ESA Southeastern Branch Meeting and a Defense

Things have finally slowed down a bit and I can take the time to share some updates on what has been going on the last month and a half!

In March, I attended the Southeastern Branch meeting of the Entomological Society of America. This is a meeting that I was looking forward to for some time for a couple of reasons. 1) I was going to get to talk about some extension work we have been doing in a community in Vero Beach called Gifford and 2) I was the chair of the student affairs committee and was looking forward to seeing all of our events come together!

Overall, the meeting was excellent. The extension program that we have been working on in Gifford focuses on encouraging members of the community to participate in container-elimination. This community is one that is traditionally underserved (decreased access to information and resources). For our program, we had an established member of the community deliver the educational message and encourage container elimination. The study is ongoing, but our preliminary results tell us that this kind of program can be effective. These results could be important when it comes to times of active disease transmission (like Zika in 2016).

There were many students from the University of Florida in attendance at the meeting and they all did excellent in their respective endeavors.

To name a few accomplishments:

  • Cory Penca, DPM student, placed 2nd in the Extension, Outreach and Teaching student competition
  • Morgan Pinkerton, DPM Student, placed 1st in her student competition
  • Lindsy Iglesias, PhD student who graduates this semester, received the Friends of IPM award
  • Rachel Watson received an award for her undergraduate presentation
  • The UF Linnaean Team won 1st place in the Linnaean Games and will advance on to the national games in Vancouver
  • I was awarded the 1st place prize for my Extension presentation

UF_WinnersUniversity of Florida student award winners at the ESA SEB meeting

CaseyParker&SteveLapointe(SEB2018).jpgAccepting my student competition award from ESA SEB President, Dr. LaPointe

After returning from the SEB meeting in Orlando, a good friend of mine was getting ready to defend her MS thesis work. For the last 2 years, Kristin has worked on a project that revolves around Culicoides, otherwise known as no-see-ums. These insects are not only annoying but are vectors of a variety of diseases that can cause disease in cervids. Kristin evaluated sampling methods and created ecological niche models to predict the distribution of various Culicoides species throughout Florida.

She was successful in defending her thesis and will graduate later this semester. After graduating, Kristin will remain at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory to complete a PhD as a UF Fellowship student.

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