Entomological Society of America names winners of 2013 student travel grants

Posted: September 12, 2013

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) is proud to announce the winners of the 2013 Entomology Student Travel Grants. These travel grants, which will help entomology students attend Entomology 2013 – ESA's Annual Meeting in Austin this November – are funded by USDA-NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Program on Plant-Associated Insects and Nematodes. The grants were created to provide financial support to graduate students for new networking, presentation, and research opportunities

LOREN RIVERA VEGA is a PhD candidate in entomology with a dual degree in international agriculture and development at Penn State University. She obtained her bachelor's degree in agriculture at the Escuela Agricola Panamericana (Zamorano) in Honduras in 2007. In 2011, she completed her master's program at Ohio State University, working on the comparative transcriptomics of North American and Asian ash (Fraxinus spp.) trees for identification of potential resistance to emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). During this time she published three first-author journal articles and collaborated on four others. She is currently studying the effect of host plants on the composition of saliva in the cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni) and its impact on plant defenses. Her research interests focus on understanding the factors that affect plant defenses against insect herbivores and the social impact of scientific advancement in developing countries.

MAGGIE DOUGLAS started her academic career at Oberlin College, where she studied biology. Following several years advocating for sustainable agriculture in the non-profit sector, she was introduced to the world of insect ecology through the labs of Drs. Bob Denno (University of Maryland), John Lill (George Washington University), and Gina Wimp (Georgetown University). Seeing an opportunity to meld her interests in insects and agriculture, she pursued a master's degree at Penn State University under Dr. John Tooker, where she was part of an interdisciplinary cropping systems project where she studied the ecology of slugs and their natural enemies in no-till agroecosystems. Toward the end of her master's degree, she became interested in the potential non-target effects of neonicotinoid seed treatments on natural enemies, particularly through trophic transfer of toxins via tolerant herbivores. This topic forms the basis of her current dissertation work at Penn State, where she is pursuing a dual degree in entomology and international agriculture and development.

Complete list of 2013 winners