Featured Entomology undergraduate student Elisabeth Darling
From chasing butterflies as a little kid to attending one of the most well-known entomology conferences, Elisabeth Darling has had quite the entomological journey.
Name: Elisabeth Darling
Hometown: Palos Verdes, California
Future study or career plans: I would love to get my masters in entomology and ultimately get a career helping agriculture feed the world.
What is the best selling point about an entomology major that you would like others to know? Pursuing entomology is such an underrated study. There are so many amazing career paths in agriculture, medicine, forestry and more to specialize in. Plus, most of the higher-level entomology classes are fairly small, which allows you to get to know your professors.
What or who inspired your interest in entomology? As a little kid I always loved chasing butterflies and bees. In my sophomore year of high school, this love came back to me when I did a small afterschool research project on the feeding habits of the praying mantis. When I went to present my research, one of the attendees came over to tell me that I should study bugs in college. I had no idea what I wanted to study at that point, but I needed to find out more, which lead me to discover MSU’s Entomology Department!
What has been your best experience with entomology? I have had so many! My first laboratory job was working for the Edward Walker Lab for Michael Kaufman, which helped me culture my basic lab skills as well as experience rearing mosquito colonies. This summer I interned for a hop company called Yakima Chief Ranches where I got to experience real agriculture. Now I work for Marisol Quintanilla in the Applied Nematology Lab. I am new to nematology but am having so much fun learning new skills and meeting more wonderful people!
What is your favorite activity/way to spend your time outside of your studies? I love spending time with my dog Nilla. She’s a two-year-old beagle mix and loves going to the dog park to meet friends.
What is your favorite insect? Forcipomyia squamipennis, a biting midge that pollinates the cocoa flower. Without these little guys, chocolate would be a lot harder to come across!
What is your favorite thing about MSU? I love MSU in the fall. Where I grew up we did not get much change in the seasons, so looking out and seeing the beautiful changing leaves makes me really happy.
Do you have advice for anyone interested in an entomology major? Get involved early! There are so many great opportunities MSU Entomology has to offer undergrads. This upcoming November I am lucky enough to be able to attend the Entomological Society of America's annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Entomology majors and minors are encouraged to apply for funding to help out with associated costs, which made attending this meeting a possibility for me. It is a wonderful opportunity to network with other Entomology professionals and learn about cool research going on across the country.
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