Michael Kalwajtys learns more about the world around him through entomology
Undergraduate student Michael Kalwajtys shares experiences with entomology and how its uniqueness offers endless opportunities to go outside and learn hands-on.
Name: Michael Kalwajtys
Hometown: Elmwood Park, Illinois
Future study or career plans: I want to go to grad school, but beyond that I haven’t decided on anything.
Tell us about the forest entomology work you did with Cook County in Illinois. I worked as a collections assistant for the Cook County Forest Preserve. I got to help with surveys of dragonfly and damselfly species, identify insects, feed and maintain monarch caterpillars, and other fun stuff.
What is the best selling point about an entomology major that you would like others to know? Entomology is a very unique major. There are plenty of opportunities to go outside and learn hands-on. Some insects, like ants or bees, have their own little civilizations that I was never even aware of. I can’t think of many other majors where I could have learned such interesting things about the world around me.
What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I spent a lot of years in Boy Scouts, so I’ve been going on camping trips since I was little. I think spending so much time outside and seeing weird bugs had a big impact on me and made me curious about the world around me.
What has been your best experience with entomology? Last semester, I got a job in the Wetzel Lab. It was a great opportunity to get experience with insect identification, and I got to meet really cool people.
What is your favorite way to spend time outside of your studies? I like to hang out with friends, play video games, listen to music and read.
What is your favorite insect? I think assassin bugs are really cool. Some of them wear the remains of other insects as camouflage while they wait to strike their prey. They really earn the name.
What is your favorite thing about MSU? I love being around such a wide variety of people. I’ve made lots of friends who have different beliefs, cultures and ideas than me. It’s given me a lot of perspective.
Do you have advice for anyone interested in an entomology major? Get a job in a lab as soon as you can. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll get hands-on experience that you won’t always get in a classroom.
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