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 Stephanie Eckard!
Q1: Masters or Ph.D, and how far into your program are you?
I am a master’s student in my first year (second semester) advised under Dr. John Stark at the Puyallup Research and Education Center on the west side of the state.
Q2: What is your research project?
I am investigating the toxicity of pesticides to aquatic invertebrates comparing the standard test organism Daphnia magna and a native wildtype daphnia to see if D. magna is truly an appropriate surrogate species for EPA’s risk assessments in pesticide registrations.
Q3: How did you become interested in entomology?
I worked for an entomologist at King County for three field seasons collecting benthic macroinvertebrates from streams all across the county and fell in love with aquatic insects!
Q4: Why would you recommend entomology as a career?
Entomology seems like an understudied field especially for women but is relevant in many different disciplines. There are so many types of career paths you can take in entomology.
Q5: What are your future career plans after graduation?
My goal is to become a biologist/entomologist for one of our local tribes or county/state level government organization helping to recover our declining salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest.
Q6: What is your favorite thing about your Master’s/PhD journey?
I love working in a collaborative lab with scientists working on salmon and their prey and the impacts humans have on their survival.
Q7: Something you’re proud of that you made, found, received during your time here at WSU.
I am pretty darn proud of my insect collection for taxonomy I worked really hard on mostly on my own out here on the west side. It was tough, but I learned so much about the diversity of insects we have in our state.
Q8: What is your favorite insect and why?
The giant stonefly Pteronarcys, because as long-lived predators (up to three years!), they indicate excellent water quality when you find them in streams and rivers.