Candidates for the North Central Branch Elections

North Central Branch Elections will be held by electronic ballot and voting will open December 15, 2021 and close January 31, 2022 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time US.

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North Central Branch President-Elect

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.”

Secretary-Treasurer Elect

North Central Branch Secretary-Treasurer Elect

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.

Anthony Hanson
University of Minnesota

Bio: Dr. Anthony Hanson is an entomologist and Extension Educator in Integrated Pest Management with the University of Minnesota Extension. He focuses on IPM in field crops to provide tactics growers can use to make sound economic and environmentally relevant pest management decisions. He also hosts the University of Minnesota IPM Podcast for Field Crops. Anthony grew up farming in west-central Minnesota growing crops, raising cattle, and managing pastures. He is also still actively involved in the family farm where he also keeps honeybees. Anthony received his B.A. in Biology in 2010 at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. He then obtained a Master’s in Entomology at the University of Minnesota in 2013 studying the cold tolerance of emerald ash borer parasitoids and stayed to complete a PhD in Entomology in 2017 on incorporating host-plant resistance into soybean aphid IPM.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Anthony has been an active member of ESA and the North Central Branch since 2009 when he first joined as an undergraduate student. Since then, he has attended a branch or national ESA meeting nearly every year since and knows first-hand the value of encouraging students to attend and present at ESA meetings. During graduate school, Anthony received awards for student talks or posters each year from 2012 to 2017 and regularly competed on the UMN Entomology Games team. In 2015, Anthony was awarded the ESA P-IE Kenneth and Barbara Starks Plant Resistance to Insects Graduate Student Award and in 2016, the ESA NCB Graduate Student Scholarship. He has also served as a judge for student competition presentations. Not only an entomologist, he has been a member of the Agronomy Society of America since 2015 for interdisciplinary focus in areas such as host-plant resistance and plant breeding.

Candidate statement: The North Central Branch has been a home for my love of insects through exposure to all the disciplines within it, and I see the Secretary-Treasurer position as an ideal way to continue providing that atmosphere for all members. I would like to act as a resource reflective of all members whether they affiliate more with MUVE, PBT, P-IE, or SysEB. The Secretary-Treasurer position is vital for both providing structure for the branch in terms of information about its activities and ensuring we have organized financials. I would look forward to serving our branch in a successful term by making sure we have a well-supported annual branch meeting while keeping many of the behind-the-scenes activities well organized by leveraging experience I have from managing financials and non-profit status of student groups or state extension programs.

Nick Tinsley 

Bio: Nick Tinsley received his BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he focused on the biology and management of insect pests of corn and soybean. Of particular interest has been the western corn rootworm—significant accomplishments related to the management of this insect have been the development of models to describe yield loss and the performance of various management tactics, documenting populations resistant to transgenic Bt corn, and monitoring shifts in population abundance. He is currently employed as a seed treatment technical field representative for BASF with commercial support and research and development responsibilities for the eastern Corn Belt.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Nick has been an active member of the Entomological Society of America since 2006. During that time, he has served as an author or coauthor on 39 presentations/posters and has routinely volunteered to serve as a session moderator. Outside of the Entomological Society of America, he has served as a chapter advisor (2006–2012) and on the scholarship committee (2019–present) for the agriculture fraternity Nabor House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has enjoyed volunteering to judge 4H insect collections at the Illinois State Fair annually since 2008. He is a past member of the Kansas Entomological Society, the Ecological Society of America, and the Crop Science Society of America/American Society of Agronomy.

Candidate statement: Nick is interested in serving as the North Central Branch Secretary-Treasurer Elect as a way to provide leadership and deepen his engagement with the society. This role is one that requires strong organizational and communication skills—skills which have been crucial to success throughout all stages of his career. The challenges we have faced during the previous two years have forced each of us to evaluate new ways of working and connecting with our colleagues. Although these types of changes can certainly prove challenging, he looks forward to the opportunity to help shape the future of our branch and contribute substantially to its enduring success at this critical time.


North Central Branch Member-at-Large

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.

Stuart Mitchell
PestWest USA

Bio: Stuart Mitchell is the Technical Director at PestWest USA LLC. 

Education: BS Physics, BS Forensic Psychology, Master of Public Health, PhD Entomology, PhD Zoology, PhD Biology, PhD Naturopathic Medicine, PhD Complimentary & Alternative Health Care, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Board Certified Physician, Veterinarian, Psychologist, and Entomologist (Medical, Veterinary, Urban, Industrial)
Experience: Served the pest management industry since 1982, a technical specialist, technical director, consultant, expert-witness, columnist, author, lecturer, and speaker.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Stuart served as the Board Certified Entomologist (BCE) Certification Director in 2009. 

Candidate statement: I want to continue to serve to assure the future of ESA. It has been my privilege to both be a member and serve ESA. I want to share the skills, qualities, and attributes I have worked for over many years. Volunteerism is the back-bone of ESA, and as a firm believer in its merits, I ask for the privilege to serve ESA as North Central Branch Member-at-Large.

Early Career Professional Committee Chair-Elect

North Central Branch Early Career Professional Committee Chair-Elect

Anh K. Tran
ISK Biosciences

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

North Central Branch 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.

Jeffrey Cluever
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Bio: Jeff has a bachelor’s in Horticulture from the University of Florida (UF). He also has a master’s in entomology from UF, where he focused on thrips species in strawberries. His work included studying the effect of insecticides on species composition and the production of simple dichotomous keys for species identification. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His current focus is on western bean cutworm management, including biological control and pheromone trapping.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Jeff has been a member of ESA since 2015. Since then, he has attended four branch and four national meetings. He has volunteered at ESA by helping participants upload their presentations. Jeff has also been active outside ESA. He has regularly volunteered for outreach events sponsored by UNL’s graduate entomology club (the Lawrence Bruner club). Jeff is currently the Lawrence Bruner club’s representative to the Graduate Student Assembly. He also organized the first-ever student research fair at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center.

Candidate statement: I am interested in serving as the North Central Branch Student affairs committee chair because I want to be an advocate for students in the ESA. I further wish to facilitate communication among students from various universities and sections of ESA. My ultimate goal is to help foster networks that will be an essential part of our careers.

Jacqueline Maille
Kansas State University

Bio: My interest in entomology stretches back to childhood but quickly took hold as a career option after high school while working for Agape Pest Control LLC. in Holden, Louisiana, for three years while pursuing a B.Sc. in Biology at Southeastern Louisiana University. However, a life and location change had me complete my B.Sc. in Biology at Austin Peay State University in 2016. There, I gained an interest in aquatic macroinvertebrates and stream health. I gained more ecological interest after being hired as an entomological research assistant identifying arthropods for ornithological research under Dr. Stephan Woltmann. Following my bachelor's, I pursued a four-month internship at Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the desire to share entomology with the public grew. I decided to continue my entomological pursuits working with Dr. Thomas Phillips at Kansas State University (KSU) to gain an M.Sc. in Entomology in 2017. During this time, I learned the value of stored product pests’ impact on the post-harvest system and how they jeopardize food security. My goal was to find alternative fumigants to methyl bromide, to control three stored product pests in high-value commodities. During this time, I earned $9,300 of supplementary support for my research pursuits with six grants and two awards, earned two certificates in professional development and teaching assistantship, and presented twelve oral or poster presentations with eight as senior author and two as an invited speaker. I also have prepared three first-author manuscripts. I held multiple positions on departmental committees or within the departmental Popenoe Entomological Club. Additionally, I learned about ESA student involvement and participated as an Entomology Games Team member annually, and participated in the 2019 KSU debate team. Currently, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Entomology at Kansas State University and am co-advised by Dr. Kun Yan Zhu and Dr. Erin Scully. My research highlights and addresses the knowledge gaps in stored product insect sensory biology to improve behaviorally based management practices. I have already started supporting my research pursuits by earning $3,950 with three grants and four awards. My first manuscript with fellow 2019 departmental debate team members was published. I have presented seven oral or poster presentations, with five being the senior author and two were as an invited speaker. I have served on two departmental committees and am currently serving on one and serving as the Treasurer position in the Popenoe Club. I am an active member and serve on the internal advisory board for the SUCCEED program targeted to college students for the Kansas State Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering. I have continued my annual participation in the KSU Entomology Games Team, which recently went to nationals after winning branch. I am also serving as the KSU North Central Branch (NCB) Student Affairs Committee (SAC) representative and the NCB SAC National ESA representative and serving on the NCB Awards sub-committee. I would like the opportunity to continue serving our branch.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: I have been an active ESA member in the North Central Branch (NCB) since 2017. I was a member of MUVE from 2017-2020; since I have become a member of PI-E and PBT. I have actively participated in student competitions for three NCB branch meetings (2018, 2019, and 2021) and five national meetings (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). I have been an annual participant in the Entomology Games and competed in the 2019 Student Debates. In 2020, I became the KSU NCB SAC representative and started serving on the NCB Awards sub-committee. I have begun to present work outside my branch at the 2021 International branch meeting. Also, in 2021, I started to work on organizing symposia, co-hosting a symposium titled "Sensing Solutions: Advances in Chemosensation and Behaviorally-based Management of Agricultural Insects" at NCB. I have volunteered moderation services during the 2021 ESA National Meeting for the 10 min Graduate Student Talk Competition for PI-E: Hymenoptera. Most recently, I began serving as the NCB SAC National ESA representative.

Candidate statement: I am interested in serving as the NCB SAC Chair-Elect because it will allow me to work collaboratively with the current chair in their efforts to facilitate North Central Branch student involvement in branch activities and education. Additionally, this opportunity would help me develop and hone the professional skills needed to facilitate a successful future career. I look forward to being a part of program sessions that would grow and strengthen our branch's future. I believe that I bring to this role a passion for collaboration in diverse voices and advocacy to this role. I bring strengths of focused strategic input with a knack for learning and restorative communication with a passion for being a team player. I would like to sincerely thank you for considering my nomination form and am willing to provide and supplementary information upon request.

Eliott M. Smith
Iowa State University

Bio: Eliott is a current Ph.D. candidate at Iowa State University in Dr. Gassmann's lab working with multiple western corn rootworm strains. He is looking for genetic and phenotypic characteristics associated with Bt resistance. He uses multiple strains to conduct bioassays to quantify the inheritance of resistance, fitness trade-offs, and determine the genetic factor for resistance. He came to ISU from the University of Florida, where he obtained a Master's of Science. At UF, He worked on investigating the effects of prophylactic antibiotic treatments in citrus on the Asian citrus psyllid’s fitness, vectorial capacity, and endosymbiont community. Before UF, he was a lab technician in Dr. Webb's lab at the University of Kentucky where he gained experience in national collaboration, insect rearing, DNA extraction and amplification, and gel electrophoresis of a lepidopteran pest.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Eliott has been a member of ESA since 2017. He started with the Southern Eastern Branch but is now in the North Central Branch. Since joining NCB, he has become the Student Affairs Committee representative for Iowa State University. Eliott has had the opportunity to present research at the 2017, 2019, and 2021 National meetings and attend the 2019 NCB Regional meeting. As part of ESA NCB SAC, he has attended meetings regularly and volunteered to collaborate on a symposium for the NCB Regional meeting. Eliott has been an active and vocal member of Iowa State’s community by participating in the Advanced Teaching and Research Building Committee to discuss space allocation, security, and other issues; he has joined the Entomology Departmental Seminar Committee where he has actively invited seminar speakers and collaborated with his peers to generate a list of potential speakers.

Candidate statement: Eliott would like to provide opportunities for student professional development through engaging and hosting networking and mentorship events with industry professionals and academic scholars. He envisions these events going beyond the in-person annual national and regional meetings but extending throughout the year. With the new virtual format for meetings and events, it seems feasible to get year-round involvement in professional development and networking events. He also plans to host events where students and get together and discuss their research and the research of other entomologists in a journal club-like format. This will provide many opportunities to practice public speaking as well as broaden each participant’s knowledge in the field of entomology.

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