2024 Southeastern Branch Elections Results

​​​​​​Congratulations to the members of the Entomological Society of America's Southeastern Branch recently elected to volunteer positions beginning in March 2024. The electronic ballot period for members began on January 8 and was completed on February 7. The Southeastern Branch membership have also voted to approve the proposed changes to the Southeastern Branch Constitution

Southeastern Branch President-Elect

Ash Sial  
University of Georgia

Bio: Dr. Ash Sial grew up at a small farm in Pakistan. He received his early education in Pakistan, MS from University of Greenwich, United Kingdom, and PhD from Washington State University. After doing postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley and Cornell University, he joined University of Georgia where he currently serves as Associate Professor of Entomology and IPM Coordinator. His research interests include economic entomology, insecticide toxicology, resistance management, and IPM. He has won over $32 million in competitive grants, authored 210 research & extension publications, 250 presentations including 39 invited seminars, 12 webinars, and 3 keynote addresses, created several educational materials including blogs, websites, and apps, and organized 20 national & international symposia. His research program has been highlighted multiple times in national radio and TV.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Ash Sial has extensive record of serving professional organizations in a leadership role at the regional, national, and international level. He has served as Chair of ESA Student Affairs Committee (2010), ESA Annual Meeting Program Committee (2010), ESA President’s Task Force to Revamp Website (2010), ESA Resolutions Committee (2011), Pacific Branch Program Co-Chair (2013), ESA Early Career Professionals Committee (2015-2017), 2016 ICE Sponsorship Committee, ESA Professional Awards Judging Panel (2016-2017), Southeastern Branch Program Chair (2017), and International IPM Symposium Program Committee (2018, 2022). Currently he is serving as ESA Science Policy Fellow (2021-2023). He regularly publishes in & reviews for ESA journals, and volunteers as moderator and judge. He has won several awards for excellence in professional leadership & service. 

Candidate statement: While I have served ESA as a member/chair of several committees and initiatives at regional & national level since I was graduate student, my focus has always been on organizing activities aimed at nurturing the intellectual capital of ESA, specifically the aspiring young scientists, to enable them to effectively contribute to address the enormous challenges facing mankind today, including global food security, human health, and the environment. Given the opportunity, I will launch initiatives to enhance participation of young entomologists particularly underrepresented minorities and organize more professional development focused activities to enrich their education & training experience which will help them better prepare for the job market to secure careers of their choice and enable them to pick up the baton of leading the science of entomology for years to come.  

Southeastern Branch Member-at-Large

Emilie Demard
University of Florida 

Bio: Emilie graduated with a Master of Engineer in Agronomy in 2016. She started a PhD program in 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Qureshi at the University of Florida. Her research focused on the management of phytophagous mites in Citrus Under Protective Screen (CUPS). This work led to the publication of three first-author articles in high-quality journals and two technical articles in the Citrus Industry Magazine. She joined Dr. Diepenbrock’s lab in August 2022 as a postdoc. Her current role is to evaluate new integrated management tactics and to better understand the feeding behavior of key pests in citrus using Electropenetrography (EPG) techniques. Emilie’s research area focuses on biological control, integrated management, and acarology.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Emilie served as a judge at oral and poster competitions, as well as a moderator at student competition for different ESA and SEB meetings. Emilie co-organized and co-moderated three symposia for the Acarological Society of America (ASA). She is a member of the ASA governing board member since 2021. 

Emilie is the president of the CREC (Citrus and Research Education Center) Post-doctoral Association member. She is a member of the CREC Educational Engagement in Plant Science (CEEPS) a student and postdoctoral organization that aims to educate the local community through outreach. She is also a member of the Florida Entomological Society, the International Organization for Biological Control, and the Acarological Society of America. 

Candidate statement: I would like to have the opportunity to have a larger impact within my primary professional society. As a member of the branch leadership team, I will work to increase the inclusiveness of the SEB by making the meetings more affordable to students and early career professionals (broader advertisement of travel grants). As a woman and a first-generation college student, I also would like to increase diversity and inclusion at the SEB by organizing symposia about non-traditional professional backgrounds. I am also interested in developing symposia related to future challenges such as climate change and invasive species. My enthusiasm, self-motivation, and ability to work well in a team make me a good candidate for this role.  

Southeastern Branch Secretary-Treasurer

Brett Blaauw
University of Georgia

Bio: Originally from Southwest Michigan, Dr. Brett Blaauw earned his MS in Chemical Ecology from Western Michigan University and then his PhD at Michigan State University with a dual degree in Entomology and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. With over 15 years of research experience in fruit systems, Dr. Blaauw is currently an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist of fruit entomology with dual appointments at UGA and Clemson. As the regional peach entomologist for GA and SC, he works closely with the grower stakeholders and industry leaders in developing and implementing IPM and sustainable agriculture programs for culturally and economically important crops. The results from his research provide the groundwork for developing pest management recommendations, which are published in one of the eight management guides where Dr. Blaauw is a contributor and/or editor.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Blaauw has been an active member of the ESA for 15 years with over 7 of those in the Southeastern Branch (SEB). He has been to every national meeting since joining ESA and every SEB meeting since moving to the southeast. As a student he participated in the student competitions and the Entomology Games. Now, he instills the importance of ESA to his students, encouraging them all to be active members in the society. Dr. Blaauw was the chair of the site selection and the local arrangements committees for the 2020 Joint Eastern Branch and SEB Meeting in Atlanta, GA. Although COVID-19 had other plans for the meeting, he continued to serve the society and is the incumbent Secretary-Treasurer for SEB. He is also the current President of the GA Entomological Society. Dr. Blaauw is a hardworking entomologist who continues to show notable support and dedication to these societies. 

Candidate statement: As the current Secretary-Treasurer for SEB, it has been a privilege to work closely with ESA-HQ and the SEB to help our society endure and overcome many of the issues from COVID-19 that impacted our Branch. I hope to continue helping to refine the role and objectives of SEB in order to grow and modernize our Branch. It would be an honor for me to remain serving the SEB as Sec/Treas. I believe that a core tenet of our society is volunteerism, and as such, others should have the opportunity to serve. Consequently, I would strongly support another candidate if it were in the best interest of our membership. My success as the Sec/Treas is due to the amazing support from ESA-HQ, the great leaders of SEB, and the invaluable guidance from our previous Sec/Treas. Thus, regardless of the outcome of the election, I will happily help with the transition and continue to support a new SEB leadership.  

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