Every year, November is an especially busy month for Nancy, Joe, and I. This is because it is time for the national Entomological Society of America (EntSoc or ESA) meeting, in addition to our other responsibilities. This meeting is a conference were entomologists and other scientists communicate and network with each other through professional presentations, workshops, mixers, student events, professional meetings in various entomological research areas, and more. Since November has been an exceptionally busy time for the three of us, for the past several years, we decided that from now on November will be a time where we post about our events EntSoc, unless something changes in the future.
This year, due to COVID-19, EntSoc is going to be completely virtual. However, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be a busy time to prepare for and participate in. There will be many different livestream events running from November 16-19, however, this year the on-demand content will last until November 25th.
Joe is giving a talk and helping with a TweetUp event. His talk is titled: What can we learn from the last 25 years of insecticide applications from a toxicological perspective? His talk is about figuring out whether farm workers are being harmed less by pesticides, by looking past the amount of pesticides applied. Joe and his collaborators want to figure out the risks using a method which actually works for this, through using the ‘risk quotient’. It turns out that not all the trends are positive, and that carbamates and organophosphates are driving the bad trends. The TweetUp is a way for entomologists who use twitter to meet each other. So many scientists are on twitter, but rarely get a chance to meet face-to-face (virtually this year). This is a way to network and make more meaningful connections. Nancy is involved in a live streamed symposium titled: Insects for Everyone and is doing a talk for Everything: Entomology’s Growing Reach on Tuesday, November 17, 2020. Her talk is titled Finding the bugs: Touring the staples of impactful science communication and what to watch out for while doing it. The talk focuses on the basic fundamentals of science communication (SciComm): the who, what, how and why of a project. These fundamentals should be applied to all SciComm projects and it’s how she built both her tourism business and developed online classes. By looking at both their structures, participants will see how the same principles were applied to build two different types of programs and content.
This year I’m participating in a live workshop on Zoom this Friday (11/13) called the Extension Entomology Share Fair. My topic is about identifying audiences who can benefit from SciComm by using front-end evaluation. It will be interactive by engaging participants in hands-on activities in survey building and discussion.
I’m also competing in student activities: The Entomology Games and ESA Student Debates. The Entomology Games is like a quiz bowl with questions spanning all areas of entomology: taxonomy, physiology, behavior, ecology, entomological history, medical & veterinary entomology, etc. Traditionally, to be able to play in the games at the national EntSoc meeting, your team had to place 1st or 2nd in the branch meeting (EntSoc has 6 branches – one of which is international). The format was moved online because most of the branch meetings were cancelled due to COVID-19. Through the hard work of the Entomology Games committee, the preliminary rounds were able to happen online. My team (Fabian List, Jaclyn Martin, Kenneth Masloski, & I) at Texas A&M University won 1st place for our branch (Southwestern Branch)! Therefore, we will be competing in the games on Monday, November 16th. This year I’m also participating in the Student Debates. My team consists of Morgan Thompson and Kelly Carruthers – Kelly is at the University of Florida and came up with the clever nickname “Aggatories” for our team. Our topic is “what is the best taxonomic approach to identify and classify insects?” and our stance is that molecular techniques are ideal. I haven’t done this event before and we’ve put in a lot of hard work, so I’m quite excited.
To conclude: this has been a short summary of what we’ve been up to and are getting into this month. Combining EntSoc with our daily lives and tasks yields us with little time for other activities. We will resume normal content/posts next month in December.
Less posts this month (and for future Novembers). November is a busy time of the year for us because of the Entomological Society of America conference.