From the Chair | Jamie Strange, PhD

We expanded our faculty by hiring two forest entomologists. Kayla Perry, PhD, started in August 2022 and is based on the CFAES Wooster campus. Sam Ward, PhD, will start in the summer/autumn 2023 and will be based on the Columbus campus. We are extremely pleased to have Kayla and Sam become our colleagues. We also welcomed Scott Wolfe as the new Wooster Science Building and lab safety coordinator, as we saw long-time employee Jim Hacker retire last spring. Scott has enhanced the efficiency of our operations and was awarded a professional development grant to attend a training on growth chamber operations in October. To finish building our administration team, Janna Thompson-Chordas joined us at the beginning of the autumn semester as our academic program coordinator. Welcome Back BBQJanna has already expanded our recruitment and engagement materials to help grow our academic programs. 

Speaking of our programs, the number of undergraduates and graduate students significantly increased for autumn 2022 enrollment. We had seven graduate students and 11 undergraduates begin their studies in our department. Many of our students presented and received awards at the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting. Andy Michel, PhD, will become Associate Dean and Director of the CFAES Wooster Campus in January, after serving as Associate Chair since 2016 (starting as interim). We thank Andy for serving our department and wish him luck in his new position.

Several of our outreach programs expanded opportunities for in-person events. Our Wooster Science Building Open House was a huge success. It was nice to welcome back so many alumni, former faculty and staff and their families. Jamie with Grad Student Valerie Anderson at the BUGmobile during FSRWe held various events such as the Insect Night Walk and welcoming BBQs. We trailed the BUGmobile to several events including the 2022 Farm Science Review. UTBZ Halloween Open HouseRecently the Entomology Graduate Student Association teamed up with the United Titanium Bug Zoo to hold the first annual Halloween Open House, attended by almost 300 people, and caterpillars, butterflies, bees, and witches! (See timelapse here.)

Entomology expanded laboratory and research capacity with renovations to the Bee Lab and transitioned our collaboration with the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic to the Wooster Science Building. We hope to see construction beginning soon on the third floor of the Wooster Science Building to welcome our departmental USDA-ARS colleagues, Chris Ranger and Mike Reding. 

Our department received funding for several new research projects including $1,599,000 from NSF (Gardiner and Strange), $868,000 from USDA-NIFA (Michel, Tilmon and others), and $433,125 from NIH-NIAID (Short). We are proud to announce that graduating PhD student from the Mary Gardiner lab, Sarah Scott, received the prestigious Royal Society Newton International Fellowship and will continue her research on the impacts of metal exposure on bumble bee behavior and populations with Lynn Dicks, PhD, at the University of Cambridge, UK.