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UT Tyler Students Take Top Awards at Annual Entomology Meeting

March 23, 2012

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

Four students at The University of Texas at Tyler were recognized for their outstanding research during the 2012 Entomological Society of America Meeting in Little Rock, Ark., Dr. Srini Kambhampati, Department of Biology chair, announced. 

Junior biology major Juan Macias of Tyler received the 2012 inaugural Percival Scientific Undergraduate Student Activity Award in the amount of $250. Macias, a UT Tyler Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation fellow, has studied the rapid biotype differentiation of the potato psyllid Bactericera cockerilli. His memberships include ESA, American Chemical Society, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Eta Sigma Phi Latin Honor Society, Biologists of UT Tyler and the UT Tyler Math Club.

Junior biology major Chris Powell of Fort Worth received the 2012 Undergraduate Student Achievement in Entomology Award. He was involved in molecular toxicology, working on a project involving vector mosquitoes. His current research focuses on the red imported fire ant and naturally occurring virus as a potential control agent. Powell plans to pursue a master of science degree in entomology.

Senior biology major Cassie Skipper of Lindale and Macias placed first and third, respectively, in oral presentations, while sophomore biology and math double major Jessica Woodruff of Tyler also received second place for her poster presentation. Woodruff, a UT Tyler honors student and Noyes Scholar, is involved in the UTeach Program.

Dr. Blake Bextine, associate professor biology, serves as student adviser.

Other student researchers under Bextine’s supervision who presented were junior biology major Justin Hazlerig of Overton, senior biology major Janet Arras of Longview and graduate biology students Adam Booth of Longview, Alex Arp of Ohio and Anna Biesbrock of Calif.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.