Featured Entomology undergrad student Ian Paulsen

Ian Paulsen tells us why he added a minor in entomology to his double major—and why others should as well—and how it has opened the door to many opportunities, as well as become one of the greatest decisions ever made in his life.

Ian Paulsen

Name: Ian Paulsen

Hometown: Athens, Michigan

Future study or career plans: Helping implement bio-pest management techniques in developing nations.

What is your major? Double major in Psychology and Political Science-Prelaw

Why add a minor in entomology to your major? It was something I found interesting enough that I didn't want to continue forward with the rest of my life without obtaining further knowledge on the subject.

Tell us a little about volunteering at the MSU Bug House and how studying Entomology helped you in that role: I've been working with the Bug House for nearly four years now, and there hasn't been a time where I didn't learn something new and exciting, from the hive mind of a bee colony to seeing baby scorpions that were only hours old. The excitement of learning something new is a very addictive feeling, and I take that same approach to my classes and this provides me with much more enthusiasm, energy and the ability to retain information.

Describe your involvement working in an entomology research. I was part of an exciting project in the summer of 2015, right after my freshman year. I was working in Zsofia Szendrei’s lab with graduate student Adam Ingrao as a research assistant looking towards bio-pest management for asparagus crop. It was really exciting because we were the first people ever, and the only lab in the entire world, that was looking into this particular topic. Essentially, anything and everything we found was an actual new scientific discovery for the world, and that was a great experience to have.

What has been the most challenging aspect of adding an entomology minor to your degree? The prerequisite courses required for some of the actual entomology classes.

Do you have advice for anyone interested in an entomology minor?  Go ahead and do it. It is easily one of the greatest decision I have ever made in my life, as the opportunities I've obtained since are astounding.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? Amanda Lorenz-Reaves and Ryan Kimbirauskas. Ryan was my lecture professor and Amanda was my lab instructor for an ISB course I took as a freshman, and all I can say is that the spirit and passion they had for the subject is what initially got me so interested in the subject and it was only good things from there.

What has been your best experience with entomology? Working with the Bug House, hands down. My schedule is so full now, so my appearance there is very limited, but each and every time it was such a rewarding experience. To see the fear leave the eyes of a child as they develop an understanding is something that can't be replicated.

What is your favorite activity/way to spend your time outside of your studies? I work three different jobs, so my free time is very limited. The free time that I do get, I try and spend every possible moment with my girlfriend who is the love of my life.

What is your favorite insect? My favorite insect would be a dragonfly, but that may be subject to change as I continue to obtain more knowledge.

What is your favorite thing about MSU? The opportunities it has provided. I would not be where I am today if it were not for the people I have met and the things I have done while being here.

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