Fischer and Belsky Earn Awards From Entomological Society of America

Hillary Fischer (left) is a doctoral student, and Joey Belsky a master's degree student, both in entomology.
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Hillary Fischer (left) is a doctoral student, and Joey Belsky a master's degree student, both in entomology.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Hillary Fischer and Joey Belsky, both entomology graduate students in the U of A's Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, have received awards from the Entomological Society of America.

Fischer, a doctoral student, has been selected for a graduate student travel award as winner of ESA's Lillian and Alex Feir Graduate Student Travel Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry or Molecular Biology.

Belsky, a master's degree student, earned a $1,000 scholarship from ESA's Plant-Insect Ecosystems section to participate in the 2018 "Science Policy Pollinator Field Tour: Collaborative Approaches for Pollinator Protection and Productive Agriculture." 

Fischer works under the direction of Department of Entomology professor Fiona Goggin. The purpose of her award is to encourage graduate students working with insects or other arthropods in those areas to affiliate with ESA's Integrative Physiological and Molecular Insect Systems Section and to attend ESA's annual meeting.

Fischer's dissertation research focuses on the role of primary metabolism in plants for defense against aphids. She investigates how singlet oxygen, a reactive oxygen species produced during photosynthesis, can serve as a signaling molecule for plant defense. Singlet oxygen has been overlooked in plant defense to herbivores due to a short half-life, making it difficult to study. Her research will improve techniques to more accurately and efficiently study singlet oxygen and explain its role in signaling for aphid resistance.

Over the last two years, Fischer was honorable mention for the National Science Foundation's Graduate Student Fellowship and was supporting author on three peer-reviewed publications. She was president of the Arkansas Entomological Society from 2016 until last spring. She has also served as president of the Isely-Baerg Entomology Club.

After earning her doctorate, she plans to continue in research focusing on the molecular aspects of host-plant resistance.

Belsky participated in the Science Policy Pollinator Field Tour in North Dakota in August. As a scholarship recipient, he has been invited to present his research at the P-IE Student Symposium (Pollinator and Invasive Species Science Policy Field Tours: A Melting Pot of Efforts Promoting Protection of our Food Supply) during the 2018 ESA, ESC and ESBC Joint Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, in November.

Belsky works under the direction of assistant professor Neeleandra Joshi. His current research focuses on ecotoxicology of pesticides used for agricultural pest management. In particular, he is examining the toxicity of formulated pesticide chemistries on major species of pollinators.

During this summer, Belsky received a travel grant from the regional chapter of Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry to present his research. Belsky earned President's Prize second-place honors for his research presentation in the Physiology, Biochemistry, Toxicology-Hymenoptera section at last year's ESA annual meeting. He has been a recipient of the Charles G. Lincoln Fellowship (U of A, entomology). He currently serves as the vice president of the Arkansas Entomology Society and is treasurer of the Isely-Baerg Entomology Club.

During this summer, Belsky received a travel grant from the regional chapter of Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry to present his research. Belsky won President's Prize 2nd Place for his research presentation in Physiology, Biochemistry, Toxicology-Hymenoptera section during the last year ESA annual meeting. He has been a recipient of the Charles G. Lincoln Fellowship (University of Arkansas- Entomology). He currently serves as the Vice President of Arkansas Entomology Society, and Treasurer of Isely-Baerg Graduate Student Entomology Club.

ESA is the largest organization in the world serving professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA includes almost 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, pest management professionals and hobbyists.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
479-575-4625, robbye@uark.edu

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