New Students for Summer 2017

It’s my pleasure to introduce our three new Doctor of Plant Medicine students for summer 2017! Let’s get to know a little about them…

Jessica Awad

Jessica received her Bachelor’s degree from University of Florida, majored in Entomology with a Plant Protection focus. She is currently working for FDACS in the Division of Plant Industry on rearing parasitoids for biological control of cactus moth! She joined the DPM program because of her interest in a career in regulatory agriculture.

Fun Fact: “When I’m not working, I enjoy puppetry and collecting chicken-themed knickknacks.”

Morgan Pinkerton

Morgan graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Biology in the fall of 2016. She minored in Spanish and Anthropology from University of Florida. She is quite fluent in Spanish! She started working as a lab technician for the Biosecurity Research and Extension (BRE) lab about a year and a half ago and fell in love with Entomology.

Morgan started her Master’s in Entomology in the spring of 2017 with a focus on stink bug rearing. Morgan is currently working for Dr. Amanda Hodges in the BRE lab on red-banded stink bug, Piezodorus guildinii, and the Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris.

Fun Fact: “I used to be a gymnast when I was younger. Now, I enjoy playing volleyball, weight lifting, and painting in my spare time.”

Sage Thompson

Sage grew up in Florida and always wanted to go to University of Florida. She started her undergraduate in 2013 as a microbiology major and knew it was not for her. She decided to find volunteering opportunities in different science fields and found herself in Entomology. She was hired to work in Dr. Amanda Hodges BRE lab alongside a DPM student, now Dr. Eric Leveen, on a project dealing with brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys. After taking many entomology classes and even working in different labs, she decided that practical application and understanding insect-plant interaction is her interest – which makes the DPM program the perfect fit!

Fun Fact: “I’ve been a certified SCUBA diver for 11 years! I always loved the water and thought I would be a marine biologist or build coral reefs. My dad and I had three large saltwater aquariums that we maintain and I have just set up a forty gallon tank in my apartment – I’m just not sure if I want to do a fresh water or salt water tank.”

Welcome to the DPM program ladies! You have a bright future ahead of you. Go Gators!