High Honor for Emily Bick: ESA Student Certification Award

It's a high honor.

Doctoral candidate Emily Bick of the Christian Nansen lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is the newly announced recipient of the Entomological Society of America's 2018 student certification award, which recognizes outstanding entomology students interested in the mission of the ESA certification program.

Bick is one of 19 recipients of this year's ESA's Professional and Student Awards, which recognize scientists, educators, and students who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to entomology.

The UC Davis entomologist and the other awardees will be honored at “Entomology 2018,” the joint meeting of the entomological societies of America, Canada and British Columbia, to take place Nov. 11-14 in Vancouver, B.C.

What does the does the student certification award entail? “Post college, I sat for and passed the ESA Board Certified Entomologist exam," she said. "Then, this past summer, I was flown to Denver, Co., by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to sit for the Medical Entomology Specialty Exam. At that time, I sat for an additional exam--Plant-Related Entomology Specialty. The Student Certification Award is given to a student who is a Board-Certified Entomologist who has written an essay about the importance of the Board Certification process."

Bick focuses her career on leveraging entomological knowledge to best serve people. Her career includes working in industry to develop practical solutions for invasion biology of urban forests. For her master's degree, she researched an invasive aquatic weed, the water hyacinth, and its insect biological control agent, Neochetina bruchi.

For her doctorate, she is behaviorally manipulating a pesticide-resistant insect (Lygus spp.) away from high-value horticultural crops using a push-pull strategy. “I use simulation models of ecosystems to optimize integrated pest management strategies, a technique I learned while on an American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship working with Dr. Niels Holst out of Aarhus University in Denmark,” she said.

A native of New York City, Bick received her bachelor's degree in entomology from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and her master's degree in entomology from UC Davis. She is a Board-Certified Entomologist, specializing in medical and plant entomology.

Bick credits a high school research program with inspiring her to study entomology. “I was in a high school science research program and chose to work on an insect repellent because I did not like mosquitoes,” Bick said. “Four years later, I was majoring in entomology at Cornell.”

The UC Davis doctoral student was a member of the 2016 UC Davis Linnaean Games Team that won the ESA national championship for expertise in answering questions about insects and entomologists. Now she and her team members have an opportunity to win another national championship: with the UC Berkeley-UC Davis team. The team, captained by Ralph Washington Jr., a graduate student at UC Berkeley and a former graduate student at UC Davis, also includes Brendon Boudinot, Zachary Griebenow and Jill Oberski, all of the Phil Ward lab. Boudinot was also a member of the 2016 national award-winning team.

Bick recently drew praise for her review of the San Francisco Playhouse production, "An Entomologist's Love Story," published in the ESA blog, Entomology Today.

The 7000-member ESA, founded in 1889 and headquartered in Annapolis, Md., is the world's largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Its members are affiliated educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government.