Name: Courtney Larson
Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota
Major professor: Eric Benbow
What are you researching? I am interested in the effect of outside sources of organic matter on headwater stream communities of macroinvertebrates and microbes. I’m particularly interested in the effect of the emerald ash borer invasion and subsequent ash tree death on the stream community.
Future study or career plans: After earning my PhD, my goal is to work in academia doing research and teaching in aquatic entomology and invasive species ecology. This will ultimately further the science of aquatic ecology and benefit society by giving insight on better protection of aquatic resources.
Why study entomology? Insects are very diverse and interesting. They’re extremely abundant, yet so much is unknown about them. A lot of discoveries are waiting to be made in the field of entomology!
What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I grew up taking trips with my family to our cabin in northern Minnesota. The opportunity to explore the lakes and streams with a net in one hand and a field guide in the other inspired me to continue to study these systems.
What has been your best experience with entomology? The relationships I’ve built with other entomologists. The innovative research that other entomologists are doing, especially at MSU, inspires me to become a better scientist.
What do you wish other people understood about entomology? That entomology really isn’t just about bugs. Insects are important in our changing society. They have implications toward sustainability, health, globalization, economics and the well-being of our planet. When we study bugs, we are actually studying much, much more.
If you could be an insect, which insect would you be and why? A dragonfly because they are fast and get to live by beautiful lakes and streams.
What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of Entomology? Enjoying the outdoors, especially at U.S. National Parks. My lifelong goal is to visit every national park in the United States.
Name: Katie Demeuse
Hometown: Caledonia, Michigan
Future study or career plans: Pursue a Master’s degree studying vector biology.
Why study entomology? There’s so many topics you can research, and bugs are everywhere (and they’re always going to be there, so that’s good job security)!
What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I started working in the Vegetable Entomology Lab on campus and the people in the lab were so enthusiastic about what they were learning and researching, that they converted me from a Fisheries and Wildlife major to an Entomology major. It ended up to be a great decision!
What has been your best experience with entomology? Working in two different entomology labs has been my best experiences. By working in these labs, I was able to see how research is done and how my love of insects could translate into a career.
What do you wish other people understood about entomology? I wish other people understood that entomologists don’t just “play with bugs all day.” Sure, there’s a little of that, but the research that is being done in places like MSU is so important.
If you could be an insect, which insect would you be and why? Honey bees are probably my favorite insects. They are just so cute and their honey is pretty great too.
Was there ever a time when you didn’t like insects? Growing up, I was never really afraid of insects. Spiders, on the other hand, did tend to scare me away. Thankfully, I mostly grew out of that!
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 insects are a great protein source! I have yet to try an insect dish, but would love a chance to try it.
What is your favorite activity/way to spend your time outside of Entomology? I enjoy biking, watching sports and playing with my cat.