News Release

Entomological Society of America names 2010 Insect Science Award winners

17 professional and student award winners for 2010

Grant and Award Announcement

Entomological Society of America

ESA is pleased to announce the winners of its 2010 awards. Professional awards will be presented at the Opening Plenary Session of the ESA Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, Sunday, December 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The student awards will be presented on Tuesday, December 14, 8:00-9:00 p.m. The awardees are listed below.

  • HONORARY MEMBERS—Honorary Membership acknowledges those who have served ESA for at least 20 years through significant involvement in the affairs of the Society that has reached an extraordinary level.

  • Dr. George G. Kennedy (Honorary Member) is currently William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and head of the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University. He holds B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from Oregon State University and Cornell University, respectively. He served as assistant professor of entomology at University of California, Riverside from 1974 to 1976 before joining the faculty at N.C. State as assistant professor in 1976, where he has conducted research and taught in the area of insect management.

    Kennedy's research in insect management, insect-plant interactions, arthropod-resistance management, and epidemiology of insect-vectored plant viruses has produced over 180 research publications. A member of ESA since 1970, Kennedy served as Secretary, Vice-chair and Chair of Section F; ESA Governing Board Representative for Section F (1989-1992) and for the Southeastern Branch (1993-1995); and as President-Elect (1997), President (1998) and Past-President (1999) of ESA.

    He served as Chair of the ESA Special Committees on Publications (1981, 1984-85, and 1999-2000) and was a leader in ESA's transition to electronic publication of its journals and in re-organization of the editorial structure for the journals, which significantly reduced production costs and enabled ESA to provide members with free on-line access. Kennedy also served the Entomological Foundation as Chair of the Board of Directors (2004-2005) and President (2006-2008). He received the ESA Award for Excellence in Research in 1997, and was named the ESA Founders' Memorial Award Lecturer in 2002, and became an ESA Fellow in 2003.

  • Dr. Sharron Quisenberry (Honorary Member), vice president for research and economic development at Iowa State University, is recognized nationally and internationally for her work in insect-plant interactions, having received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri and having been designated an ESA Fellow (2002).

    She has co-authored a seminal book on conservation of germplasm for insect resistance in addition to 95 refereed journal articles, books, book chapters, and over 150 other technical publications. Quisenberry has been a leader within numerous professional societies as well as many international, national, regional, state, and university committees and boards, but her service and contribution to the Entomological Society of America has been beyond compare since she became a member in 1975.

    Working at the Branch, Section, and ESA Central levels, she has contributed to over 30 committees (e.g., Program Chair; Local Arrangements Chair; Editorial Board Chair; Branch Student Awards Chair) and numerous leadership roles (e.g., ESA President; ESA Secretary-Treasurer; Section F Secretary and Chair-Elect; Pacific Branch Secretary-Treasurer). When Quisenberry became President in 2000, there were extreme organizational and financial challenges affecting the very solvency of ESA. She provided leadership to the Governing Board and membership to re-focus on core components and services (e.g., free online journals, new editorial structure, meeting inclusiveness/innovation) and to create a "member friendly" (e.g., Town Halls) organization, while balancing the budget for the first time in years through decisive action and management practices. Her leadership served the Society well by creating the foundation for subsequent changes to ensure sustained growth of the ESA.

  • Founders' Memorial Award—At each ESA Annual Meeting, the recipient of this award addresses the conferees during Sunday's opening Plenary session to honor the memory and career of an outstanding entomologist. Dr. Ken Raffa is a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He studies the ecology of tree-feeding insects, with special emphasis on complex interactions that influence whether herbivore populations remain stable or erupt to landscape-scale disturbances. These studies have included explorations of host plant relationships, predator-prey interactions, and symbioses. Chemical signaling has been a driving theme throughout much of this work.

    Ken grew up exploring nature in Delaware, and received a B.S. in biology from St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia in 1972. He then wandered about doing odd jobs, until fortuitously finding temporary positions with the U.S. Forest Service in Asheville, NC during the summers of 1973 and 1974. Experiences with aerial sketch-mapping and ground-truthing outbreaks spurred his love of forest entomology. He received an M.S. in entomology from the University of Delaware studying biological control of gypsy moth, and a Ph.D. from Washington State University studying conifer-bark beetle interactions. Ken was a research entomologist for DuPont from 1981-1985, helping to develop strategies for delaying insecticide resistance and incorporating plant-insect interactions into agricultural crop protection. Ken joined UW in 1985.

    During the course of his career, Ken has collaborated with outstanding scholars from a diverse array of disciplines. These joint studies have helped improve our understanding of the complex and often subtle roles that insects play in the health of forest ecosystems, and helped devise management practices when external forces or human interests place our goals in conflict. Ken has served on numerous state and federal agency committees, many dealing with invasive species. He has received several honors, such as the Silverstein-Simeone Lecture of the International Society of Chemical Ecology, the Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award, the Beers-Bascom Professorship in Conservation, and the ESA Comstock Award.

    Ken teaches classes in plant-insect interactions, forest protection, and scientific presentations. His proudest contribution is his role in the training of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates who have gone on to successful and fulfilling careers. Many of them are now providing strong leadership in academia, government, and industry.

  • Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension—This annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to extension entomology. Dr. Marlin E. Rice is a senior research scientist with Pioneer Hi-Bred International. Previously, he was an extension entomologist at Texas A&M University, the University of Idaho, and Iowa State University, where he was a professor of entomology. At Iowa State he developed and delivered IPM information to the agricultural community in a wide variety of print, photographic, and electronic media. His extension efforts have been nationally recognized as practical, innovative, and of the highest quality.

    Marlin has given 707 presentations at field days and short courses, authored 105 extension and 85 refereed publications, written nearly 750 newsletter articles, and co-authored with Larry Pedigo two editions of Entomology and Pest Management. He was executive editor of Integrated Crop Management, which he transformed into the first full-color, weekly, crop-focused, print newsletter in the nation published by a land-grant university. Later, the newsletter was posted open-access on the Internet, and during 2007 it received 1,084,237 page views. In 2006 he recorded BugCasts—the first series of podcasts on insects and their management. His perspectives on Iowa agriculture have been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and numerous farming magazines. He co-founded with Kevin Steffey the Journal of Integrated Pest Management—the first peer-reviewed, Internet open-access, extension-based, pest management journal.

    He received his M.S. from the University of Missouri and his Ph.D. from Kansas State University. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zimbabwe, and has served as ESA Governing Board Representative, Secretary-Treasurer, and President.

  • Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching—This award is presented annually to the member of the Society deemed to be the most outstanding teacher of the year. Dr. Sujaya Rao is a professor at Oregon State University (OSU) where she is involved with research, teaching, and extension. Her passion for education was evident from her doctoral student days at the University of Minnesota, where she attended teaching workshops and obtained her first education grant. She continued to seek teaching opportunities as a postdoc at the University of Delaware and University of California, Berkeley. At OSU, she has created innovative "outside the box" learning opportunities to empower students with scientific communication skills so that they are engaged in entomological instruction, thus enabling the discipline to stay alive without a department. Besides graduates and undergraduates, her educational programs have impacted colleagues on campus, K-12 students and teachers, and the public. The creative aspects of her programs and the far-reaching outcomes enabled her to secure more than $1.7 million for educational programs alone from the National Science Foundation, the Toshiba America Foundation, the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and other private agencies. She is the recipient of an NSF GK-12 and an NSF REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) Site Award. These successes were achieved while simultaneously leading successful research programs on field-crop pests and on native bee pollinators in wild and managed systems. Dr. Rao has organized several ESA teaching symposia, and she chaired the Education and Youth Committee. She is also an Entomological Foundation counselor. Regionally, she has organized the Linnaean Games and student competitions, served as Program Chair, and is currently President-Elect of the ESA Pacific Branch.

  • Distinguished Service Award to the Certification Program—This award encourages, recognizes, and rewards outstanding contributions to the ESA Certification Program and the professionalism of entomology. Colonel (Dr.) Mustapha Debboun is a medical and veterinary entomologist in the U.S. Army Medical Department. He earned his B.A. in cellular and molecular biology from Skidmore College, his M.S. in medical entomology from the University of New Hampshire, and his Ph.D. in medical and veterinary entomology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

    Dr. Debboun has worked in public-health and preventive-medicine operations, research and development of arthropod repellents, and personal protective measures. His assignments and fieldwork took him to over 22 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America. His main goal is the integration of medical entomology with other operational public-health fields to provide efficient and sustainable management of disease vectors and troop protection from vector-borne disease threats.

    Dr. Debboun became a board certified medical and veterinary entomologist in 1991. Since then, he has served as proctor for BCE examinations, a member of the BCE Examining Committee, and as an ad hoc military liaison where he is actively promoting and recruiting new members for ESA's Certification Program within our armed forces. He served as the Army's Pest Management Certification Official and as Vice-Chairman of the Education and Training Committees of the Armed Forces Pest Management Board. He has authored or co-authored over 65 peer-reviewed publications and two books: Insect Repellents: Principles, Methods and Uses and Prevention of Bug Bites, Stings, and Disease. He also organizes ESA symposia, serves on five journal editorial boards, is a scientific reviewer for six peer-reviewed journals, and is the 2010 Chair of ESA's International Affairs Committee.

    Dr. Debboun is nationally and internationally recognized for his work on arthropod repellent research and development. His professional awards include the Agricultural Research Service Award (2002), the Order of Military Medical Merit (2003), and the Surgeon General's "A" Professional Proficiency Designator for expertise in Medical & Veterinary Entomology (2003).

  • Early Career Innovation Award—Sponsored by BASF, this award honors young professionals working within the field of entomology who have demonstrated innovation through contributions within any area of specialization (research, teaching, extension, product development, public service, etc.). Dr. Patrick Tobin works as a research entomologist with the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, in Morgantown, West Virginia. His research focuses on the population ecology of biological invasions in forest ecosystems, the spatial and temporal dynamics of natural enemy-victim interactions, and the role of climate change on insect seasonality. He is particularly interested in the role of Allee effects on the establishment and spread of non-native species. Patrick is also active in regional-scale IPM programs against the gypsy moth, serving on the executive committee for the National Gypsy Moth Management Board and chairing a science advisory committee in support of the gypsy moth Slow-the-Spread program. He has been an active member of the Entomological Society of America since 1997, and has served as a subject editor for Environmental Entomology since 2005. He has published more than 85 scientific papers, technical reports, conference proceedings, and book chapters in his career. He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Georgia (1991), and M.S. (1997) and Ph.D. (2002) degrees from Pennsylvania State University. Prior to attending graduate school, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, where he worked on urban environmental management, malaria prevention, and Guinea worm eradication. He lives in Morgantown with his wife, Ahnya, and their two sons, Elliott and Milo.

  • Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology—Each year this award is given to an ESA member who is able to demonstrate through his/her projects or accomplishments an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology. Dr. Zeyaur R. Khan, a distinguished international professional entomologist, is a principal scientist and program Leader with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, Kenya, and a visiting professor of entomology at Cornell University. Dr. Khan has dedicated his research career to advancing the science and practice of entomology, and applying chemical and behavioral ecology, plant-plant communication and insect-plant interactions to improve agricultural production to combat poverty and food insecurity in Africa. He is responsible for the discovery and widescale implementation of a pro-poor scientific innovation called "Push-Pull" technology ( for enhancing food security and environmental sustainability in Africa. Push-Pull, a biologically-based IPM technology for smallholder cereal-livestock African farmers, makes innovative use of trap crops, that remove stem borer pests, along with fodder legumes that repel borers, attract borer natural enemies and have strong allelopathic effects on striga weed, a root parasite of cereals. At present more than 250,000 African people, belonging to over 30,000 families of smallholder farmers in East Africa, are benefiting from the push-pull technology. Dr. Khan continues to expand the utility of the push-pull system for additional African producers in arid zones and is also exploring ways to use induced defenses of plants to improve the system. His work demonstrates that creativity and innovation in entomology can provide practical solutions for the real problems of millions of poor farmers and promote their food security and sustainable livelihoods. The push-pull system results in better nutrition and purchasing power for farmers, and the achievements of Dr. Khan are in line with the poverty reduction strategies of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

    Recognition Award in Entomology—Sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, this award recognizes entomologists who are making significant contributions to agriculture. Dr. C. Michael Smith, a professor of entomology at Kansas State University, was born and raised in Oklahoma and is a Cherokee Indian Nation citizen. He received his B.S. in biology at Southwestern Oklahoma State Unversity, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from Mississippi State University. Following a postdoc at North Carolina State University and faculty appointments at Louisiana State University and the Univerity of Idaho, he has served as professor of entomology at Kansas State University since 1990. Smith's K-State research group has identified numerous genes in barley and wheat plants resistant to Diuraphis noxia and established that transcriptomes of resistant plants are expressed more rapidly and at higher levels than those of susceptible plants. A putative D. noxia resistance gene in wheat was recently silenced using virus-induced gene silencing. As a Fulbright scholar, Smith's collaborations with European and African scientists identified the first Diuraphis noxia biotypes in North Africa and South America. Recent research by Smith's group has revealed evidence of a second D. noxia North American invasion in 2004. Smith has served as Chair of former ESA Section Fa and as the Section F Governing Board Representative, and he was designated an ESA Fellow in 2006. He is currently a subject editor for Journal of Economic Entomology, a founding editor of Arthopod Plant Interactions, and author of three host plant resistance textbooks, the most recent being Plant Resistance to Arthropods: Molecular and Conventional Approaches. Smith is married to Rita Reid Smith (RPh). They have two daughters: Dr. Segen Smith Chase (internal medicine) and Dr. Sonder Smith Crane (pediatrics).

  • Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology—Sponsored by Bayer CropScience, this award was established in 1996 to recognize and encourage innovative research in the areas of insect physiology, biochemistry, and toxicology in the broad sense. Dr. Gary J. Blomquist received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1969 and his Ph.D. degree in chemistry/biochemistry from Montana State University in 1973. He spent four years as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Southern Mississippi and moved to the University of Nevada, Reno in 1977, where he has served as the chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 2001. He has served as a mentor for 20 postdoctoral associates and 24 graduate students, and has worked with over 60 undergraduates. He has edited three books and has published over 200 research papers, reviews, and chapters. His research has focused on pheromone production--particularly in bark beetles, the housefly, and insect hydrocarbons--with an emphasis on their biosynthesis, endocrine regulation, and chemical analysis. He has served as the president of the International Society of Chemical Ecology and also hosted an annual meeting for the organization. He was elected a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was awarded the Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumnus award by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He serves on the editorial boards of four journals and has been awarded the University of Nevada's Outstanding researcher Award and the Nevada Regents Research award.

  • Student Activity Award—Sponsored by Monsanto Company, this award is presented annually to recognize a student for outstanding contributions to the Society, his/her academic department, and the community, while still achieving academic excellence. W. Vanessa Aponte-Cordero obtained her B.S. degree in crop protection at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. Then she acquired her M.S. degree in entomology at Penn State University, where she specialized in the temperature development biology of Aphis glycines. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in entomology at Penn State University, where she specializes in plant-insect interactions. She studies induced resistance of tomato plants with different dosages of methyl jasmonate seed treatments and their effects over herbivore populations in different agricultural systems. She has been very active both in the professional and community outlets during her graduate studies. From 2004-2006, she worked as the Chair of the ESA Eastern Branch Student Affairs Committee (SAC), and from 2005-2007 she worked as the Co-Chair and Chair of the National ESA SAC. As the SAC Chair, she helped create the student information section on the ESA website and made it more accessible for student members. She has participated in 15 committees between the ESA and the Penn State Department of Entomology. Vanessa has also worked as co-director in the Summer Research Opportunities Program at Penn State University and assisted over 60 underrepresented undergraduates in a program that provided research experience, paper writing skills, and professional development. She has given extension presentations to farmers, insect presentations to children, and has volunteered in many other activities both academically and in the community.

  • Student Certification Award—Sponsored by Springer Pest Solutions, this award recognizes and encourages outstanding entomology graduate students with interest in the mission of the ESA certification program, and to promote the understanding and importance of the program. Ralph B. Narain received his B.S. in environmental science (chemistry major) in 2003 from SUNY College at Oneonta. He received his M.S. in entomology (2010) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in urban entomology at the same institute. Ralph's Ph.D. research focuses on population genetics in ants. He has participated in a wide variety of research projects, such as termite inspections, liquid termiticide and baiting treatment applications, and evaluating liquid and gel-bait insecticide products for nuisance ant control. He has been an ESA member since 2007 and Pi Chi Omega since 2009. Ralph is also a member of the National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and has been listed in the Marquis Who's Who since 2007. Ralph has given professional presentations at ESA North Central Branch meetings and at the National Conference on Urban Entomology (NCUE). He also volunteers his services at ESA meetings, as well as other extension and outreach programs, such as the Nebraska Urban Pest Management Conference, the Lancaster County Extension Termite School NCUE meeting, and at the Nebraska State Fair.

  • John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Awards—These awards are given to one graduate student from each ESA Branch to promote interest in entomology and to stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting.

  • Dr. Gaylord A. Desurmont (Eastern Branch) is a postdoctorate researcher at Cornell University. He moved to the U.S. from France to complete graduate studies in entomology at Cornell University, where he received his master's degree in 2005 and his Ph.D. in 2009. Dr. Desurmont received the Comstock Award for his dissertation work on the ecology, behavior, and biological control of viburnum leaf beetle, Pyrrhalta viburni (Paykull), a landscape pest in the Northeast. He is considered a leading expert on P. viburni. His research contributed vital knowledge about the oviposition behavior and plant-insect interactions of P. viburni, with potential applications for pest management. From his dissertation, Dr. Desurmont has authored a book chapter, submitted five publications to peer-reviewed journals, and has presented his findings at more than 15 scientific meetings and interdisciplinary conferences.

  • Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Trout Fryxell (Southeastern Branch) obtained her B.A. in biology from Transylvania University and her M.S. in entomology from the University of Kentucky. Her research with Dr. Grayson Brown focused on reducing mosquito populations in the peridomestic environment. After completing her M.S. research, Becky started a Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas under the advisement of Dr. Dayton Steelman and Dr. Allen Szalanski. Her dissertation provided information on the distribution and occurrence of ticks in Arkansas, as well as information on tick and host pathogen interactions. She has given several presentations as an invited speaker and has 11 refereed publications. Becky's awards include runner-up for ESA's President Prize, the Isely-Dupont Entomology Scholarship, the Joseph H. Camin Fellowship, and she was a member of the 2007 Linnaean Games National Championship team. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis.

  • Dr. Ashfaq A. Sial (Pacific Branch) completed his Ph.D. in August 2010 under the guidance of Dr. Jay F. Brunner at Washington State University. His dissertation research focused on characterizing a complete toxicity profile, including lethal and sublethal effects of recently developed reduced-risk insecticides, assessing the risk of resistance evolution, and determining the mechanisms conferring resistance to the novel chemistry insecticides in obliquebanded leafroller. Ash has eight peer-reviewed publications with several others in the process. Ash has given 29 presentations, including seven invited talks and six posters, and has also published 22 abstracts in conference proceedings. Ash has authored or co-authored several successful research grants, including a highly competitive Western SARE Graduate Student Research Grant. He has demonstrated tremendous leadership in student activities, including the Linnaean Games and ESA student debates, and has taken initiative in organizing symposia at the regional and national levels. Ash is currently serving as Chair of the ESA Student Affairs Committee, and has also volunteered his time and expertise in reviewing manuscripts for various journals. He has received the WSU President's Award, the WSU Excellence Award, the Dr. William R. Wiley Award, the Dr. C. C. Burkhardt Graduate Student Award, a Robert & Mary Lou Harwood Graduate Fellowship, a Louis W. Getzin Fellowship, and an H. S. Telford Fellowship. Ash plans to start his postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley.

  • Anna K. Fiedler (North Central Branch) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Insect Ecology and Biological Control laboratory of Dr. Douglas Landis at Michigan State University, where she is examining the effect of glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) on prairie fen abiotic factors, pollinator function, and the structure of pollinator-plant interactions, with the goal of assessing long-term conservation of prairie fen habitat. Anna's research interests involve measuring and understanding human effects on the environment, and she wants to determine ways to best ameliorate the negative effects through conservation and restoration efforts. She is co-author of the grant that is funding her entire Ph.D. project. In addition to a number of peer-reviewed publications and presentations to scientific societies, she has been actively engaged in public education and extension. She developed and maintains two websites, and has co-authored a series of podcasts to help people see their connections to insects and the environment. Her work has garnered her more than ten awards, including the 2006 NCB Graduate Scholarship. Anna has formed partnerships with a number of conservation organizations, and she wants to continue to expand upon these relationships after graduation.

  • Joe Louis (Southwestern Branch) received his BS in agriculture from Kerala Agricultural University in India and his MS in entomology from Kansas State University (KSU). He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of North Texas (UNT). Joe has utilized Arabidopsis thaliana, a genetic model for studying plant growth, development and stress responses, to understand the basis of plant-aphid interactions, and his research has helped to identify a lipid or lipid-derived product that is involved in providing plant defense against aphids. He hopes that his research will help to understand the plant genes/mechanisms that control aphid infestation and also facilitate development of plants that have enhanced resistance to aphids. Joe has authored or co-authored eight peer-reviewed publications and also contributed to more than 40 oral and poster presentations at various professional conferences. His research has earned him several awards, including the Lillian & Alex Feir Graduate Student Travel Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, or Molecular Biology from the Entomological Foundation, the Love of Learning Award from Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the Outstanding Graduate Student MS Research Award from Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society, the KSU Don C. Warren Genetics Award, and the UNT Doctoral Academic Achievement Scholarship. Joe has contributed to ESA by volunteering and also by co-organizing symposia at both the Branch and the national ESA meetings.


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