Featured entomology undergraduate student Brenna Kizer

posted on March 3, 2017 12:56pm

 (view larger image)

Brenna Kizer tells us why adding a minor in entomology to your major is beneficial, and how fun entomology can be. She also shares her experience working as an entomologist at the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House.

Name: Brenna Kizer

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Future study or career plans: Pursue a PhD in genetics

What is your major? Genomics and Molecular Genetics

Why add a minor in entomology to your major? Genetics is a subject that applies to every living thing, and some of the most intriguing examples of inheritance and genome organization can be found in the insect world, for example the mechanism behind honey bee sex determination. Also, there are career opportunities relating to entomology in more fields than you might think, because let’s face it, bugs are everywhere!

Tell us a little about working at the Mackinac Island Butterfly House and how studying Entomology helped you in that role/vice versa: I spent the summer of 2016 as an entomologist at the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House and Insect World. Taking ENT 404: Fundamentals of Entomology gave me a solid foundation of knowledge for the job, but I learned so much more than I ever could have imagined. I spent the summer learning about the impact humans and insects have on each other, and I came back to MSU with a new curiosity about the vital relationship we have with our six-legged friends!

Do you have advice for anyone interested in an entomology minor? Meet with one of the entomology advisors, Chris DiFonzo or Walter Pett. Once they show you how fun an entomology minor can be, sign up for ENT 404!

What has been your best experience with entomology? Collecting insects for my ENT 404 collection project has honestly been one of my favorite experiences. Going out into nature and looking for insects is such a fun way to get active and go places you never would have gone otherwise. It also trains you to notice the smaller details of the world around you, which can really be quite beautiful.

What is your favorite insect? At the moment, the bombardier beetle. This beetle is able to create a chemical reaction inside its body that releases a spray of boiling hot, foul smelling liquid all over its enemies! Now if that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.

What is your favorite thing about MSU? There are so many opportunities here that I can’t imagine getting access to anywhere else. I’ve had the opportunity to work in a genetics lab andKe Dong’s entomology lab, which has given me experience in many modern laboratory techniques that will be useful in my career. On top of that, I’ve been a part of multiple student organizations during my time here, and I’m goingon a study abroad Sri Lanka led by Christina DiFonzo this summer.

Read about our past featured students in the Featured Students section.