CHAMPAIGN, Ill., 3/7/18: For college students, presenting research and networking with professionals at conferences in their chosen fields is an invaluable opportunity, but one that can be cost-prohibitive. In each of the past 24 years, a University of Illinois student has been awarded the William H. Luckmann Award, which covers travel-related expenses as a way to reward applied research in entomology.
PhD student Daniel Bush, recipient of the Luckmann Award in 2017, used his $1,000 to participate in two conferences, the national meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) in Denver, CO and the Almond Conference in Sacramento, CA. He shared a poster and spoke about his research on the role of the fungus Aspergillus flavus in detoxifying natural and synthetic compounds in navel orangeworm caterpillar diets, potentially improving the caterpillars’ ability to destroy almond and pistachio crops.
For his part, Bush said that presenting research in front of other scientists and making connections in the field are important for the academic experience.
“At ESA, I was able to interact with some of my peers, including another graduate student who studies a very similar relationship between fungus flies and commercially grown mushrooms. The Almond Board is one of my funding agencies, so it is important that I go to at least some of these meetings in order to report my findings to them.
“In addition, going to Sacramento gave me a good opportunity to meet with our collaborator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture station in Parlier, CA, as well as University of California researchers and growers who are experts in orchard conditions.”
Since applying for graduate school in the Department of Entomology, Bush has been interested in laboratory projects involving insects, plants, and microbes. He also taught courses on insect ecology and plant systematics, cementing his goal of becoming a professor with his own entomology lab.
Applications for the 2018 William Luckmann Award are still being accepted until March 30. Eligible graduate and undergraduate students focus on aspects of applied entomology such as arthropod pest management, use of insects in biological control programs, pollinators, or natural health areas. Information and an application are available at http://wwx.inhs.illinois.edu/resources/opportunities/luckman-award/
Your gift to the Illinois Natural History Survey Entomology for the Ages Fund will help promote research in entomology while enhancing students’ academic experiences. To donate, visit https://portal.uif.uillinois.edu/UIF-billing-form.
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