Congratulations and welcome to the incoming officers of the North Central Branch!
- Clinton D. Pilcher, Corteva Agriscience
Bio: Clinton D. Pilcher obtained his B.S. in Bio-Agricultural Sciences from Colorado State University and his graduate degrees in Entomology and Crop Production & Physiology from Iowa State University in 1999. He is currently a Global Technology Educator and Distinguished Laureate at Corteva Agriscience, but has spent the majority of his career developing and stewarding biotech solutions in corn, soybean, and cotton. He has held people management roles as well as leading Global Regulatory Strategies for Resistance Management (RM). He has participated and led industry working groups in IRAC and ABSTC. Clint's training and career passion is in the successful implementation of IPM. He has spent his career focused on how best to manage associated pests with IPM and RM strategies. Recent interest includes the exploration of socio-economic methodologies to improve IPM adoption.
Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Clint has been an active member of the ESA North Central Branch for 28 years. He has provided strong leadership to the ESA as Annual Meeting Student Co-Chair (2008), Program Co-Chair (2009), and Poster Co-Chair (2010). He has also served on the NCB-ESA resolutions committee (2004-2006), NCB-ESA Student Awards committee member and chair (2015-2017), and NCB Executive Committee Member-at-Large (2019-2021). Clint recently led the ESA “Science Policy Tour” in 2019 on pest resistance management. He judges the student competition almost every year for NCB and the National ESA meetings. He is also active with other organizations including the National FFA Foundation where he has served on the President’s Advisory Council for past 6 years. Clint and his wife Carol actively support Iowa State University and are active volunteers in their community of Johnston, IA.
Candidate statement: Clint has tremendous passion for Sustainable agriculture and how to best design future IPM solutions for farmers. He is energized by the idea of serving the branch to explore cross-disciplinary opportunities for the science of entomology. “As pests adapt to our pest control tactics, so must we! I truly believe that future pest management solutions are a combination of understanding the biology, innovating new technologies, but also harnessing the power of people and our ability to collaborate with each other to solve challenging problems. We are poised to accomplish tremendous things as a branch if we reach across disciplines and diversify our science to meet the needs of our collective clientele. The North Central Branch is diverse and uniquely positioned to lead the society on many fronts.”
- Laura Campbell, Corteva Agriscience
Bio: Dr. Laura Campbell has a B.S. in biology/botany and B.S. in horticulture from Northwest Missouri State University. She received her M.S. in 2003 and her Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Nebraska, both in entomology, specializing on corn rootworm biology. Since relocating to southern Illinois, she worked as a research and development intern for Dow AgroSciences for two field seasons, and as a researcher in the weed science program at Southern Illinois University for three years. She joined Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences) in 2013 as a field scientist. Her work covers pest management in corn, soybeans, wheat, and specialty crops in southern Illinois and Kentucky, and she has helped to coordinate field research on all aspects of pest management.
Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: As a member of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), Laura has regularly attended national and branch meetings to present her research. Additionally, she has served on the ESA North Central Branch Student Affairs Committee (2003-2008) and the ESA-NCB Student Awards Committee (2007-2008). She regularly serves as a judge and moderator at ESA and NCB meetings. Since 2016, she has served as a Member-at-Large on the NCB Executive Committee and has helped to solicit corporate donations to support the branch meetings.
Candidate statement: Laura is committed to promoting the success of North Central Branch. Her time as a Member-at-Large on the NCB Executive Committee has helped her to see that the strength of North Central Branch and of ESA comes from the engagement and enthusiasm of its members. However, her time on the Executive Committee has also made clear how important it is for the branch to utilize its resources wisely in the face of increasing meeting costs, while continuing to promote opportunities for student engagement and a diversity of activities.
- Joanna Gress, Emporia State University
Bio: I received my PhD in Plant Sciences with a concentration in Genetics from Montana State University, Bozeman where my dissertation was on the “Discovery and characterization of the olfactory-related genes in the wheat stem sawfly, Cephus cinctus, a major pest of wheat in the northern plains”. I received my Masters in Plant Sciences from the University of Arizona, Tucson where I worked on "A Multidisciplinary Approach for the Control of the Citrus Nematode, Tylenchulus semipenetrans in Arizona: Implications in Diagnostics and Management Strategies". I then went to the University of Arkansas for Postdoctoral studies in Bioinformatics and Plant Virology. I joined the faculty of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton GA, in 2016 where I taught Genetics, Population Genetics, Plant Physiology. My research there looked at the use of the effects of nicotine and niacin on chemoreception in the fall armyworm. I then moved to Emporia State University, Emporia KS in 2019 where I am currently Assistant Professor of Genetics. My current research is focused on assessing CBD and hemp pollen for protective antioxidant effects against the harmful effects against neonicotinoids and acaricides in the honeybee gut. Grants 2019 KINBRE Recruitment Grant: Effects of Pesticides and Pathogens on Short- and Long-term Olfactory Learning Behavior and Memory in Apis mellifera 2021 Gary Bitter Research Award, ESU Research Project: Does CBD offer protective effects against pesticides in honey bees Selected Publications and Presentations Gress, Joanna C. et al. (2021) Olfactory-related genes from the wheat stem sawfly, an agronomic pest and primitive hymenopteran. In preparation for Insect Molecular Biology Wiest, T. Rutherford, N. and Gress, J. (2021) RT-qPCR Analysis of Antioxidant Gene Regulation of Apis mellifera in Response to Coumaphos, Imidacloprid, and Cannabidiol. Oral Presentation at 19th Annual KINBRE Symposium Jan. 14-15, 2021 Gress, J.C. et al. (2017) First Report of Citrus leaf blotch virus in Peony in the U.S.A. Plant Disease: Disease Notes 101:637. Gress, J.C., et al. (2013) Odorant receptors of a primitive hymenopteran pest, the wheat stem sawfly. Insect Molecular Biology doi: 10.1111/imb.12053 Bromenshenk, J.J. et al. (2010) Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline. PLOS One: 5 (10):e13181
Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: ESA member Judge for 2020 Joint North Central and Southwestern Branch Virtual Student Competition KSA Member Judge for 2021 KAS Student Poster Competition
Candidate statement: I am new to the North Central area having started at a new position in Kansas. I am looking to connect with other entomologists in my region and collaborate on ideas and research. ESA is a fabulous organization that I have been involved with since I was a graduate student. I have experience with hymenoptera having worked on the wheat stem sawfly olfactory system for my PhD. I am now focused on honeybee research and looking at antioxidant and neuroprotective effects of hemp and cannabinoids. I am eager to help promote the excellent work that members of ESA conduct every year to the public, government, and academia. ESA plays an important role in harnessing the strength of this diverse community by bringing us together in ways that empower both our research and teaching. I am excited to contribute to ESA’s larger efforts to promote the careers of young scientists and foster interactions that span disciplines.
Early Career Professional Committee Chair-Elect
Bio: Anh K. Tran is currently employed at ISK Biosciences as the product manager of insecticide development and technical services. They recently completed their Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in entomology investigating the invasive vinegar fly, spotted-wing drosophila, winter survival strategy (i.e., overwintering vs. migration). Anh received a B.A. in Biology in 2011 from Hiram College and a M.S. in Entomology in 2016 from UMN examining the effects of sulfoxaflor on the natural enemies of the soybean aphid. Anh is broadly interested in invasive species and integrated pest management. In their free-time, Anh enjoys leading outreach events, teaching the public about the wonderous world of entomology and promoting diversity in STEM through programs such as Letters to a Pre-Scientist and volunteering as a mentor.
Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Anh has been an active member of ESA member since 2013 and has participated in many of ESA’s activities such as the student’s talk competition, Triple Horn Challenge, Entomology Games, and Student Debates. Additionally, Anh has volunteered as a judge for student’s talks and posters at the national meeting and has volunteered for P-IE at their networking session. Through these activities, Anh wanted to become involved with the society and has been fortunate to hold leadership roles such as being the Student Representative on the P-IE Governing Board, a member of the Better Common Names Project and Common Names Committee.
Candidate statement: Anh is interested in advocating for the next emerging leaders of ESA and feels that this can be accomplished by being the North Central Branch Early-Career Professional Chair Elect. As a recent graduate and new hire in industry, Anh believes they can offer alternative perspectives to the academic training students are typically exposed to in grad school. Anh genuinely enjoys interacting and getting to know people. With that, Anh wants to listen to the voices and experiences of ECP and obtain feedback to accurately speak on their behalf. Additionally, Anh hopes to collaborate with the leaders at NCB to create opportunities and an inclusive space for all.
Student Affairs Committee Chair-Elect
- Emily Althoff, University of Minnesota
Bio: Although she had always been interested in insects, she didn’t realize she could make a career out of entomology until volunteering at the INHS’s Insect Collection. From there, she went on to work as an undergraduate technician in the Hanks Lab at the University of Illinois and an intern at the USDA Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the Smithsonian’s NMNH, studying chemical ecology and parasitoid wasps respectively. These experiences fostered a deep interest in how chemistry can impact insect behavior, eventually leading to her application to graduate school programs. After receiving her Bachelor’s in Integrative Biology and Anthropology, she earned a Master’s in Plant, Insect, and Microbial Sciences from the University of Missouri, and is currently working towards a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, focusing on bark beetle chemical ecology.
Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: NCB Student Affairs Committee Representative: University of Missouri 2018-2020, NCB Program Committee Rep: 2019-2020, University of Missouri: C.V. Riley Entomological Society President, University of Minnesota: Frenatae: Outreach Coordinator, Skype a Scientist
Candidate statement: Althoff has a wide and diverse background in entomology, studying agricultural, forest, and systematic entomology. She has also previously served as a student affairs representative from the University of Missouri. Due to this background, she is comfortable and confident bringing student concerns from a variety of disciplines to the table. She is qualified and prepared to work for and represent the students of the North Central Branch. Additionally, she is heavily invested in teaching, outreach, and science communication, and would like to see these values represented in entomology teaching workshops for graduate student teaching assistants.