and recorded mammal, bird, and insect behavior in northern Tanzania. Jeff incorporated several arthropod experiences into the course, including blacklighting for scorpions, close encounters with safari ants, and termite mound observations.

Dr. Christopher M. Barker (Pacific Branch) obtained his B.S. in biology and his M.S. in entomology from Virginia Tech. His M.S. research under Dr. Sally Paulson examined habitat preferences and phenology of two mosquito species, Aedes triseriatus and Aedes albopictus, in La Crosse virus transmission foci in Virginia. He also used remote sensing and GIS to relate abundance of these two mosquito species to land cover. After completing his M.S. research, Chris moved to Bakersfield, California, where he worked with Dr. William Reisen on a NOAA-funded project to study the influence of climate on mosquito abundance and arbovirus transmission. He moved to Davis, California in 2003 to begin work on a Ph.D. in entomology and an M.S. in epidemiology under Dr. Bruce Eldridge. He completed his degree in epidemiology in 2005 and his degree in entomology this fall. Using Bayesian statistical methods that account for spatial and temporal dependence among trap counts, Chris has developed statewide models that address regional differences in phenology of two mosquitoes of public-health importance, Culex tarsalis and the Culex pipiens complex. He has examined the effects of early-season meteorological conditions and the extent of adjacent larval habitat on the abundance of adult female mosquitoes and the relationship between vector abundance and arboviral transmission. Chris has received a number of awards, including the William C. Reeves Award from the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California, the Hazeltine Student Research Fellowship from UC Davis, and a Travel Award from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Chris has been a member of ESA and has participated in Annual Meetings since 2000.

Dr. Amit Sethi (Southeastern Branch) received his B.S. in agriculture (honors in plant protection) and his M.S. in entomology from the Punjab Agricultural University in India. He obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Florida, where he studied the biochemical basis for host plant resistance to several insect species in romaine lettuce, and is now continuing as a postdoctoral associate on the same project.

Amit has claimed ten prizes for his research presentations at each state, regional, and national entomological meeting that he has attended. He has written 19 publications and received many research and travel grants. He has delivered several extension talks on agricultural IPM, and he was a teaching assistant in insect ecology for four years.

Amit served as historian for the graduate student organization of the department, as coordinator of the Seminar Committee for several years, and he was active on the department's Social Committee. He was elected mayor of his graduate student housing, and he served in a leadership role on the Mayor's Council. His concern for the welfare of the graduate student community inspired him to establish a butterfly garden on the grounds of graduate housing for the enjoyment of the residents. He has contributed to the ESA, as well as to the Florida Entomological Society, through service (volunteering at registration and presentation preview), participation in Branch and national meetings, involvement in the Linnaean games, and publications in ESA journals.

Robert Puckett (Southwestern Branch) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University under the advisement of Dr. Marvin Harris. His dissertation work addresses field ecology of introduced Pseudacteon phorid flies and their red imported fire ant hosts, with the goal of improving fire ant biocontrol. Robert has developed a novel method to detect and monitor phorids. This will increase our understanding of the behavior of these parasitoids and improve their use in biocontrol. He has authored three peer-reviewed publications.

Robert is currently serving as Co-Chair of the ESA Ethics and Rules Committee, and he served as president of the Entomology Graduate Student Organization at Texas A&M (2006-07). He will begin a postdoctoral position at Texas A&M upon completion of his degree in December, 2008.

itchgrass. Baxendale has published over 300 publications, and has secured more than $2.75 million in competitive and grant-in-aid funding to help support his extension and applied research programs.

Baxendale has received numerous awards for excellence in extension programming, including the Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association's Outstanding New Specialist Award (1987), the Nebraska Cooperative Extension Team Awards for Backyard Farmer and Urban Pest Management (1995), the Gamma Sigma Delta Extension Award of Merit (1995), the ESA Recognition Award in Urban Entomology (1998), and the Excellence in Extension Award presented by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges in 2007. Baxendale has been an active member of ESA since 1978.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology (Sponsored by OHP)This award honors any entomologist who has contributed to the American horticulture industry. This year's awardee, Dr. Ronald D. Oetting, is a professor emeritus with the University of Georgia. He received his B.S. from the University of Missouri in wildlife conservation and after a short stint in the military returned to obtain an M.S. and Ph.D. in entomology. He has a split appointment in research and extension, and his responsibility is to develop pest management programs for pests of ornamental crops. Ron has worked with all of the major floricultural pests, including studies on their developmental biology and behavior; research on application technology; and management with traditional pesticides, specialized compounds, natural products, and biological control. He is nationally and internationally recognized for his research on the management of pests of greenhouse-grown, floricultural crops. Ron was an advisor for an AID/MERC project on greenhouse pest management in the Middle East for several years. He is an invited speaker for floricultural industry conferences nationally and internationally. Dr. Oetting has published over 100 refereed journal papers and numerous proceeding papers, book chapters, and articles. He is currently working part-time with the University of Georgia in the floricultural entomology program.

Distinguished Achievement Award in TeachingThis award is presented to the ESA member deemed to be the Society's outstanding teacher of the year. The 2008 recipient, Dr. Tiffany M. Heng-Moss, is an associate professor of entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She has developed seven undergraduate and graduate courses while providing leadership for development and implementation of a new undergraduate major in insect science. Her introductory insect biology course was the first distance-delivered concurrent credit course offered as part of the University of Nebraska Advanced Scholars Program for high school students. She is also making contributions to student learning and the quality of the student experience as a co-PI on a $1.4 million grant focused on strengthening the content knowledge and pedagogical skills of future secondary science teachers, mentoring undergraduate students, and serving as departmental undergraduate research and teaching coordinator.

Dr. Heng-Moss provides program leadership for outreach activities such as "Our Zoo to You," which has been presented to more than 2,500 students in 85 Nebraska classrooms over the past five years and has secured over $250,000 in competitive grant support. She has also been a major contributor and organizer for an annual Bug Bash educational program.

She has received several awards, including the USDA Regional Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences. She has received five Certificates of Recognition for Contributions to Students from the UNL Parents Association and Teaching Council, the Holling Family Junior Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, the North Central Branch Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching, and the Omtvedt Innovation Award from the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Distinguished Service Award to the Certification ProgramThe purpose of this award is to encourage and reward outstanding contributions to the ESA Certification Program and the professionalism of entomology. This year's recipient, Dr. Scott H. Hutchins, is Global Director for Crop Protection R&D within the R&D Function of Dow AgroSciences. Crop Protection R&D includes all aspects of product design for products (process research, formulations, product chemistry, packaging engineering, and plant scale-up), as well as all aspects of field research and development related to product performance characterization. It includes over 400 scientists and staff located in over 76 countries.

Hutchins holds a bachelor's degree in entomology from Auburn University, a master's degree in entomology from Mississippi State University, and a Ph.D. in entomology from Iowa State University. He is an adjunct professor within the Department of Entomology at the University of Nebraska, and has authored or co-authored over 100 refereed articles, reviews, or scientific presentations in the area of IPM and bio-economics. Hutchins was selected as the Outstanding Young Alumnus by Iowa State University and served as ESA President in 2007. Hutchins has been a strong advocate, contributor, and visible supporter of BCE and ACE certification programs since his election to the ESA Governing Board in 2000, and has been a Board Certified Entomologist since 1983.

Early Career Innovation Award (sponsored by BASF)This award honors young professionals working within the field of entomology who have demonstrated innovation through contributions within any area of specialization (research, teaching, extension, product development, public service, etc.). The first recipient of this new award is Dr. Consuelo M. De Moraes, an associate professor in the Department of Entomology at Penn State University. A native Brazilian, Dr. De Moraes earned her B.Sc. in ecology from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. After graduating, she came to the United States to pursue a doctorate in entomology at the University of Georgia. Dr. De Moraes' primary scientific interests are in illuminating the critical roles of chemical communication in mediating ecological interactions. Much of her research focuses on the role of plant volatiles in mediating interactions among plants and insects. Her findings have been published in prominent journals, including Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Dr. De Moraes' work has also been recognized through a number of prestigious awards, including the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering, the Beckman Young Investigator Award, and the DuPont Young Professor Award. She was also recently awarded a CAREER grant by the National Science Foundation. In addition to research, Dr. De Moraes is active in teaching and outreach and is particularly committed to promoting the integration of minorities and women in science.

Recognition Award in Entomology (Sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection)This award recognizes entomologists who have made or are making significant contributions to agriculture. This year's recipient, Dr. Douglas A. Landis, received his B.A. in biology from Goshen College in 1981 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in entomology from North Carolina State University in 1984 and 1987. In 1988 he accepted a position in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University, where he is currently a full professor with research and teaching responsibilities in insect ecology and biological control of invasive species. Much of his research has focused on the role of landscape structure in shaping insect-insect and insect-plant plant interactions. His current projects include biological control of soybean aphid and of garlic mustard, the use of native plants to enhance beneficial insects, and conservation of insects in fire-dependent ecosystems. He is the author of 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, as well as over 50 extension bulletins. His 2000 review of habitat management to enhance biological control is among the top-10 most cited and most downloaded articles in Annual Review of Entomology. As co-director of MSU's Invasive Species Initiative, he advises state and federal agencies on invasive species management, including biological control. Doug is known as an excellent mentor and has advised over 75 postgraduate students and research associates. His advisees have won numerous awards, and two were the recipients of the most recent IOBC-NRS Outstanding Ph.D. Student of the Year Award. He has been a member of the North Central Regional Committee on Arthropod Biological Control (NCERA-125) since 1989, serving in multiple leadership positions. He has previously served IOBC-NRS as secretary/treasurer (1995-96), associate editor of BioControl (2002-05) and as an at-large board member (2004-06). Doug has won numerous awards for his work, including four awards for excellence in biological control education from the Board Certified Entomologists of Mid-America. He also was named the 2008 recipient of the ESA North Central Branch's Recognition Award in Entomology.

Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, & Toxicology (Sponsored by Bayer CropScience)This award recognizes and encourages innovative research in insect physiology, biochemistry and toxicology. The 2008 awardee, Dr. Walter S. Leal, is a professor and former chair of the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Davis. Leal is a pioneer in the field of insect olfaction. An innovative and creative researcher, he is best known for his research on the mode of action of odorant-binding proteins and odorant-degrading enzymes on identification and synthesis of insect sex pheromones and on insect chemical communication.

The Leal lab recently unveiled DEET's mode of action. Contrary to previous hypotheses, DEET doesn't jam the senses or mask the smell of the host; mosquitoes smell the repellent directly and avoid it.

Dr. Leal is a dynamic teacher at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He incorporates film clips on biochemistry and insect behavior in sophisticated multi-media lectures, and he gives mid-term and final exams orally to expand the intellectual experience of his students.

Internationally recognized, Dr. Leal received the 2007 Silverstein-Simeone Award from the International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE), and he is a past president of ISCE and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His native country of Brazil recognized him with its Medal of the Entomological Society of Brazil in 1995 and with its Merit in Science (equivalent of ESA Fellow) this year. He is also a recipient of the highest honor (Gakkaisho) bestowed by the Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology. Under his tenure as chair, the UC Davis Department of Entomology was ranked last November as the number-one department in the country by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

ESA Student Awards

Student Activity Award (Sponsored by Monsanto Company)This award recognizes an ESA student member for outstanding contributions to the Society, his/her academic department, and the community, while simultaneously achieving academic excellence. David R. Coyle, this year's winner, is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working with Dr. Ken Raffa. His research is on the ecology and impact of a suite of invasive root-feeding weevils that inhabit the Lake States. Specifically, he is investigating the impact of larval root feeding in a northern hardwood forest, larval host location behavior, adult host choice and performance, and interactions between larval abundance and soil microbiota. His M.S. work was on management of cottonwood leaf beetle in plantation-grown poplars. From 2000󈝰, he worked for the USDA Forest Service as the lead technician on a large-scale tree production study, examining tree physiological characteristics, fine root dynamics, and insect population and damage in response to varying water and nutrient amendments.

David has published 22 refereed journal articles, two book chapters, and has given 49 oral (including nine invited) and poster presentations. He has helped teach five different courses, and has been awarded numerous awards and honors. David has received research and travel grants totaling in excess of $266,000, including an EPA STAR Graduate Fellowship. David has helped organize and moderate a forest entomology symposium at the national ESA meeting every year since 2002. David has been a member of ESA since 1996, and he currently serves as the North Central Branch Student Affairs Committee President. He serves as a peer reviewer for Environmental Entomology and the Journal of Economic Entomology, among other publications. David is active in community activities, serving as a member of the Village of McFarland Natural Resources Committee.

Student Certification Award (Sponsored by Springer Pest Solutions)This award recognizes and encourages outstanding entomology graduate students with interest in the mission of the ESA Certification Program. This year's winner, Preston Brown, received his B.S. from Virginia Tech in biological systems engineering (2005), and he will complete his M.S. in entomology in December, 2008. He currently works under Dr. Dini Miller at the Dodson Urban Pest Management Laboratory. Preston's research focuses on pest ant behavior and ecology, and his research project is entitled "The Spatiotemporal Composition of Pest Ant Species in the Residential Environments of Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico." His specific objectives have been to identify and determine the patterns of ecological succession of pest ant species in Puerto Rican housing developments. To date, Preston has collected over 243,000 ants, from which he identified 19 different species.

Preston has also participated in a wide variety of research projects where he has conducted termite inspections and treatment applications, evaluated cockroach monitoring and baiting programs, and evaluated bait efficacy for control of odorous house ants. He is a member of ESA, Sigma Xi, and Pi Chi Omega. Preston has given 12 professional presentations. He is an award-winning speaker, having received first place (2006) and second place (2008) in the student paper competition at the National Conference on Urban Entomology. He also received the Kosztarab Scholarship for Distinguished Achievement in Systematics in 2007, and, most recently, the National Conference on Urban Entomology Master of Science Scholarship in 2008. Preston is also an Eagle Scout (2000). After completing his M.S. degree, Preston plans to pursue a Ph.D., continuing to work in the field of ant behavior and ecology.

John Henry Comstock Graduate Student AwardsThese awards promote interest in entomology at the graduate level and stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting. The following 2008 winners were selected by each of the five ESA Branches:

Dr. Jessica L. Ware (Eastern Branch) received her B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where she assisted Dr. Geoff Scudder and Karen Needham at the Spencer Entomological Museum. She worked with Dr. Diane Srivastava on Mecistogaster modesta (Odonata: Zygoptera: Pseudostigmatidae), both in Vancouver and northeastern Costa Rica. She also worked with Dr. Judy Myers on viruses in natural tent caterpillar populations and Bacillus thuringiensis resistance in greenhouse populations of Trichoplusia ni.

She rece

Contact: Richard Levine
Entomological Society of America

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