Name: Adam Ingrao
Hometown: Yucaipa, California
Major professor: Zsofia Szendrei
What are you researching? Developing biological control strategies for pests in Michigan asparagus. I am interested in how we can use volatile chemical cues of asparagus induced by herbivore feeding to recruit natural enemies into production fields from border habitats.
Future career plans: Once I complete my PhD at MSU, I hope to move to a position in the private sector where I will continue researching sustainable pest management solutions for agricultural producers.
Why study entomology? The vast majority of Earth’s species are insects. They have survived major extinction events and some are so perfectly adapted that their morphology hasn’t changed in hundreds of millions of years. What better way to understand our planet than to study one of its most successful organisms?
What or who inspired your interest in entomology? Biological control pioneer Charles Valentine Riley. I grew up in the citrus-rich communities of southern California where his work in controlling cottony cushion scale through importing and releasing Vedalia beetles saved the California citrus industry from total collapse in the late 1800s. I often reminisce how the Vedalia beetles I grew up seeing were the progeny of those his teams originally brought over from Australia.
What has been your best experience with entomology? Coming to MSU’s Department of Entomology! Our faculty and resources are incredible and I feel like the education I am getting here is second to none.
What do you wish others understood about entomology? It’s not just about insects! Entomologists are some of the most well rounded scientists out there because we study organisms that inhabit nearly every system on the planet.
What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects)? I believe entomophagy may be a way to address protein demand while mitigating environmental factors. I eat insects every chance I get and following graduation I hope to travel to Bangkok, Thailand, specifically to explore culinary insect delights of Asia.
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.