Name: Shahlo Safarzoda
Hometown: Ishkashim, Tajikistan near the Afghanistan border.
Major professor: Doug Landis
What did you research? Before receiving my M.S. in spring 2014, I was a graduate student with the Central Asia IPM Project. I studied biological control of cereal aphids in wheat. We were mostly interested in natural enemies of cereal aphids. We found that the natural enemy community was very effective in suppressing cereal aphid populations. The ground-dwelling predators in the early season were more effective than predators that typically forage in the canopy.
What or who inspired your studies? My dad was an agriculturalist and a veterinarian, and he was my first inspiration. Secondly, in Tajikistan they use a lot of chemicals and don’t have information to use them safely. They are expensive and unlabeled. Biological control is cheaper and safer for farmers. Dr. Karim Maredia inspired my interest in biological control. I met him while helping with a meeting and translating for a field visit. He told me about MSU and the work in the Landis lab.
What is your favorite activity outside of entomology? I like dancing. I do the Tajik national dance and I like to bowl, which I learned here.
Most exciting part of your studies? Counting aphids!
Future plans? I will return to Tajikistan and help students at the Institute of Farming. I’ll be assisting a professor with field studies about natural enemies and biological control. I look forward to continuing a network with those who have been a part of the IPM CRSP Central Asia project.
What would you like Americans to know about Tajikistan? I would like them to know its beautiful nature and about the rocky Pamir Mountains, the highest mountains in Central Asia.
What would you like Tajiks to know about Americans? People are very friendly and willing to help. I especially enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving and would like them to experience that.
Anything else you’d like to say? I would like to thank all of the IPM CRSP project team for supporting me and making me feel like MSU is my home.
Name: Kelsey Kruschinska
Hometown: Lake City, MI
Future study plans: I would like to go on to get my master’s in entomology and possibly even my doctorate.
Why study entomology? Insects are awesome! There are so many of them and they are very different and have different purposes in the world.
What or who inspired your interest in entomology? Casey Rowley and Dr. Walter Pett
What has been your best experience with entomology? In Dr. Pett’s class, we were able to put honey bees in the Children’s 4-H Garden located on campus.
What do you wish other people understood about entomology? Not all insects are gross and out to get you.
If you could be an insect, which insect would you be and why? I would be a monarch butterfly because, like a monarch, I was raised in Michigan, and after graduation I intend to head south and then return to the Midwest come time to settle down.
Was there ever a time when you didn’t like insects? The only insects that I have ever disapproved of are ones that can inflict pain upon me.
Although you work with insects, is there any particular insect or arthropod you do not like and why? I do not like wasps because they will sting you more than once. I also don’t care for mosquitos because they can give you many different diseases.
What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects) as practiced in other world cultures? Would you try insect cuisine if given the opportunity? I think that eating insects is a very practical thing to do. There are so many of them and they are free to catch. I would definitely try insect cuisine!
What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of Entomology? I enjoy curling up on the couch with a movie and a bowl of ice cream.