Student Feature Friday with Pooja Malhotra

On the last Friday of each month we sit down with an Entomology graduate student to get to know more about them, how they became interested in Entomology, and what their role is in the department. This month, we sat down with Pooja Malhotra!

Pooja working in her lab
Pooja working in her lab

Q: Masters or Ph.D., and how far into your program are you?
A: Masters. I am in my very first semester, just prepped up with a big experiment.

Q: What is your research project? 
A: To investigate effects of various abiotic stress responses (e.g. drought, salinity etc.) in complex multitrophic interactions involving pea-pea aphid-pea enation mosaic virus-soil rhizobia.

Q: How did you become an entomologist?
A: I worked as an undergrad technician in Dr. David Crowder’s lab during last summer, while I had the opportunity for the time to help students and postdocs with their projects. This opportunity to work with various insects ignited my interest in Entomology.

Q: Why would you recommend entomology as a career? 
A: Entomology is an interesting field of research. It offers exciting opportunities for researching the physiology, behavior, nutritional aspects of insets and their interactions with various host organisms including plants. There are ample opportunities to make great contributions in different areas of agriculture including improvement of various pest control strategies, human and animal health, biochemical and molecular science, criminology and forensics etc.

Q: What are your future career plans after graduation?
A: After masters I want to continue my research in entomology to obtain PhD.

Q: What is your favorite insect?
A: pea aphid

Student Feature Friday with Olivia Smith

Olivia doing research in her lab
Olivia doing research in her lab

On the last Friday of each month we sit down with an Entomology graduate student to get to know more about them, how they became interested in Entomology, and what their role is in the department. This month, we sat down with Olivia Smith!

Q: Masters or Ph.D., and how far into your program are you?
A: I am in the third year of my PhD. I earned an MS in Fisheries and Wildlife from Ohio State in fall 2015.

Q: What is your research project? 
A: My research is largely focused on the net effects of wild birds in sustainable food systems, including their ability to control pest arthropods and to carry human food pathogens. The impacts of birds on crop production vary based on both landscape (e.g., if the area around a farm is a forest versus a city) and farm management (e.g., how diversified the farm is, including if farms grow both produce and livestock). We have a few main findings so far: integration of livestock into crop production can support more diverse and abundant wild bird communities, especially on farms which are in areas with little natural habitat left to support birds. Second, wild birds have stronger negative impacts on arthropod natural enemies (predators like lady beetles and parasitoids) compared to pest arthropods, and thus increase broccoli leaf damage. The effect was greatest on farms in highly agricultural landscapes where birds were more abundant in crop fields. Third, livestock integration may increase food pathogen prevalence in wild birds, though the overall prevalence is low, and this project is still too much in the early stages to make definitive conclusions.

Q: How did you become an entomologist?
A: I would say I stumbled upon entomology. I became passionate about conservation of birds during my bachelor’s degree through my bachelor’s thesis research which focused on improving captive breeding programs of the endangered bridled white-eye. I then took a master’s position where I focused on the impacts of agricultural intensification on threatened northern bobwhite quail, which directed my interests towards sustainable agriculture. I then took a position in the Owen and Snyder Labs at WSU after finding an advertisement seeking students for their grant studying the impacts of birds in organic agriculture, which was a great interdisciplinary project integrating conservation and sustainable food production.

Olivia working in the lab with samples
Olivia working in the lab with samples

Q: Why would you recommend entomology as a career? 
A: Entomology as a career has the potential to greatly benefit society through improving crop production.

Q: What are your future career plans after graduation?
A: My goal is to obtain a faculty job at a major land-grant university. I hope to obtain a position that includes a mixture of a strong research program focused on applied agricultural sustainability questions, grower extensions, and teaching 1-2 courses.

Q: What is your favorite insect?
A: Syrphid flies

Student Feature Friday with Rachel Olsson

On the last Friday of each month we sit down with an Entomology graduate student to get to know more about them, how they became interested in Entomology, and what their role is in the department. This month, we sat down with Rachel Olsson!

Rachel conducting her research on pollination in the WSU Greenhouse
Rachel working in the WSU Greenhouse

Q: Masters or Ph.D., and how far into your program are you?
A: PhD, in my 5th year

Q: What is your research project? 
A: I am looking at how environmental factors influence floral traits and how those traits might be attractive and influential to bee populations.

Q: How did you become an entomologist?
A: It started as a summer job in college, and I fell in love. I was studying to be a science/art teacher and started doing scientific illustrations of insects. I got a job in an entomology lab and got to experience the fieldwork, museum curation, and digital collection curation. I loved it.

Q: Why would you recommend entomology as a career? 
A: Entomology is one of the broadest sciences I can think of. Whether you prefer lab work or field work, writing, teaching, research, policy work, medical work, or farm work. Insects intersect with every part of human existence from food production to pathogen spread. Insects can be a major cause of disease and death, a minor nuisance, or our favorite pets. One of my mentors told me that “entomologists are biologists with a job” and I have always appreciated that.

Rachel's pinned insect collection
Rachel’s pinned insect collection

Q: What are your future career plans after graduation?

A: I’d like to stay close to academia, ideally in an extension or education position. I am a first-generation college student, so the ivory tower isn’t my preference. I think the research we do is so important, but I love being part of the group that gets the information researchers discover to the people that can use it. My undergraduate degrees were focused on agriculture sciences and community food systems development, so working directly with growers is my passion.

Q: What is your favorite insect?
A: Ever since I started working on pollinators, I’ve always been partial to the black-tailed bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus. (seen on my website here:

Link to my website: or


EGSA Agenda                                                     Meeting #12 March 23, at 9:00am

AMS Dial-in: 772416

Phone Dial-in (509) 358-7935 meeting ID: 2416

Adrian, Alix, Jim, Abigail, Liesl, Rachel, Megan, Abbey, Olivia, Melanie, Ben


ICCC: April 6th Todd Hall 276 – Update from Dane: Doors open at 5:30pm, film starting at 6pm. ‘The Deadly Mantis’ (1957 – supposedly family friendly?) followed by ‘The Thaw’ (2009 – Recent Movie). Advert is covered, we’re all set! Word of mouth to UI and others. Radio Station advertisement KQQQ and NPR. Museum opening that same night.

Insect Expo: April 7th 9:00am-3:00pm, Ensminger Pavilion – Poster for Insect Expo (Joint Marketing for Insect Expo and ICCC). Signup sheet: 9-12pm signed up, but other slots are open. 12-3pm empty. During the local elementary school spring break, but send info to Jeb to advertise to local schools. Peach Jar: Pullman School District posts flyers (free!). GPSA Approved our event.

  1. Paul Catts: Dr. Rufus Isaacs (MSU) April 19th @ 5:00pm (Moscow – 1912 Center) and April 20th @11:00am (FSHN Pullman) – Dinner at Hunga Dunga at 6:30 April 19th – Lunch with Graduate Students on April 20th.

Entom Prom: April 21st in Etsi Bravo @ 7:30pm – Update from Olivia: 20 people. Dress up (like fancy insects or just fancy).

Officer Reports

President (Adrian)

  • Opening nominations for officers at next meeting as well as new faculty advisor

Vice President (Ben)

Treasurer (Joseph)

  • Mini Grants (Olivia) – 3 per semester, winners are on the awards panel for the following year. $100 each, but $600 per year. Application in email from Olivia – based on: dissertation or side project? If you’re funded or not. Scholarly merit.
  • $1000 asked for this round – for honey jars, cavity nests for bees in the fall

Secretary (Alix)

GPSA (Kunle)

Faculty Liaison (Rachel) – See notes from Rachel’s email. Discussion on budgets – buildings getting up to code. Christina Rede is our social media person, facebook twitter and Instagram – collect social media profiles so stories can be linked, plus #bugfactfriday. We have a store on the website for department merchandise (shirts, other merch). E. Paul Catts registration is on the store, see budget code from your advisor. If you’re interested in the Faculty Liaison position next year, see Rachel. Faculty Retreat is in Pullman this year and joint with UI. New Chair position is delayed – but a decision should be out soon. Spousal hire to our department for teaching insect ecology and some other courses.

Communications Director (Abbey)

Primary Committee Reports

  • Advertising (Rachel: Megan):
  • Merchandise (Abigail: Robert): Seed Packets to come
  • Social (Olivia, Leisl): 4th April 9am donuts! May coffee hour may move – TBD. Happy hour 24th 10 am Mimosa Brunch!!! Sunday 25th – egg coloring + Moscow Mules (with peeps!) at 3pm at Olivia’s.

Committee Reports

  • Herma Memorial (Alix: Rachel, Jessa): Update next week as far as how much our club will donate.
  • Library Team (Olivia: Ben): All books but one in the bookshelf on 2nd Will move to the 3rd floor in the big graduate office or live arthropod room.
  • Linnaean Games (Jim): Meetings are happening with good attendance, team is: Abbey, Dane, Jim, Megan, Adrian and Liesl.
  • Meta-analysis (Olivia): Analysis is going well
  • Prelim study (Abigail): Practices are helpful, a few more coming up. Ben’s on Tuesday.
  • Writing Club (Alix): Email if you want to be the contact person for this

Good of the Order

Congratulations to Megan!!!

Next meeting: Monday April 6th at 9am

March 2, 2018

Department Announcements

Calling all social butterflies! We are excited to announce we are on multiple social media platforms. Stay connected to us on our channels below:

Send in any cool photos, news stories, or upcoming events to Christina Rede at for our social media channels.

If any of you have news to share please send by Thursday noon to our SmartSheet notification page at:

Congratulations to Emily Wine who successfully passed her MS Final Exam on last Friday.

Seminars and Colloquium

The entomology colloquium on March 5th will be presented by  Dr. Jose Monzon, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala City.  He will be speaking on “The Genus Chrysina in Guatemala.”  This presentation is at 12:10 PM in FSHN 354.  The AMS dial number for all sites is 772402.

Dr. Monzon will be giving the 2018 Student Choice Guest Lecture also on March 5th in FSHN T101 from 4:30-5:50 PM and the AMS dial # is 772853.  The title for this presentation is:  “Insect diversity of Guatemala.”

Everyone is welcome to attend both presentations!  For more info on Dr. Monzon’s research go to:

Upcoming Events

Registration is now open for the Summer 2018 Honey Bee Workshops.  Information is available at

The WSU Office of Emergency Management will be conducting the spring semester test of the WSU Alert system on the Pullman campus Tuesday, March 6 at 11:45 a.m. Faculty, staff and students associated with the Pullman campus who have signed up for emergency notifications will receive text messages, phone calls, emails, and desktop alerts on select computers which will be clearly identified as a test. See the Safety section for complete info about this test.**

My Facilities Notices:   Electric Power Shut Down Event Note on March 11, at 4-8 AM
The electric power will be temporarily interrupted in the areas noted. Please assess any critical office or laboratory equipment that may be impacted.   Contacts DAVE KIMBREL 335-9309 davek@wsu.eduWhy Event Occurrence:  WSU Facilities Services, in conjunction with Avista and an outside consultant, will be installing revised code into the automated power outage response system at East Campus Substation. Beginning at 4:00a.m., the newly installed code will be tested, resulting in intermittent power outages to the affected facilities until 8:00a.m.  This event will impact the FSHN Building and greenhouse areas and other areas on this side of Stadium Way.

Two candidates for the Postharvest Systems Endowed Chair faculty position will be interviewing in March.  They will be in Wenatchee, IAREC and Pullman during their visit.  Below is a synopsis of the candidates with seminar dates and times. Dr. Hannah James will be here March 12-14.  Dr. Carolina Torres will be her March 26-28.   Find attached the candidate’s detailed schedules, CVs, evaluation forms, and Notice of Vacancy.

Free Movies at the CUB.  The Student Entertainment Board’s March free movie offerings are:
Lady Bird March 2-4, The Original Jumanji  March 22,  Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle March 23-25 , and Star Wars: The Last Jedi March 30-April 1.  Bring your friends to enjoy some of the best movies and free popcorn!  Show times are at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sundays.  Stay updated on the Facebook event page to learn what awesome giveaway prizes are given to students at every film weekend!

Last chance to Register & Submit Abstracts for the 2nd Annual WSU Plant Science Symposium:  Diversity in Agriculture: Faces of Plant Science – Friday, March 30, 2018  –  Location: Ensminger Pavillion, WSU PullmanRegistration is free, including light breakfast, lunch, and social mixer

Register & Apply at:   Industry and international scientists will speak on topics including crop diversity, pest resistance, plant biotechnology, and career migration. Diversity is inherent to plant breeding, not only in the germplasm and environments we study, but also regarding the people, techniques, and ideas.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Regional Approaches to Women’s Leadership in STEMM Conference Saturday, March 3, 2018 9 AM-5 PM, St the WSU Spokane Academic Center.  See the attachment for information.

Student nominations closed Monday, February 19. All other nominations close Friday, March 9.   Nominations from all WSU campuses are welcome.  Award Categories:  Student, Student Organization, Faculty, Staff, and Community Organization.  Honorees will be recognized during the LEAD Ceremony on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, on the Pullman campus.  Learn more about the President’s Awards and the LEAD Ceremony at

Spring Break is March 12-16, 2018

The CAHNRS 3MT (3 Minute Thesis) is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20. It will take place in the afternoon, exact time TBD, depending upon the number of student entries.  We would like for each department to send the information for their 3 top students being considered for the competition (3 PhD, and 3 Master’s level students are permitted).

Spring 2018 Commencement registration opens on March 21, 2018.  Commencement is at 3:00 PM on Saturday, May 5th at the Beasley Coliseum.

Nominees for the Graduate School Recruitment Scholarship for STEM Disciplines are due on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 to Alanna Ellis ( in the Academic Programs Office.  This is a rare opportunity to acknowledge excellence among the graduate cohort at WSU, and we are well aware that there are many extraordinary graduate students in CAHNRS.  See previous newsletters for list of scholarships.

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholars Program prepares eligible undergraduates for their future doctoral studies.  Preparation activities include faculty-mentored research experiences, travel to research conferences, specialized coursework, and academic and career counseling.  Applications for the 2018-2019 McNair Cohort are now being accepted.  Please visit for more information.   The application deadline is 11:45 PM on March 23, 2018.

WSU Showcase call for Abstracts – Celebrating How new ideas change THE WORLD:  Leverage the power of your ideas by sharing them with WSU colleagues at the 2018 Academic Showcase and GPSA Research Exhibitions. Sharing them with WSU colleagues at the 2018 Academic Showcase and GPSA Research Exhibitions.  SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT of up to 250 words and your contact information no later than Monday, January 22.  Detailed information about Academic Showcase, the GPSA Research Exhibition, and Abstract Submission Guidelines can be found online. Academic Showcase and the GPSA Research Exhibition are celebrations of original scholarship, research, and creative expression by members of the WSU community and will be held Thursday, March 29, 2018, at WSU Pullman.

Save the date for the 22nd Annual Insect Cinema Cult Classic Film Festival on April 6, 2018 in Todd Hall 276, doors open at 5:30 PM (last film will end around 10:00 PM). More details to come.

Mark your calendars to attend the E. Paul Catts Lecture events the week of April 16, 2018, Our speaker is, Dr. Rufus Isaacs from Michigan State University. The public lecture and dinner will be on April 19th and the Scientific lecture will be on April 20th. More details to come.

CAHNRS Awards Event is on Wednesday April 18, 2018

Spring Semester Finals Week is April 30 through May 4, 2018

CAHNRS Announcements

Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences is hosting a Palouse Region Invasive Species and Exotic Pest Workshop on April 3, 2018 at 9:00 AM at the Ensminger Pavilion. At this workshop, we will be talking about priority pests significant to the region such as feral swine, northern pike, spotted wing drosophila, key weed species, exotic wheat pests and pathogens. The workshop is co-hosted by the Washington Invasive Species Council, and is funded by the US Department of Agriculture. Certified Pesticide Applicators and crop advisors may earn up to 5 Washington or Idaho re-certification credits (pending approval).

Registration: or Registration:

Facebook Event:

Flyer: and attached.

Questions? Contact Todd Murray  or Justin Bush.

University Announcements

WSU Printing is offering special pricing for posters for the WSU Showcase on March 29th and SURCA event on April 2, 2018.  To get the special 30% pricing just mention the code:  SURCA30.  For more info see the attached flyer.

Spring 2018 graduating students should plan to attend the Grad Fair on March 21st or 22nd  (at 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM both days) at the Lewis Alumni Centre.  This is where can confirm your graduate application status, register to walk in commencement, rent your cap and gown, and order any commencement related products for sale.  For more complete information go to:  Faculty members planning to participate in commencement can also order their regalia during this time.  Be watchful for messages from our Graduate Center concerning graduation info.

GPSA Research Expo Call for Judges:  Nearly three decades ago, the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) of Washington State University (WSU) hosted the first annual Graduate Student Research Exposition. This competitive event provides an opportunity for graduate and professional students to present diverse, cutting-edge research that takes place at WSU. To make the GPSA Research Exposition a success, we need the expertise of faculty (including emeritus), staff, postdoctoral fellows, and alumni to select those students with exemplary scholarship and research. The GPSA asks for the support of faculty who would like to volunteer their time to help select graduate and professional students of high merit. Presentations will be delivered in poster format and judges are needed for a wide swath of categories including: (1) Medical & Life Sciences, (2) Engineering, Physical Sciences & Environmental Science, (3) Agricultural & Natural Sciences, (4) Social Sciences, (5) Arts, Humanities & Design, and (6) Administrative & Information Sciences. Students who win their sections will be awarded scholarships that total $10,000.  Time commitment for judges is approximately four and half hours, spanning from 7:30 a.m. to noon on the day of the event, March 29, 2018. Breakfast and refreshments will be provided.  If you are interested in joining the GPSA as a judge for the 2018 Research Exposition, please follow this link to the Judge Participant Form. Please complete this form at your earliest convenience. We will keep the application open until we have enough judges. For additional information on the GPSA Research Exposition, please click here. Please also help the GPSA forward this email to faculty in your department. The GPSA sincerely appreciates the support of you!  Thank You,

Jing Sun, Director of Strategic Planning & Scholarship, Graduate & Professional Student Association

Washington State University


APAC’s Spring Professional Development Seminars: The professional development seminars offer a range of training opportunities for WSU staff and faculty. We encourage you to attend.
Please click on the event links below to register.

Dr. Craig Parks, Assistant Vice Provost, Office of the Provost & Executive Vice President

James Bledsoe, Senior Career Coach, Academic Success and Career Center

  • May 2 3:30–5:00 PM                    Proven Keys to Career Building & Recovering from Self Inflicted Wounds,  Mike Worthy, Regent, Washington State University
  • May 17 TBA Servant                       Leadership

Robin Blanchard, CEO of Blanchard Consulting LLC

AMS sites will be scheduled.   Sponsored by the Office of the President.

Consider joining the WSU Administrative Professional Advisory Council.  Applications are accepted through March 14th.  APAC provides institutional-level advocacy in support of administrative professional staff by serving as a liaison with WSU Senior Administration. APAC members also communicate matters of interest to APs, solicit feedback from APs, provide professional development opportunities, and help make WSU a great place to work. Please visit  and the attached flyer to learn more.


Community Involvement

Outreach Opportunity:  The Franklin Elementary Science Fair offers a unique, memorable and educational event for students to talk about their projects to real scientists.  This year they have a bumper crop of 4th and 5th graders and are in need of more volunteers to help review projects for the science fair on March 20-22.  This is a one hour commitment.  The student will make a short presentation, followed by about five minutes of discussion and questions.  You will then write a few comments on a card.  You will have the opportunity to talk with about 5-6 young scientists.  The students and the reviewers both have a good time.  If you are able to help review, that would be appreciated.  The dates and times when reviewers are needed are:

  • Tuesday, March 20, 12:45-1:45 pm
  • Wednesday, March 21, 1-2 pm
  • Thursday, March 22, 2-3 pm

Please contact Franklin Science Fair chair Anna Rector at if you are able to help.


Meetings: Regional, National, International

Pacific Branch ESA meeting in Reno, NV, June 10-13, 2018.

Entomological Society of America Pacific Branch Annual Meeting is in Vancouver, BC, Nov 11-15, 2018


**This test will include the campus outdoor warning sirens, which are designed to warn people on campus to take shelter and seek further information from other WSU Alert resources such as WSU Pullman will also be testing electronic door locking capabilities with a 15 minute door locking test beginning at 11:45 a.m. This will be a full activation of the lockdown function, and may take some time to fully initiate. Most doors will lock completely, allowing first responder access only. Interior and exterior doors will unlock at noon. Please note- people will not be locked inside buildings and if you need to exit a building, you may still do so at any time.  During the test, please consider the actions you might take in a real emergency. During a real event, WSU will activate appropriate components of the system to alert people that they should be Aware of the situation, Assess their individual circumstances, and Act to take appropriate safety precautions.  Washington State University places the safety and security of its students, employees, and visitors as its highest priority. WSU has developed the WSU Alert System to disseminate official information via email, text messages, telephone, loudspeakers, Alert Website, and other means to notify the campus population of emergencies or threatening situations.  Your consideration, cooperation and patience of students, faculty and staff during the test is greatly appreciated. Information about the March 6 test is available online at Questions can be directed to the WSU Office of Emergency Management at All WSU students, staff and faculty can subscribe to WSU Alerts. Visit myWSU to register/update your emergency contact information. See for more information.

Employment Opportunities

  1. Senior Resource Educator Commercial Horticulture, Cornell Univ, New York State.
  2. Collection Manager, UNH Insect Collection, Durham, NHS
  3. Agronomist/Biologist/Entomologist/Horticulturist/Plant Pathologist, US Federal Gov., Arlington, VA
  4. Research Associate-Fixed Term, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  5. Research technologist 1 (Insectary Assistant), Penn State Univ., University Park, PA
  6. Field Scientist, The Dow Chemical Co., Fresno, CA

Neill Public Library is looking for a summer intern to help with STEM events. For more information, email