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UF entomologist Roxanne Connelly leads American Mosquito Control Association

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When questions arise about mosquito control, University of Florida entomologist Roxanne Connelly is one of the state’s most sought-after experts. Now, that expertise has earned her the presidency of a national organization.

Connelly, an associate professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, was inducted Feb. 27 as president of the American Mosquito Control Association at the association’s annual meeting in Atlantic City, N.J. She’ll serve a one-year term.

“I’m very pleased about it,” Connelly said in a March interview. “Holding this position is really an honor for me because I was elected to it.”

The election happened at the 2010 AMCA annual meeting, where members voted Connelly to a four-year leadership stint. In 2011 she began by serving a one-year term as vice president, then another year as president-elect, and now president. In 2014 she’ll become immediate past president.

Each position involves different responsibilities, she said.

As president, Connelly will appear at state mosquito control association meetings, give presentations, recruit members and preside over board meetings. Occasionally, she may speak to the media on mosquito-related topics such as West Nile virus.

One more goal: As president, Connelly wants to encourage talented young scientists from every background to consider mosquito control as a career option.

“Right before I took over as president I formed a task force on recruiting the next generation of mosquito control professionals,” she said. “My job is to come up with ideas for high school students, to introduce them to the profession.”

The task force will develop a set of guidelines on recruiting new members, Connelly said.

In 79 years of AMCA history, Connelly is the association’s third female president.

“I hope that my accomplishment inspires young women who are interested in this vital public-health topic,” she said.

She was a member of the AMCA board of directors from 2007-2010, representing the South Atlantic region – Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Connelly was also president of the Florida Mosquito Control Association in 2011.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Connelly earned three degrees from Louisiana State University – a bachelor of science in environmental science in 1992, master of science in entomology in 1995 and a doctorate in entomology with a minor in epidemiology and community health in 1998.

Hired by UF in 1999, she has worked exclusively at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach. There, she provides Extension education to mosquito control personnel and public-health officials. She also researches mosquito control topics, teaches graduate-level courses in medical entomology and mentors graduate students.

Created in 1935, the AMCA is an international, non-profit organization promoting research efforts to help manage mosquito populations that vector diseases or cause annoyance.

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Contacts

Writer: Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Source: Roxanne Connelly, 772-778-7200, ext. 172, crr@ufl.edu

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To formally accept her new position as president of the American Mosquito Control Association, Roxanne Connelly, right, accepts the presidential gavel from outgoing President Tom Wilmot, at the AMCA annual meeting in Atlantic City, N.J., Feb. 27, 2013. Connelly, a faculty member at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach, Fla., will serve a one-year term. Photo by Peter Connelly