Emily Bick's AAUW Grant: Targeting the Lygus Bug

Watch out, lygus bugs!

Agricultural entomologist Emily Bick is targeting you.

Lygus hesperus, a serious pest of strawberries--as well as cotton, and seed crops such as alfalfa--causes an estimated $40 million in annual losses to California's strawberry industry.

Bick, who received her doctorate in entomology last year from UC Davis and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen, is a newly selected recipient of an American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Publishing Grant and her subject is the lygus bug immigration and aggregation in California strawberries.

The $6000 grant is designed to support women over a two-month period in the summer as they prepare a solo-authored manuscript.

Bick's application focused on her scientific modeling work that originated from her Ph.D. program. Her application detailed the academic women who supported her career, including one of her mentors, Cornell University entomology professor Laura Harrington. Additionally, women students she mentored while at UC Davis provided letters of support.

“Prior to receiving this good news, my fiancé, Nora Forbes, and I decided to get married in the historic home of the AAUW in St. Paul, Minn.,” Bick said. “We are both aware of AAUW's legacy of supporting women in their academic pursuits since 1881 and wanted to celebrate in a location in line with their pioneering vision.” Forbes is a statistician at the Danish Medtronic office.

Earlier this year, Bick received a $23,000 fellowship from the American Scandinavian Foundation for her proposal, "Designing Pest-Resilient Apple Orchards Using Bespoke Models." The project will start immediately following the AAUW grant.

As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen, the UC Davis alumnus is a member of Professor Lene Sigsgaard's research team. She received a $244,000 postdoctoral grant from the Danish Innovations Fund to estimate insect population dynamics in relation to FaunaPhotonics's LIDAR insect sensor. LIDAR stands for light detection and ranging.

Emily's entomological journey began at Cornell University, where she received her bachelor's degree in entomology in 2013. She then received two degrees in entomology from UC Davis: her master's degree in 2017 and her doctorate in 2019.

Bick, who specializes in integrated pest management, helped anchor the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's Linnaean Games Team that won the national championship at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting in 2016, and the University of California (UC Davis and UC Berkeley) Linnaean Games Team that won the national championship in 2018. The Linnaean Games, launched in 1983, are lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competitions on entomological facts and played by winners of the ESA branch competitions. The teams score points by correctly answering random questions. (Watch the championship game on YouTube).

While at UC Davis, Bick served as vice president of the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA). ESA honored her as a Board-Certified Entomologist in 2014, and the Student Certification Award in 2018. She served as an emergency medical technician from 2008 to 2017.