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Nancy Power, 2018 Scholarship Recipient

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Nancy Power

2018 Scholarship Recipient

The Harry S. Smith Scholarship Award will enable Nancy to focus on this biological control research and to present her research findings at the Entomological Society of America/Entomological Society of Canada joint meeting in Vancouver in November, 2018.

Upon finishing her Ph.D., she would like to do another stint overseas, this time as a Fulbright scholar or through the federal RIFA program.  After that, she plans to return to California to work with specialty crop growers through industry or the U.C. Cooperative Extension to develop and promote integrated pest management and biological control.

Building on a B.A. degree in Biology from the University of Virginia, Nancy Power earned a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Science with an emphasis on sustainable agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona.  While at Cal Poly, her interest was piqued by a class on biological control, for which she had to find and collect 30 parasitoid species.  The professor, Dr. Lester Young, noted that the U.C. Riverside Entomology Department was famous for its excellent research on biological control.

After Cal Poly, Nancy worked for a local non-governmental organization in the Philippines for a year, assisting small-holding rice farmers to grow rice more sustainably and profitably, to diversify into other crops to complement the rice, and to use the scientific method to test the success of innovations.

Upon returning to California, Nancy taught high school environmental science and biology for several years, including collaborating with her fellow science teachers to create a school vegetable garden.  She had her students design and execute experiments in the garden, based on real life problems such as how to control ground squirrels.   

Thrilled with the opportunity to return to school herself, she returned to the idea planted by Dr. Young of studying biological control at UCR.  Here she is investigating Ooencyrtus sp., a tiny (< 1mm) wasp from Pakistan that is a parasitoid of the eggs of bagrada bug, a species of stink bug (Pentatomidae).  Also called painted bug, Bagrada hilaris first appeared in the U.S. in L.A. County in 2008.  It quickly became a major pest on broccoli and related crops, and spread to other counties and states.  To evaluate the wasp’s potential as a biocontrol agent of bagrada bug, Nancy is exploring the Ooencyrtus species’ host specificity by testing its ability to reproduce on the eggs of alternate hosts.  She is also investigating the lifetime fecundity and longevity of the wasps, to see if it can multiply faster than bagrada bug.  Furthermore, to determine optimal mass rearing conditions, she compared the growth rate of immatures at several different temperatures, and tested the effect of different ages of the parasitoid and the host eggs on reproductive success.  Her final experiment will be to consider how the wasps find host eggs on plants and in soil, where the bugs lay them.  

The Harry S. Smith Scholarship Award will enable Nancy to focus on this biological control research and to present her research findings at the Entomological Society of America/Entomological Society of Canada joint meeting in Vancouver in November, 2018.

Upon finishing her Ph.D., she would like to do another stint overseas, this time as a Fulbright scholar or through the federal RIFA program.  After that, she plans to return to California to work with specialty crop growers through industry or the U.C. Cooperative Extension to develop and promote integrated pest management and biological control.

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Nancy's scholarship is made possible in part by these 2018 donations

A special thanks to Dr. George Markin, CAPCA San Diego, Paul and Kathryn Madonna, Susan Lyon, Nora Hackett, Retha Keenan, Cynthia and Allen King at King and King Ranch, John Orr, Richard Kitzman, Cristina Leon and Emma Ruiz, Charles and Claudia Giadina, Salvador Dominguez at Total Labor Force Inc, California Rare Fruit Growers at the Foothill Chapter, Dr. Kouichi and Mrs. Grace Tanaka, Bob and Sue Cooley and Anonymous. 

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