Entomology undergrad shares love of bugs with peers and public through leadership

Brenna Jeffs talks about her service as Bug Club president, educating the public as a Bug House volunteer, and how she came to love entomology.

Brenna Jeffs

Name: Brenna Jeffs

Hometown: Bath, Michigan

Future study or career plans: I’d like to get a master’s in entomology, and maybe include a specialization in ecology, evolution and behavior. Ultimately, my goal is to do some sort of community education and outreach about the importance of insects.

Tell us a little bit more about Bug Club and serving as president.

Bug Club is an undergraduate student organization for people who have an interest in arthropods or entomology. For the most part it’s students in the Department of Entomology, but anyone is welcome. As president, I was in charge of making sure we were registered with MSU Student Life, communicating with our advisor Amanda Lorenz, helping the other board members to plan meetings and making sure those meetings happened. I really enjoyed being able to hold a space for the members to interact with each other and share their interest in bugs.

What’s your favorite part about working in the Bug House?

At the Bug House, some people come in feeling very hesitant about the creatures we have and aren’t sure they want anything to do with them. I absolutely love when I can talk to them about the bugs and see them start to relax, and eventually agree to hold a cockroach or tarantula. It’s amazing to be able to have that sort of impact on people.

What is the best-selling point about an entomology major that you would like others to know?

It’s a really big field and there are a ton of different things you can do with it. You can explore and really follow your interests. You’ll also always be learning because there’s just so many insects that it seems impossible to know everything.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology?

I’ve always loved animals and knew I wanted to study biology. I didn’t really consider entomology until I was already in college, but once I found the Department of Entomology, I knew it was the best place for me.

What has been your best experience with entomology?

In the Department: My favorite thing has been working at the Bug House.

Ever: Growing up, my parents and I always spent a couple weeks in June at the family cottage. One year on the day before we were supposed to come home, we were gathering up our swim gear and my mom found a monarch caterpillar on my dad’s snorkeling mask. She moved it and brought the mask to the house. The next day when we went to load it in the car, we found the caterpillar had made its way back to the mask and made its chrysalis. We couldn’t leave it behind but didn’t know how to remove the chrysalis without damaging it, so we brought it home. We watched and waited for the butterfly to emerge and then released it into our backyard. It was so much fun and I learned a lot about monarchs and metamorphosis.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of your studies?

I’m always down for a nap. I also really love playing video games, although I’m not very good at them.

What is your favorite insect and why?

It is impossible to pick a favorite because there are so many! Generally, I like saturniid moths.

What is your favorite thing about MSU?

The campus is beautiful! My favorite place is probably the MSU Horticultural and 4-H Children's gardens.

Do you have advice for anyone interested in an entomology major?

The Department of Entomology is friendly—come talk to us! Learning the major insect orders before taking any entomology class is useful as well.

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