Featured entomology undergraduate student Joseph Lonchar
Learn about what inspired Joseph Lonchar to pursue an undergraduate degree in entomology, as well as his experiences working with the MSU Bug House, his two-cents on face mites, and advice he gives to others interested in studying entomology.
Name: Joseph Lonchar
Hometown: Stockbridge, MI
Future study or career plans: Pursue a master’s degree in entomology, undecided as to what specific research I would cover.
What is the best selling point about an entomology major that you would like others to know? An entomology major can be an end in itself or a field that compliments another area of study like plant breeding or epidemiology.
What or who inspired your interest in entomology? Well-known biologist E.O. Wilson and retired Army medical entomologist Harold Harlan. I find Wilson interesting due to relating his studies onto other animals, including humans, and his other ideas stemming from his examination of behavior and biology. Harlan is known for his work with bed bugs, and I appreciate his dedication to studying and maintaining an insect that was largely unknown to many and disregarded as an important pest to humans.
What has been your best experience with entomology? I volunteer with the Bug House and I assist visitors with questions or handling the live specimens. My best experiences are seeing individuals, who at first proclaim a strong aversion to insects or the tarantulas, muster the courage to face their fear, if not overcome it, and handle one of our specimens. I find helping those individuals to do something so personally challenging very rewarding.
What is your favorite insect? There are far too many insects to pick just one! Instead, I would like to add two more legs so that I can point out there is such a thing as “face mites.” They live, breed and die in our hair follicles, like eyebrows and eyelashes! Isn’t that splendid? Don’t believe me? Look up the genus “Demodex” on Wikipedia. Sleep tight!
Do you have advice for anyone interested in an entomology major? Get in touch with someone and ask questions. Talking with the advisors (Chris DiFonzo or Walter Pett) is a great first step. It is also a great idea to speak with any of the entomology professors or students. If for some reason one cannot do that, consider signing up for an introductory entomology class, which could easily fill an elective and get a taste of what more could come from pursuing an entomology major.
To read about past featured students, visit our Featured Students section.