December 2019: As chair of the Professional Development committee, I was excited that a department-wide survey demonstrated strong demand for justice and equity-focused workshops & discussion groups. Adapting materials generously made available by Ash Zemenick and the folks at Project Biodiversify (https://projectbiodiversify.org/), our fantastic committee put on a 2-hour workshop titled “Inclusive and Accurate Approaches for Teaching Sex and Gender in Biology.”
October 2019: I was featured on the PolliNation Podcast! It was great fun to listen back to my conversation with Andony Melathopolous, which we had in person during the Pollinators Conference hosted earlier this summer at UC Davis. http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/pollinationpodcast/2019/10/06/113-kass-urban-mead-bees-in-trees/
July 2019: It was a thrill to attend the 2019 International Pollinator Conference in Davis, CA with this Cornell contingent.
Thank you to Julia Brokaw & Maureen Page for co-organizing the “Science & Social Justice” intersections posters and discussions throughout the conference. Thank you also to the many scientists who shared their thoughts and perspectives on how we can push this crucial conversation. See some of the thoughts that scientists and policy makers contributed on the sticky notes below!
May 2019: I visited with Autumn Stoscheck & Ezra Sherman at their cidery, one of my research sites in Van Etten, NY. https://www.evescidery.com/pollination/
March 2019: A highlight of my year was being invited to present at the Forest Landowner’s Conference run by the Center for Private Forests at State College PA. I like to cause a fuss by asking folks to think with me about how managed bees are are livestock—and just as you wouldn’t keep chickens in order to “save the birds,” so too keeping honey bees won’t help you “save the bees!” Then we dive into a discussion of the myriad ways forest habitats are crucial for bee populations. I was particularly invigorated by conversations with policies for forest management for wildlife, where policies already in place for bird conservation dovetail nicely with measures that could support bee populations in forests.
March 2019: Diversity Preview Weekend again brought 40 students from underrepresented and historically marginalized backgrounds to Ithaca for a weekend of demystifying the graduate school application process, discussions of student life, and lots of workshops on CVs, grants, and other important steps for lowering barriers to graduate school. Entomology department co-chairs Radhika Ravikumar and Rey Cotto Rivera put in an enormous amount of effort to keep everything running smoothly this year.
January 2019: It was exciting to be a part of the data analysis team on Heather Grab’s collaborative project and ultimately co-author on her Science paper, which got a lot of coverage in the Cornell community and beyond. https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2019/01/natural-habitats-bee-diversity-key-better-apple-production
Nov. 2018: Thank you to Jim Rivers and Sara Galbraith for inviting me as a speaker in the member symposium “The Value of Forests to Insect Pollinators” at the Entomology Society of America annual meeting in Vancouver!
November 2018: Professor Marina Caillaud invited me to give a guest lecture in her Honey Bee Biology Course on bee biology and pesticides! I began by sharing a personal story from an orchard where I used to work, when the farm manager realized an entire multi-acre block of peaches could only be saved by using a pesticide that is extremely toxic to bees, and asked the students to consider the day to day constraints of applicators’ spray decisions. Then, we delved into recent science of lethal and nonlethal pesticide effects, fungicide and insectide synergies, and strategies for mitigating pesticide exposure. Thanks for having me, Marina!
Oct 2018: I passed my A exam, and am now a PhD candidate! Thank you to my committee, Bryan Danforth, Katja Poveda, and Scott McArt, and to the whole pollinator community and my supportive lab groups here at Cornell. Onwards and upwards towards that Bee-hD! 🙂
August 2018: The Bee Course! What a week! https://www.thebeecourse.org/
Pictured above from L-R: Nick Dorian, Erin Krichilsky, me, Angela Laws, with Bryan Danforth and Jerry Rozen behind. We were tired at the end of a long, hot nest-dig with Jerry Rozen himself, and this spontaneous morning natural history enthusiasm became one of the first descriptions of Caupolicana nest architecture! Check out our publication here: http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/handle/2246/6951
May 2018: Inspired by the Dialictus course, I organized one of our very own here at Cornell! Joel Gardiner, Jason Gibbs’ graduate student, ran a mini-course with a group of 10 enthusiastic bee identifiers here in Comstock Hall in Ithaca, NY.
January 2018: The Dialictus Identification Course with Jason Gibbs at the University of Minnesota. There’s nothing like an enthusiastic group of aspiring taxonomists and the in-person instructions of the dichotomous key’s author to make wading through these small metallic Lasioglossum…positively enjoyable!
March 2018: For the first time, the Entomology Department joined with the Ecology & Plant Sciences Department to host Cornell’s Diversity Preview Weekend, an intensive 4-day event that pays for 40 students of historically underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds to attend a mock-interview weekend and fully demystify the graduate school experience and the application process. As this year’s Diversity Preview Weekend Entomology co-chair alongside John McMullen, I was grateful for the huge team of graduate students who pulled off this event.