Tag Archives: entomology

Mike Weaver receives 2016 Supervisor Spotlight award

Professor Michael Weaver is being recognized for his commitment to work-life harmony.

Weaver is the 2016 recipient of the Hokie Wellness Supervisor Spotlight Award.

In recognition for his commitment to work-life harmony, Michael Weaver is the 2016 recipient of the Hokie Wellness Supervisor Spotlight Award.

In recognition for his commitment to work-life harmony, Michael Weaver is the 2016 recipient of the Hokie Wellness Supervisor Spotlight Award. He is pictured here receiving his award with Susan Terwilliger (left) and Holly Gatton.

According to his colleagues, Weaver, a professor in the Department of Entomology and the director of Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs, recognizes the importance and unpredictability of family and the need for flexibility in the workplace.

“Dr. Weaver embodies an esprit de corps that motivates us all,” said Holly Gatton, project manager for the Department of Entomology.

Weaver is credited with mentoring employees as they pursue advanced degrees and supporting their work-life balance needs.

“I don’t think I do much more than anyone else to deserve recognition for my supervision. It is always a learning experience,” he said. “I just happen to be blessed with some super co-workers. They are supportive and quite easy to manage.”

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Tim Kring appointed head of Department of Entomology

Tim Kring, a faculty member at the University of Arkansas, has been named head of the Department of Entomology in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Kring spent the last 31 years working on biological control of insect pests and weeds using their natural enemies. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Quinnipiac University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in entomology from Texas A&M University. He started at Virginia Tech in January.

“One of my goals as a new department head is to grow our faculty members,” he said. “We have a great reputation for enjoying a convivial and collegial work environment here, so I am looking forward to having the opportunity to energize our roster with new faculty in the near future.”

Kring is a member of the Entomological Society of America as well as societies in the states of Kansas, Florida, Georgia, and served as the president of the Arkansas Entomological Society in 1992, as well as the International Organization for Biological Control Nearctic Regional Section from 1997-1999.

He is the recipient of the 2009 ESA Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management, Southeastern Branch, and the Distinguished Scientist Award, International Organization for Biological Control, NRS.

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2016 Alwood Extension Award winners

Molly Darr and James Wahls, graduate students in the Virginia Tech Department of Entomology, recently won the 2016 Alwood Extension Award. This award, begun in 2014, recognizes entomology graduate students who dedicate themselves to Cooperative Extension and outreach service. The award comes with a $500 scholarship, a plaque, and a commemorative print. It honors the legacy of William Bradford Alwood, Virginia Tech’s first entomologist and a world-renowned scientist.

Alwood Extension Award winners, receiving their awards last month. From left: Mike Weaver, professor of entomology; Ed Jones, director of VCE; James Wahls, award winner; Doug Pfeiffer, professor of entomology; and Molly Darr, award winner

Alwood Extension Award winners, receiving their awards last month. From left: Mike Weaver, professor of entomology; Ed Jones, director of VCE; James Wahls, award winner; Doug Pfeiffer, professor of entomology; and Molly Darr, award winner

Darr, a Ph.D. candidate, is studying biological control of the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive pest that has devastated hemlocks and other trees in the Appalachian region of the East Coast. Originally from Lovettsville, Virginia, she received her bachelor of science from Virginia Tech in 2009. She has received several prestigious awards, including the President’s Prize from the Entomological Society of America in 2015 and the W.B. Alwood Travel Award the same year.

Darr became interested in entomology while working at several field jobs after graduation from college. “I have always been interested in conservation and the inner workings of ecological systems,” she explained. “Studying biological control in the field of forest entomology was perfectly aligned with these interests.”

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Ames Herbert wins Insect Research and Control Conference award

Ames Herbert was named as the 2016 recipient of the Insect Research and Control Conference Award for Excellence in Cotton Integrated Pest Management. This is a very prestigious national award, presented at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. The award recognizes the outstanding career contributions of an individual to applied arthropod integrated pest management across the U.S. Cotton Belt. Herbert was recognized for excelling in industry, research, extension, or educational programs that have benefited the cotton industry. The annual recognition is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and consists of an inscribed trophy and a monetary reward. The award was presented to Herbert at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans, Louisiana on Jan. 6.

Herbert is a professor of entomology at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and  Extension Center. He has an extensive program that emphasizes profitable yet environmentally sound methods to manage pests in the wide variety of row crops grown in Virginia. As a testament to his excellence, he was selected for this national award even  though cotton is not as significant a commodity in Virginia relative to the southern states. Herbert is highly respected and works collaboratively with grower and industry groups, Extension agents and university researchers. Herbert serves both as Extension project leader for the Department of Entomology and the state IPM coordinator.

Congratulations!

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Welcome new faculty!

Our college recently hired eight new faculty members, with the intent on bringing new talent to its focus areas, including food and health, infectious disease, biodesign and processing, and agricultural profitability and environmental sustainability. These new hires are distributed across teaching, research, and Extension.

Please welcome our new faculty members:

  • Carlin Rafie appointed assistant professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise and Extension specialist
  • Charlie Cahoon appointed assistant professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science and Extension specialist
  • Cristina Fernandez-Fraguas appointed assistant professor of food science and technology
  • Hannah Scherer appointed Extension specialist and assistant professor of agricultural, leadership, and community education
  • Laura Strawn named Extension specialist and assistant professor of food science and technology
  • Maria Sharakhova joins entomology faculty
  • Olga Isengildina-Massa named associate professor of agricultural and applied economics
  • Travis Mountain named Extension specialist, assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics
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Hokie BugFest 2015

On Oct. 17, the Inn at Virginia Tech teemed with insects, spiders, millipedes, and other creatures normally found outdoors. It was the fifth annual Hokie BugFest, which attracted 7,020 children and adults from the New River Valley and beyond. This year’s event featured a lineup of entomology exhibits, live arthropods, a flea circus, a spooky spiders’ lair, and glow-in-the-dark millipedes. New this year was a renowned bug chef from Seattle, David George Gordon. Gordon prepared insect delicacies for curious onlookers and explained why eating bugs may be good for you.

Bug ChefOther new attractions included Radford University’s Roachzilla! (giant cockroaches), an exhibit from Bayer Bee Care Center, and a professional face painter. A member of the Virginia Tech Police Department hosted a display on forensics and insects in crime solving. Photographer Deana B. Marion hosted a macro-photography exhibit of bee images. Artist Jane Blevins conducted a bug drawing class with a college theme. And a Virginia Tech biomedical engineering and mechanics lab demonstrated how insects suck up fluids.

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Hokie BugFest 2015

Take a peek into the fascinating world of entomology at the fifth annual Hokie BugFest! This unique festival will happen on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Inn at Virginia Tech (Latham Ballroom). The Inn is on the edge of the Virginia Tech campus off Price’s Fork Road, close to the 460 Bypass and near downtown Blacksburg. Free parking is available.

Activities and exhibits include a live Bug Zoo, Roachzilla! (giant cockroaches), luminescent and cave-dwelling bugs, ant colonies, games, and crafts. Arthropod enthusiasts can admire giant “bird-eater” tarantulas, observe bright-blue death-feigning beetles, see a working beehive, and visit departmental research displays. The themes of science and discovery are interwoven into all activities.

Hokie Bugfest was held at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Bugs are displayed for people who are interested in learning about insects, beetles, and spiders up-close.

Hokie Bugfest was held at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Bugs are displayed for people who are interested in learning about insects, beetles, and spiders up-close.

This year we are pleased to welcome David George Gordon, a renowned bug chef from Seattle who will prepare insect delicacies several times during the day. Come find out why eating bugs may be good for you.

Also new this year are a pollinators exhibit from Bayer Bee Care Center and a professional face painter. A member of the Virginia Tech Police Department will host a display on forensics and insects in crime solving.

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Denise Dodd – September Employee of the Month

Congratulations to the September Employee of the Month, Denise Dodd! Denise is a database specialist for the Department of Entomology.

Denise Dodd receiving her award with Andy Roberts (left) and Dean Grant (right).

Denise Dodd receiving her award with Andy Roberts (left) and Dean Grant (right).

Denise’s nominator explained that she “is now our STS database manager as well as a critical liaison to our integrated geographic information system and decision support model. Aside from her STS project duties, she has assumed responsibility for multiple departmental needs. When the department was required to switch its web presence to the university’s Ensemble CMS, it was Denise who shepherded this process through the technical and political pitfalls and provided training to departmental personnel in both one-on-one and group seminar settings.” In addition to technical IT work, she is the project field liaison with gypsy moth trappers and supervisors in 11 states and two federal agencies, and for years has demonstrated a willingness and commitment to departmental and university activities involving students, staff, and faculty.

As the September Employee of the Month, she will receive a plaque, gifts from the college, have her photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

 

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Ryan Mays – August Employee of the Month

Congratulations to the August Employee of the Month, Ryan Mays! Ryan is a research specialist for the Department of Entomology.

Ryan Mays accepting his award alongside Scott Salom (left) and Dean Alan Grant

Ryan Mays accepting his award alongside Scott Salom (left) and Dean Alan Grant

Ryan’s nominator explained that “to feed the colony of agents at the insectary, food must be collected on a weekly basis from October through May. So just the travel alone is enormously difficult. Ryan does all of this alone. Therefore, in recognition of Ryan’s tireless efforts to keep our HWA Biological Control program going, I nominate him for Employee of the Month.”

He is challenged by multiple supervisors and continues to meet and exceed expectations. Ryan was awarded the Employee of the Month award previously in 2009, and his continued efforts warranted a second nomination.

As the August Employee of the Month, Ryan will receive a plaque, gifts from the college, have his photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, be featured in an article in Insights and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

Congratulations, Ryan!

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Scenes from the 2015 CALS picnic

Photos by William McKenzie

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Members of CALSSA hand out gift bags.

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Hethwood Market provided tasty lunch fare.


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