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Student Spotlight – Connor Auth

Once a 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 research is about. This month, we sat down with Connor Auth!

Connor working with samples in the lab

Connor working with samples in the lab

Q: Masters or Ph.D., and how far into your program are you?
A: Masters, second year.

Q: What is your research project?
A: I am developing novel methods of honey bee semen cryopreservation with the goal of making the technology more accessible to breeders and conservation biologists. I also dabble in some aspects of sperm competition. The tentative title of my dissertation is “Fundamental and applied reproductive biology of Apis mellifera“, although that will surely be modified.

Q: How did you become interested in entomology?
A: I have no innate love for insects, as some of my colleagues do. While at the University of Maryland, I studied sperm competition in Peromyscus mice, and I have been hooked on reproductive biology ever since. Insects are phenomenal study systems for reproductive biology because they reproduce fast and can (typically) be reared indoors. That is why I chose Entomology and this wonderful program.

Q: Why would you recommend entomology as a career?
A: If you enjoy biology, good. Insects are great model systems for understanding biological mechanisms. If you enjoy chemistry, good. Insects are great model systems for understanding chemical pathways. If you enjoy physics, for some reason, good. Insects are great models for biomechanics. Entomology is so broad that it can encompass nearly any STEM related field. Also, insects are cute.

Q: What are your future career plans after graduation?
A: I plan to transition away from academia and enter the field of fertility. The end goal is to become an embryologist, but an andrologist is an acceptable start.

Q: What is your favorite insect and why?
A: I do not have one yet, but there is still time.

Connor in the WSU Honey Bee Research lab