Entomology Graduate Students Receive Top Awards for Research, Teaching and Service
Alison Bockoven. Photo by Rob Williams
Meaghan Pimsler standing with her certificate
in the FLIES Lab. Photo by Rob Williams
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Department of Entomology celebrated the achievements of two outstanding doctoral students as they received the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Student Award.
Meaghan Pimsler and Alison Bockoven were honored and recognized during the special Graduate Student Recognition Seminar on February 21.
Meaghan received her Bachelor of Science in Entomology at Cornell in May of 2007. Before coming to Texas A&M, she worked as a research associate in the Department of Entomology at Cornell and was an assistant language teacher at a school in Okinawa, Japan as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programm for three years.
Tarone and Tomberlin said she is a very hard worker and has already published several papers in recognized journals including an article in a Nature Group publication, ISMEJ, written several manuscripts, and participated in other projects that are currently in review.
Meaghan has completed several challenging courses in addition to her doctoral work and other research projects, including genomics and another statistics course, as well as achieving the Forensic Technician Certification from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension’s Forensic Science Academy in January 2012, Tarone said.
“She has never complained about taking extra courses while pursuing these various forms of knowledge and has always found a way to charge ahead with research while taking coursework,” he said.
Meaghan was instrumental in helping Tarone and Tomberlin with planning and organizing the North American Forensic Entomology Association meeting in College Station and this year’s Ecological Integration Symposium that will be held this March. In addition to organizations, she also has been a member of the department’s Linnaean Games Team.
“Meaghan is an intensely focused individual, who, after graduation, will make an outstanding researcher representing Texas A&M,” said Dr. Tawny Crippen of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service.
Alison Bockoven is advised by Dr. Micky Eubanks. Her research focuses on the extent, mechanisms and consequences of genetic variation in foraging traits in the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta).
Alison has been a teaching assistant in the General Entomology (ENTO 201) class for two semesters and is very involved in several activities in the Department, including serving as an officer in the Entomology Graduate Student Organization, helping with outreach activities at local schools, and manning booths at national meetings.
“The students loved Alison's engaging teaching style, her incredible depth of knowledge, and her ability to explain complex subject material,” Eubanks said. “Alison is one of those teachers that really connects with students, challenges them to really dig deep and learn the material, and ultimately changes their lives for the better.”
Dr. Craig Coates also was impressed with Alison’s professionalism and work ethic.
“In addition to her academic qualities and work ethic, Alison is a pleasure to interact with and she has integrated well with a diverse group of graduate and undergraduate researchers in my laboratory,” he said. “She is very well organized, dependable and is a model Ph.D. graduate student. She has my upmost respect and support for this award.”
Alison received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Texas A&M University in 2008 and her Master of Science in Zoology from Southern Illinois in 2009. She has received numerous awards during her college career, including the Texas A&M President’s Endowed Scholarship and Director’s Excellence Award, as well as being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and receiving the U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship award in 2012.