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Posted by | April 19, 2017

Note: Congratulations to Kunle, Karol, and Abigail, and Linnaean Games team for placing in PBESA competitions!

Jeb visits to discuss Prelim expectations

  • Jeb and Dave want to work on a way to create standards for prelim exams and what is required to pass the exams.
  • They have put together a list of topics that summarizes what they think you need to know and be able to describe. They cover basic biology and key entomology topics with thresholds for what it takes to get a passing vote.

These standards are being put in place not arbitrarily, they are based on current troubles graduates and post-docs are facing.


There used to be 3-4 written subject exams, and were written by people who were not specialists. Rationale was to make sure exams are not too difficult for anyone. Over time, no correlation was found between oral exam performance and written exam performance. So they switched to writing a proposal (grant) and having an oral exam, however, there is still great variability between lab requirements. Another issue is there has been too much variability between quality and execution of exams which has resulted in almost no exam failures showing almost no need for the exam in the first place. On average there are only about 4 faculty who attend preliminary exams. Despite attempts no other faculty attend these exams.

Current Dilemma:

We are currently lacking courses to fully prepare you for the preliminary exams. Requires more initiative on the students to find resources. There is extreme variation in robustness and quality of dissertation work. Need to have better defined expectations. Today post-docs and careers are not available to those who have not published. Some faculty believe this increase in work for students is too much work for faculty.

Largest noticeable gaps in knowledge: Basic ecology concepts (Lotka-Volterra model, life table, etc.), basic biology (DNA replication, insects vs animals), Describing the processes of evolution and natural selection, mutation causes and rates, IPM concepts and pillars.


  • Idaho is hiring people, so potentially more classes there. However, the graduate school is refusing to give credit for classes from Idaho.
  • Make book of previous questions available to everyone.
  • Give each other harder mock exams the better, actual prelim should be easier than you expected not the other way around.
  • Read textbooks from classes that are not offered.

Conclude Meeting with Jeb and Begin EGSA Meeting

Item #1: Voting for officers will start April 14

  • President: Adrian Marshall
  • Vice-prez: Josh Milnes, Ben Lee
  • Secretary: Alix Whitener, Maggie Freeman
  • Treasurer: Joseph Taylor, Josh Milnes, Abigail Cohen
  • Faculty Liaison: Josh Milnes, Olivia Smith, Abbey Hayes, Jim Hepler, Rachel Olsson
  • Communication Director: Abbey Hayes

Item #2: make nominations for next year’s Faculty Advisor to EGSA

  • Nominated Dr. Zack, Dr. Owen, and Dr. Turner for EGSA faculty advisor next year.

Item #3: Insect Expo! Discussion/feedback for next year?

  • Need more small plastic cups for mealworms, we have run out of mealworms for the last two years.


Alix is great at facepainting!!

Thank you Rachel great job organizing!


Socialization (Olivia):

  • Entomprom: Friday 21st (during E Paul Catts dinner) or Saturday 22nd in downstairs.
  • Vote for Saturday, will check to see availability for Saturday. Can do homecoming next year.
  • Last Donut and Coffee hour for the semester was today.
  • Etzi Bravo for April social hour


  • Called both farmers markets: Want us to do informative booth where we don’t sell things. (It would be free). If we want to sell things it gets complicated. The packets only carry 6 native seeds, our goal was to find 12. May look at new companies. Getting on patches to have them by the end of the semester.

Outreach (Rachel):

  • Cub scout camp Wed. and Thursday, June 21st and 22nd. 50 min drive from Pullman, east of Potlatch, ID. Option for a rotation in daylong schedule or do a 40 minute presentation during lunch. (will be forwarded to Abby). Megan agreed to do talks for Kathryn Daniels, will do girl scout presentation in morning and elementary in the evening. (April 19th-20th). Contact Megan if you are interested in joining. ROAD TRIP!

Faculty meeting:

  • Presentation in Wapato by Pete Landolt, fun with wasps. Will double check on date and time. Will need to reserve another room on campus.

Entomology BBQ is April 21st, it’s a potluck.

GPSA (Joseph, Emily, Adrian): Minutes are available to look at. There were some by-law changes.

Event updates:

Paul Catts + I.C.C.C (Josh and Abbey)

Laura sent out email with itinerary and sign up for everything you want to do (Dinner). Keep it on your schedule.