2023 Southeastern Branch Elections


The 2023 Southeastern Branch officer elections, conducted via electronic ballot, will open January 9, 2023, and close February 8, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time. 

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Southeastern Branch President-Elect

Juang Horng (JC) Chong
Clemson University

Bio: JC received his BS degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona, and his MS and PhD degrees in Entomology from the University of Georgia. JC joined Clemson University in 2007 after his post-doctoral training under a joint project between USDA-APHIS and the University of Florida. JC worked with mealybugs and focused on insect ecology and biological control during his graduate and post-doctoral programs. He continues his love for scale insects, ecology and biological control, and adds aspects of pest management and biodiversity to his nationally recognized research and Extension program as a Professor and Extension Specialist of turf and ornamental crop entomology at Clemson University.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Not only did he receive all his training in the South, JC is also a career member of the ESA and SEB. JC attended his first SEB meeting, held in Mobile, AL, and experienced his first Mobile Mardi Gras and moon pie in 2000. (There is no such thing as a moon pie in his homeland, Malaysia.) He has attended all but one SEB meeting in the past 22 years. JC served in various elected and appointed positions at the branch and national levels, most notably as the co-Program Committee Chair of the 2011 SEB meeting in San Juan, PR, Secretary-Treasurer of SEB from 2012-2018, and co-Program Committee Chair for the 2020 ESA meeting (virtual). He is currently serving as a Member-at-Large of SEB. JC also served in various positions in the South Carolina Entomological Society and is currently the Editor of the Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology.

Candidate statement:I don’t think it is my turn to be the President-Elect, and then the President of SEB simply because I have moved up the rank within the ESA and SEB. I also hope that I’m elected not simply because I’m loud (I can be at times), a nice guy (I think I am and hope you’ll agree) or promised a grand vision (which I don’t have one). I want to serve in these offices because I want to show our members, especially student and early career professional members, that volunteering or service in ESA and SEB is not a task, an annoyance or a line in the CV. I’m not an idea-guy, nor a visionary; I’m a do-er. Even a do-er can volunteer and lead SEB. Hopefully someone will say, “This JC guy has served SEB for over a decade, and he’s still having fun. Maybe I’ll give it a try!” That one volunteer is what I will consider a success during my term.

Jerome F. Grant
University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Bio: Dr. Jerome Grant is professor of entomology in the Dept of Entomology & Plant Pathology at UTK .  He holds a B.A. in Biology (Berea College 1977), M.S. in Entomology (UK 1980), and  Ph.D. in Entomology (Clemson 1983).  He served as Major Advisor for 43 M.S. and 4 Ph.D. graduate students who completed degrees, and is Major Advisor for 1 M.S. and 3 Ph.D. students. He has taught 15 courses related to IPM, biocontrol, invasive species, etc. He developed an Educational Outreach Program that reaches 7,000 – 10,000 people annually. He authored/co-authored 150+ papers at SEB during his career; thirty of his graduate students received paper awards; one student received the Comstock Award!

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Jerome F. Grant has served as a member or chair of various committees within the SEB-ESA and ESA. He has served as Chair/co-Chair on the ESA local arrangements committee for the National Meeting (1997) and SEB Meeting (1997, 1998, 2007, 2017), as well as the Program Committee, Entomological Society of America (1996, 2012), and Program Committee, SEB-ESA (2015). He has served on every committee in the SEB-ESA multiple times. He was Member-at-Large, SEB-ESA (1999-2001). He was Games Master/Moderator for Entomology Games, SEB-ESA 2011, 2013-2022 ( 11 times as Games Master at Branch); That is just a sampling of his service to the ESA and SEB-ESA over 42 years.

Candidate statement:I have been a member of the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society Since 1978. I have served on every committee in the branch multiple times and as Chair and co-Chair. If elected to president-elect of the SEB-ESA, I will perform the duties in the finest tradition of the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America, and it will be my honor to serve this fine professional society in that capacity.

Gadi V.P. Reddy
USDA-ARS-Southern Insect Management Research Unit, Stoneville, MS

Bio: Dr. Gadi V.P. Reddy serves as Research Leader (RL) for the Southern Insect Management Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Stoneville, MS, and has served in that role since 2019. He also served as Acting RL for the Pollinators Health in Southern Crop Ecosystems Research Unit from November 2020 to March 2022. Dr. Reddy was a Professor, Head, and Superintendent at the Montana State University Western Triangle Agricultural Research Center from 2012-2019. He was a faculty at the University of Guam from 2002-2012. Dr. Reddy has received several awards. Some of these include 2022: Merit Award in Administration from the Mississippi Entomological Association, the 2020 Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, the 2021 Sigma Xi Fellow, The Scientific Research Honor Society, The 2014 President's Volunteer Service Award by The Corporation for National and Community Service, Washington DC

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Reddy has been an active ESA member since 2005. He actively served as a subject editor for Environmental Entomology from 2008 to 2017 and for Annals of the Entomological Society of America from 2008 to 2020. Since 2020, he has been a Review Editor and on the Editorial Board for the Annals of the ESA. Dr. Reddy organized member symposiums on canola insect pests in 2013 and Pulse insect pests and their management in 2017. Additionally, he edited special issues, pulse insect pests (2018) and Trap and cover crops (2019), and also, in 2021, he edited a review article edition with 13 chapters). Dr. Reddy has been invited speaker at numerous symposia at both Branch and Annual Meetings.

Candidate statement:As President-Elect for Southeastern Brach (SEB), I am committed to promoting opportunities for the members of SEB and providing the resources to share their entomological science. If chosen, I intend to increase our active membership at SEB to bring new diversity and contribution among all members. I aim to uphold the President's responsibility to ensure program stability and support member needs. I am interested in learning the member's priorities for our society and addressing the preferences of all Eastern Branch members.

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

Mark Ray Abney
University of Georgia

Bio: Dr. Abney is an Associate Professor of Entomology at the University of Georgia (UGA) located on the Tifton Campus. He received his PhD in Entomology from North Carolina State University (NCSU) where he also spent two years in a post-doctoral position and five years as a faculty member. Dr. Abney has been at UGA since 2013. His current research and Extension programs focus on the ecology and management of insect pests of peanut in Georgia and the Southeastern US. Major emphasis is placed on development of new knowledge and the delivery of science-based information to address insect pest management challenges of concern to the peanut industry. He has 34 refereed journal articles and scores of Extension and popular press publications. He and his students have presented their work at dozens of scientific conferences, and he has delivered hundreds of Extension related talks.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Abney has been a member of ESA since 1999. He regularly participates in the National and Southeastern Branch ESA meetings where he has presented his research and judged numerous student competitions. He served on the SEB ESA audit committee, and he has served as Associate Editor for ESA’s Arthropod Management Tests for over 10 years and is also an Associate Editor of Peanut Science. He annually conducts reviews for a variety of journals including those published by ESA. Dr. Abney is former president of the North Carolina Entomological Society and is actively involved in the Georgia Entomological Society and the American Peanut Research and Education Society.

Candidate statement:It is an honor to be nominated and considered for the position of Member-at-Large of the Southeastern Branch ESA. The SEB has played an important role in my career. From my first presentation as an MS student over 20 years ago until today, the SEB has provided opportunities for sharing research, learning, networking, and collaborating with colleagues. There is currently an effort within ESA to shape the future of the regional Branches, and many ideas have been presented for consideration. Member participation in discussions over the coming year will be extremely important as the Society makes decisions that will determine how the Branches operate going forward. I believe in the importance of the regional Branches, and if selected for this position, I look forward to the opportunity to serve the SEB and its members and to work to improve the benefit members receive from the Branch.

Michael Goldman

Bio: Michael has over 30 years of experience in environmental health and safety, and he has experienced and mitigated a wide range of natural and business induced hazards and regulatory violations across the United States and Canada.  His expertise ranges from manufacturing and construction operations, solid and hazardous waste transport and management, remediation of Superfund  sites, auditing and gap analysis, plus setting up OSHA, EPA and DOT compliant management systems and training programs. Michael is also certified as a Board Certified Entomologist through the Entomological Society of America and currently pursuing a master's degree in Entomology.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service:

  • ESA Membership
  • BCE
  • Instructor for the Rattlesnake Conservancy
  • Board of Directors of The Amphibian Foundation

Candidate statement:As a Board Member at large I would like to deepen my role and experience within the ESA. I see this as an ambassadorship of Entomology to the larger public

Rizana Mahroof

Bio: Rizana Mahroof, Ph.D., recently joined the USDA-NIFA as the National Program Leader.  Previously, she served as the Professor and Chair at South Carolina State University since 2008.  Rizana has a B.S. in agriculture from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, an M.Phil. in forest entomology from the University of Edinburgh, UK, a Ph.D. in stored products entomology from Kansas State University, and postdoctoral research at Oklahoma State University.  Her research was focused on reducing postharvest losses along the farm to folk, designed to develop reduced-risk pest management strategies.  She received the SC Governor’s award for Excellence in Scientific Research in 2018, is a Senior Fulbright Fellow, and received 34 other professional awards and honors in recognition of her work.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Rizana has been actively involved in ESA since 2001 and presented her research at the branch, national, and international ESA meetings. In the past 21 years, she has volunteered at ESA meetings in many methods and organized several member and program symposia.  She served as the graduate student competition judge and session moderator over the years and served as the subject editor for stored product entomology for the Journal of Economic Entomology.  She served on the Regional Committee on Meeting Locations and Meeting Times, SEB-ESA (2011-2013), Program Committee and Local Arrangement Committee for SEB-ESA (2013-2014; Greenville, SC), Publication Committee and Organizing Committee for Joint ESA-ICE (2016, Orlando, FL), Secretary (2010-2013) and President of SC Entomological Society (2015-2016) and serving on the ESA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee since 2021.

Candidate statement:I have gained valuable experience over the years and my career has diverged into different paths. My purpose now is to give back to the society that played a significant role in my metamorphosis.  I would be honored to continue to work with the entomology community.  I aspire to promote diversity and inclusion in membership for equitable participation among all members, to recognize the needs of branch membership and communicate those to the executive committee, promote opportunities for members to have adequate resources to share and connect, and I will continue to develop relationships with other branch members and learn from their efforts to strengthen our own.  If elected, I believe that I can provide the continuity needed as the liaison between the Branch membership and Executive Committee in critical decision-making.

Carey Minteer
University of Florida

Bio: Dr. Carey Minteer received her PhD in Entomology in 2012 from the University of Arkansas. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Florida Indian River Research and Education Center. Dr. Minteer leads research on classical biological control of invasive plants at the UF Hayslip Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida where she specializes in invasion ecology and the biological control of some of the most damaging invasive plant species in the Southeastern United States. Dr. Minteer has particular interests in investigating the potential indirect effects of biological control, integrating classical biological control with other weed management techniques, and educating the public about invasive species.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Minteer has been an active member of the Entomological Society of America since 2009. During her time with ESA, she has served as a member and Chair of the SEB Student affairs committee (SAC) and as a member and Chair of the national SAC. She also just finished her term as Chair of the ESA Leadership Development Committee. Dr. Minteer also served on the SEB Member Awards Committee from 2018-2020 and is currently serving as an Associate Editor for Environmental Entomology. Dr. Minteer is active with other professional societies and is currently serving as a board member of the Florida Invasive Species Council and as secretary of the Florida Entomological Society.

Candidate statement:I have been very active with ESA at both the branch and national levels. I find volunteer service with ESA to be both personally and professionally rewarding. During my time in the Society, I have focused my leadership efforts on providing programs and opportunities to enhance the membership experience. These efforts include providing networking opportunities for students and developing programs that help promote and develop future leaders in the Society. I am a fierce supporter of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and always strive to be mindful of the breadth of diversity of our membership when making decisions. If selected, I would continue to ensure that voices from all facets of our membership are considered. I look forward to the opportunity of serving as Member-at-Large for the Southeastern Branch.

Matthew VanWeelden
University of Florida 

Bio: Dr. Matthew VanWeelden is the agronomic crops extension agent for UF/IFAS Extension. He received his B.S. and M.S. in entomology at Purdue University, and his Ph.D. in entomology at Louisiana State University. Dr. VanWeelden’s extension and applied research programs focus on arthropod pests of sugarcane, rice, and sod in the Everglades Agricultural Area. He has authored or co-authored 22 refereed journal articles, over 30 extension publications, and 46 abstracts at professional meetings. His recent programs focus on monitoring invasive insects including Eoreuma loftini in sugarcane and Oebalus insularis in rice.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Matthew VanWeelden has been an active member of the Entomological Society of America for 13 years, including membership in the North Central Branch for 2 years and Southeastern Branch for 11 years. He was a member of the Student Affairs Committee for the Southeastern Branch from 2011-2014, and was the committee chair in 2012. In 2017 and 2018, Dr. VanWeelden organized extension entomology symposiums at the annual ESA/ESC/ESBC meetings in Denver, CO and Vancouver, BC, respectively. He continues to serve as an active member of the Plant-Insect Ecosystems (P-IE) Section.

Candidate statement:My interest in serving in this position is to promote the interests of the Southeastern Branch membership to the Executive Committee, in order to allow the Entomological Society of America to better represent entomologists across our nation. I will continue to highlight the ideas and concerns of minority groups within the Entomological Society of America, with the goal of creating a more inclusive and unbiased environment for entomologists of all backgrounds. In addition, I plan to use my expertise in extension education to provide new opportunities for teaching/outreach programs which will further diversify our membership and highlight new education methodology.

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