Meet Emily Struckhoff, a graduate student in the Entomology department at the University of Illinois and student researcher in the Medical Entomology Lab at the Illinois Natural History Survey. Struckhoff is working with her advisor, Chris Stone to help shed light on widespread ticks and tick-borne diseases in Illinois and help local communities keep themselves safe.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up I wanted to be a veterinarian or a pediatrician, but during college, I changed course and realized I wanted to work in the environmental field.
What drew you to your current field of study?
After I graduated with my bachelor's degree, I spent a summer as a field technician working with beetles in Missouri. Not only did this experience pique my interest in entomology, but it also introduced me to the importance of medical entomology, as tick bites were a daily part of the job. After that experience, I started working as a technician in the INHS Medical Entomology Lab, and I've loved medical entomology ever since!
What do you love about your work at PRI?
I love working with the incredible network of people at PRI. Everybody is so supportive and works on such diverse research topics - it's a great group to be a part of!
How will your work impact future generations?
Vector-borne diseases, and especially tick-borne diseases, have long been understated as a problem in the Midwest. I hope my research will shed light on how widespread ticks and tick-borne diseases are in Illinois and provide resources to local communities on how to keep themselves safe.