Featured Entomology graduate student Courtney Larson

Interview with featured Entomology graduate student Courtney Larson


Name: Courtney Larson

Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota

Major professor: Eric Benbow

What are you researching? I am interested in the effect of outside sources of organic matter on headwater stream communities of macroinvertebrates and microbes. I’m particularly interested in the effect of the emerald ash borer invasion and subsequent ash tree death on the stream community.

Future study or career plans: After earning my PhD, my goal is to work in academia doing research and teaching in aquatic entomology and invasive species ecology. This will ultimately further the science of aquatic ecology and benefit society by giving insight on better protection of aquatic resources.

Why study entomology? Insects are very diverse and interesting. They're extremely abundant, yet so much is unknown about them. A lot of discoveries are waiting to be made in the field of entomology!

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I grew up taking trips with my family to our cabin in northern Minnesota. The opportunity to explore the lakes and streams with a net in one hand and a field guide in the other inspired me to continue to study these systems.

What has been your best experience with entomology? The relationships I've built with other entomologists. The innovative research that other entomologists are doing, especially at MSU, inspires me to become a better scientist.

What do you wish other people understood about entomology? That entomology really isn't just about bugs. Insects are important in our changing society. They have implications toward sustainability, health, globalization, economics and the well-being of our planet. When we study bugs, we are actually studying much, much more.

If you could be an insect, which insect would you be and why? A dragonfly because they are fast and get to live by beautiful lakes and streams.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of Entomology? Enjoying the outdoors, especially at U.S. National Parks. My lifelong goal is to visit every national park in the United States. 

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