Stephanie Blevins and James Wilson, graduate students in the Department of Entomology, recently won the 2015 Alwood Extension Award. This award recognizes entomology graduate students who dedicate themselves to Virginia 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.
Blevins, an M.S.L.F.S. student, is studying the public’s views of arthropods and pesticides through the lens of university and entomology outreach events. She also works full time as Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs’ consumer education project manager. A native of Galax, Virginia, Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Virginia Tech in 2007. During her early work in horticulture, Blevins observed various insects feeding on plants and became fascinated by entomology. Her outreach efforts working with the public gradually transitioned from horticulture into entomology.
“I’m always eager to see a person’s reaction to insects,” Blevins said. “They might smile, look intrigued, squirm or take a few steps back. No matter the reaction, people are usually excited to learn a little more about the insect world – which is what our outreach efforts strive to encourage.”