Entomology doctoral student blends interests to pursue career as a climate change scientist and outreach educator

In addition to researching climate change and plant communities, Ph.D. student Elizeth Cinto Mejía enjoys outreach and science education with K-12 students, teachers and other educators she admires.

Elizeth Cinto Mejía, Ph.D. student

With graduate student education and postdoctoral experiences high priorities, the Department of Entomology, excels in research, extension and teaching to address the issues that confront society today and into the future. Elizeth Cinto Mejía has experienced this first-hand as a Michigan State University graduate student pursuing a dual Ph.D. in entomology and within the College of Natural Science’s ecology, evolution, and behavior program.

“I have always wanted to do my own research and pursue a career as a scientist,” she said. “I was very excited about all the science departments MSU has, but once I learned all the other activities and programs beyond scientific research, such as outreach opportunities and graduate certificates, I couldn’t wait to be part of MSU.”

“For more than a year, I have worked with K-12 students, teachers and other educators that I really admire.”

Advised by MSU Department of Entomology Assistant Professor Will Wetzel, Cinto Mejía’s research focuses on the effects of anthropogenic impacts, specifically heat waves, on ecosystem interactions. She received an Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (EEB) fellowship for summer 2021 based on her scholarly accomplishments, research potential and engagement in EEB endeavors.

Cinto Mejía is well-published and has written four papers centered on the effects of climate change upon creatures in the environment, especially the effect under extreme climate events. Another paper is focused on the effects of noise pollution on bird distribution and their breeding habits. She has also researched the interaction between climate change and the ability of plants to naturally defend themselves against insect pests and diseases. Cinto Mejía earned a master’s degree in raptor biology from Boise State University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Navarra in Spain.

One of the 2021 CANR Alumni Association Scholarship recipients, Cinto Mejia intends to use this scholarship to purchase a computer to run the climate models and their various effects upon nature. Being awarded this scholarship will also help justify and reward the hard work and dedication she has invested in her education to date. The recognition will strengthen her to continue pushing forward her career and reinforce her strong sense of faith in the future leadership and education of future generations.


 

Name: Elizeth Cinto Mejía

Hometown: Miranda de Ebro, Spain

Degree: Dual Ph.D. in entomology and College of Social Science’s ecology, evolution, and behavior program

Expected graduation date: July 2022

Research focus: Climate change and plant communities

What inspired your interest in your advanced degree area?
I have always wanted to do my own research and pursue a career as a scientist.

Why did you choose to study at MSU?
At first, I was very excited about all the science departments MSU has, but once I learned all the other activities and programs beyond scientific research, such as outreach opportunities and graduate certificates, I couldn’t wait to be part of MSU.

What has been one of your best experiences within graduate school so far?
Other than exploring my scientific interests, doing outreach and science education as part of my program. For more than a year, I have worked with K-12 students, teachers and other educators that I really admire.

What do you want others to know about this program?
MSU and especially CANR have many internal opportunities, including traveling grants, research funds and infrastructure to do research. Find them early, plan when you will need them and win them! These opportunities will help you advance your research, they look great for your next career steps, and serve you as a fantastic way to get feedback on writing.  

What are some of the best things about being an MSU student?
Meeting with other scientists around the world and other experts outside academia.

Any thoughts or advice for current or new students?
Take it easy! Graduate school can be stressful at times, find the people that can help you navigate grad school and use all the fantastic resources at MSU.

What are your future plans?
Focus on finishing my Ph.D. and start a post-doctoral degree as a climate change scientist and outreach educator.

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