Featured entomology graduate student Danielle Kirkpatrick

Learn more about graduate student Danielle Kirkpatrick

Name: Danielle Kirkpatrick

Hometown: Grass Lake, Michigan

Previous education: Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, Western Michigan University, and Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Michigan State University

Major professor: Larry Gut

What are you researching? My project is looking at behavior and biology of an invasive fly, spotted wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), with a goal of improving monitoring tools, such as trapping in Michigan fruit crops.

Future career plans: I intend to pursue a career in research and extension. I would like to continue researching pest insects and communicate what we learn to growers to improve integrated pest management (IPM) programs.

Why study entomology? Insects are everywhere and can live in just about any situation or climate. By studying insects, we can learn through research about beneficial insects such as pollinators, and about pest insects such as those that attack crops and livestock. We can use this knowledge to understand how insects impact the environment and implement control measures.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I worked in the lab as an undergraduate summer research assistant with Chris Adams and Pete McGhee, who were both doing research for their PhDs. While working on their projects, I did a lot of work out in the field in apple orchards with a pest of apples, and I experienced firsthand how our work impacts growers in a positive way. That experience, along with the influence of Chris and Pete, inspired my interest in entomology and graduate school here at MSU.

What is your favorite activity or responsibility as part of your graduate studies? My favorite part of being a graduate student is doing fieldwork and research. I love setting up experiments out in the field early in the season when the weather starts warming up, and I love collecting and analyzing the data we get from the experiments to see what it will tell us so that we can apply it in a practical way that will help growers protect their crops from pest insects.

What is your favorite way to spend time outside of your studies? I run, work out and stay active. I enjoy running obstacle course races like the Tough Mudder and Spartan races, half-marathons, and I am training for my first marathon that I will run in January at Walt Disney World.

 Read about our past featured students in the Featured Students section.

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