Entomology alumnus Scott Shaw recognized with UW lifetime achievement award

Oh, the places you’ll go. Who knew Thing One and Thing Two could lead to success through degrees in entomology?

Scott Shaw
Scott Shaw with his Spartan hat collecting insects in Ecuador. Photo: Nina Zitani

Scott Shaw, a professor of entomology at the University of Wyoming (UW), was recently awarded a lifetime achievement award by the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Shaw reports Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat’s” Thing One and Thing Two triggered his interest in netting insects at the age of 4. That love of collecting insects eventually led him to earn a BS in entomology at Michigan State University followed by an MS and PhD in entomology from the University of Maryland-College Park. He became a curatorial associate of entomology at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology for five years before joining the faculty at UW.

Some of Shaw’s accomplishments noted for the recognition by a UW news article:

  • Discovered and named 190 insect species from 29 countries, including Marshiella lettermani, a Costa Rican insect he named after David Letterman.
  • Mentored 21 graduate students.
  • Established an undergraduate honors tropical ecology class to Yanayacu Biological Station in Ecuador where he has surveyed caterpillars and their associated parasitoid wasps and flies.
  • Published more than 150 scientific publications about insects.
  • Published “Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects” in 2014, which tells of the dominant insect species and how they shaped life on Earth. The publication has been translated into Korean, Japanese and Chinese, and an Arabic version is underway.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to Michigan State for offering a BS degree in entomology and I hope you keep doing it,” Shaw wrote recently in an email. “Not many places still do that but it was certainly important to me.”

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