Entomology Alumni Profiles
Bethany Harris, MS Entomology 2015, PhD – Horticulture, 2018
Assitant Director of Education, Callaway Gardens
Bethany found the perfect job using both her entomology and horticulture education from UGA. As assistant director of education at Callaway, Harris works out in the field, overseeing the butterfly center and educational gardens, managing more than 200 volunteers and teaching workshops for the public. “My degrees exposed me to working with pollinators and butterflies, so this job is a perfect fit for me,” said Harris. “In addition to the butterfly center, we have an outdoor butterfly garden and my research at UGA centered around native pollinators and butterflies.” Harris said she hopes to reestablish an insect zoo at Callaway Gardens and she’s working with her UGA colleagues in the Department of Entomology to make that a reality. She also plans to establish a honey bee colony at Callaway with the help of a volunteer beekeeper.
Ben Gochnour, MS Entomology, 2017
PhD Student, UGA
I am currently a PhD student in the D. B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. As a member of Dr. Kamal Gandhi’s forest entomology lab, I study bark beetle community responses to disturbances including wind, fire, and lightning. My time in the Department of Entomology at UGA prepared me well for the challenges of a PhD program. I was able to get world class training in insect taxonomy and systematics, collaborate with scientists from around the globe, interact with industry professionals, and participate in a broad range of insect related field work. The department was also very rewarding socially, with graduate and undergraduate students meeting nearly every Friday at a local pub where we had many great conversations about science, philosophy, and life as a student. I have made friendships that will last me a lifetime and I will always look back fondly at the years I was a part of the UGA Department of Entomology.
Linden Pederson, BS Entomology, 2019
MS student, Medical Illustration, Augusta University
Linden is dedicated to helping others appreciate the beauty of insects. She spent hours drawing insects or introducing the public to live insects as part of the University of Georgia Bug Dawgs Insect Zoo, but her senior project dwarfs those efforts. In fact, it’s huge. As her final project, Linden, built a 25x scale model of a female Megalodacne heros beetle. She spent more than 300 hours digitally sculpting each detail of Megalodacne heros in ZBrush 3D modeling software using specimens from the Georgia Museum of Natural History and printing pieces of her beetle on a 3D printer. It then took her an additional 40 hours to assemble, paint and add the finishing touches to the model, which Pederson named “Athena.” For those who want to test their insect ID skills, the model is now on display in a case outside of the entomology department’s administrative offices in the Biological Sciences Building on UGA’s Athens campus. Pederson spent her post-graduation summer in an internship at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and is now pursuing her master’s degree in medical illustration at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia.
Katelyn Cavender, BS Entomology, 2019
I work as a part of the CDC’s Target Malaria team. My job consists of rearing transgenic mosquitoes- feeding larvae, picking pupae, and blood feeding adult females. I get to do a lot of cool genetic analysis through phenotypic studies and genotypic molecular analysis of the strains we keep. I also get to run various experiments on our mosquito strains. My time in UGA’s entomology program prepared for this job in many ways. It taught me how cool insects are, how much important information there is to learn about insect genetics, and provided me with strong mentoring and career guidance from the leading experts in medical entomology and biotechnology. I also learned how to not freak out when I’m sitting in an indoor laboratory and feel the tickle of an insect crawling on me!
Jessie Kalina, MS Entomology 2013
Crop Protection Territory Manager
During my time at UGA, I worked on a project under UGA Entomologist, Dr. Kris Braman partnered with Dr. Jim Hanula with the US Forest Service. The project focus was on biological control of Chinese privet using a native lace bug, Leptoypha mutica. Upon completion of my master’s degree in 2013, I accepted a job with Dow AgroSciences as a sales trainee in southern California partnering with the seasoned rep in the area. In California, I had the opportunity to work the Turf and Ornamental division of the company which involved customers ranging from sports fields superintendents, nursery owners, California DOT and landscapers. As a representative of Dow AgroSciences, my job was to partner with customers to educate and support our products which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. This was mostly accomplished by trainings, implementing resources and plot work showcasing our products. Because of my background in entomology, I also had the opportunity to do some of the pretrial research in poinsettias for a new insecticide that was preparing for launch. After a year, I received my permanent sales territory and packed up my bags again, this time moving to southern Louisiana. This was a significant change as now I was working on the crop protection side of the business covering the state. Most of my time was focused working the rice business where I was able to learn a completely novel crop to me! Other important crops for my portfolio were cotton, soybeans, milo and corn. Recently Dow AgroSciences and DuPont have come together as Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™. With this merger, I had the opportunity to move back closer to home and am now the crop protection territory manager for the western Carolinas and north Georgia, residing in Greenville, SC. I work on over 50 crops ranging from fruits, vegetables, cotton and grain! I am coming on 5 years with my company and have been able to see and do more than many people can in their entire lifetime. I had no idea my UGA entomology degree would take me across the country and back, allowing me to meet incredible people and experience the diversity of agriculture that I have.
Jacob Holloway, MS Entomology, 2014
US Army Environmental Command
After graduation, I was immediately hired as an Entomologist Intern with the U.S. Army Environmental Command (USAEC) and am now going on 6+ years there. I advised pest managers at US Army installations around the world to help them safely manage mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches, termites, spiders, and occasionally stored product pests. Recently, I began drafting environmental management plans and recommendations to make sure that our U.S. Army activities do not pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment and are compliant with environmental regulations. My job has taken me to nearly 30 states, Germany, and the Marshall Islands. My entomology education at UGA helped me prepare for my career by giving me experience in executing multiple research projects at once, collecting and interpreting data, juggling numerous deadlines, and presenting my findings to diverse audiences. My time at UGA was pivotal to not only being hired (the internship was only open to recent graduates in Entomology), but also in giving me the tools to be successful in supporting the U.S. Army’s mission.
Bethany Harris, MS Entomology 2015
Ben Gochnour, MS Entomology 2017
Linden Pederson, BS Entomology 2019
Katelyn Cavender, BS Entomology, 2019
Jessie Kalina, MS Entomology 2013
Jacob Holloway, MS Entomology 2014