Sara Wislon currently works for the Illinois Natural History Survey Medical Entomology Lab as a graduate student researcher. She's pursuing a Master's degree in the School of Integrative Biology in the Entomology department at the University of Illinois and is advised by Chris Stone.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
My dream job changed a lot growing up, but the most distinct memory I have is that in elementary and middle school I really wanted to be an ecologist. It’s kind of wild, but it isn’t far off from what I got my undergrad degree in!
What drew you to study insects?
While studying Natural Resources and Environmental Science as an undergrad, I spent a summer working as a lab technician for the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District. Before that, I had never even heard of entomology as a career, but I fell in love with it! As a kid, I loved catching bugs during the summers and always found them fascinating. Learning that I could turn my long time interest in insects into a career was incredible. I was especially drawn to medical entomology because it's a great cross-section between biology, ecology, and public health.
What do you love about your work at PRI?
I love the wide array of work that happens at PRI both within labs and across the institution. It's amazing to be surrounded by people who are so passionate about different facets of biology.
How will your work impact future generations?
I hope that my research investigating the nectar feeding behavior of mosquitoes will help us improve mosquito abatement techniques and reduce the spread of vector-borne diseases like the West Nile Virus.