Featured Entomology graduate student Amanda Lorenz-Reaves

Interview with Amanda Lorenz-Reaves, featured Entomology graduate student.

Name: Amanda Lorenz-Reaves

Hometown or state or country: Plymouth, Michigan

Major professors: Gabe Ording and Julie Libarkin

What are you researching? My research investigates people’s attitudes and knowledge of insects so we can improve how we teach entomology.

Future career plans: I would like to teach and do outreach in entomology. I’d also like to continue my research investigating people’s ideas about insects.

Why study entomology?

I am absolutely fascinated by insects. They are beautiful and we can learn so much from them. They are truly amazing creatures and are tremendously important ecologically as well as economically. One aspect that drew me to entomology is it is an extremely versatile field – there is no end to what you can study or where it can take you.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? As an undergrad I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Rich Merritt’s aquatic entomology laboratory. Dr. Merritt’s lab was my first exposure to entomology. I think what really caught me was seeing insects up close under a microscope. The tiny hairs, spines, brushes and other morphological structures of insects are truly breathtaking in terms of beauty and functionality. Also, Dr. Merritt and his grad students were super fun to work with, so I think that helped encourage my interest.

What has been your best experience with entomology? My favorite experiences with entomology have been teaching because I get to convey my enthusiasm about insects, and I love showing people how interesting they are and seeing them get excited in turn! I also enjoy being outside and looking for insects in their natural environment.

What do you wish other people understood about entomology? Insects aren’t terrible, evil or gross. They are just animals, doing what they have evolved to do.

Was there ever a time when you didn’t like insects? When I was a small child I remember getting a large bee stuck in my hair, and when I tried to pull it out, it stung me in the palm of my hand. After that I spent the next few years very much not liking insects.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of your studies? Spending time with my husband and stepson, cooking and playing with our three dogs.

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