CALS Student Honored as American Star in Agriscience Finalist at National FFA Convention

Lauren Roberts, first-year entomology and nematology student at the University of Florida.

Lauren Roberts, first-year entomology and nematology student, has had the support of the Gator Nation in developing a project that is now recognized as top in the nation.

This week, the 93rd National FFA Convention and Expo is celebrating the accomplishments of FFA members across the nation. Roberts, a former Trenton FFA member, is a finalist for the American Star in Agriscience award for her research with honey bees. This award is for FFA members who demonstrate the top agriscience-based supervised agricultural experience in the nation.

Roberts completed research in the area of colony collapse disorder in honeybees. She began her research in high school and has since collaborated with faculty and graduate students at the Univeristy of Florida to develop a nonlethal repellent for honey bees that is currently in the patent process.

Lauren Roberts with her The Pink Hives, bee business.

I started conducting research in high school that chased the idea of developing a nonlethal repellent for honey bees that could be sprayed onto crops such as watermelon and would keep the bees away from crops as the pesticide degrades, leading to a happy grower, beekeeper and forager bee. I gained confidence from my projects to venture out and start my bee business called The Pink Hives. Working my own bee hives has given me the opportunity to understand the hardships beekeepers face.

How did you become interested in honey bees?

My fascination with honey bees began when I was pushed into giving a speech about the honey bee decline at 13 years old. If only I had known then how much I would grow in knowledge of the industry and its importance to agriculture and our everyday life. For centuries, humans have held honey bees in a romantic light and I fell into the same pattern because you are constantly learning something new and interesting. One fact I learned early that surprised me was that a honey bee colony is not only comprised of thousands of bees with a queen, workers,and drones but the entire colony works as functioning unit which can be described as a “super-organism.” I thought if only people took lessons from honey bees we would have healthy levels of productivity and peace! The way bees behave with one another has left me in awe and if I can share models of how bees work, maybe our society will follow suit one day too.

How does it feel to be a finalist for the American Star in Agriscience award?

It doesn’t feel real to have reached this pinnacle in my FFA career with my honey bee research. I am grateful to all of those who pushed me. I hope that my story to never be afraid to ask questions in the pursuit of your passion will inspire another young mind. I am grateful for the gator nation as I collaborated with Dr. Jamie Ellis and graduate students at the Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab, Dr. Andrew Thoron in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, and Jordan Callaham at the UF Space Plant Lab during different studies in the pursuit of my long term goal.

Lauren Roberts working on her research focusing on honey bees.

How do you plan to celebrate this week as National Convention is being hosted virtually?

I am looking forward to spending the time meeting with sponsors before the session including Elanco Animal Health, CASE IH Agriculture and Syngenta. I plan to watch the session with my parents and my high school FFA advisor/research mentor and celebrate with chips and salsa from El Toro restaurant in Alachua.

Roberts was recognized virtually on Wednesday, October 28 during session 4. Sessions can be viewed on RFDTV and on the National FFA Organization Facebook page.


Posted: October 30, 2020

Category: Agriculture, Pests & Disease, Professional Development, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Research, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Ffa, Honeybees, Student Research


December 15, 2021

Amazing job my friend! Your perseverance and success is inspiring.

Andrea Gallik
December 15, 2021

So very amazed by you Jason! You have made your family and UF so proud. Your story lights a path for others. May you continue leading the way with your perseverance and integrity!

Michele Dysna leconte
December 15, 2021

Congratulations!!! Very inspiring story, May continue to be a beacon of hope for other young men dealing with similar issues

Matt Parker
December 15, 2021

Congratulations Mr. Coby. 11 straight ‘A’s eh? Way to go. Now go forth and fix the environment. Your girls look good with the current graduate. Nicely done. Beautiful fam.

December 15, 2021

Thank you for helping my nephew Jason I know he wasn’t a quicker but is this song I know if it’s Roman it will make it I’m proud of him and I look I love you and we always be there to support you we love you we love you aunt to Mimi

Anne Menard
September 14, 2021

You can post my comments.

Anne Menard
September 14, 2021

What a wonderful learning opportunity for the college students & it helps with their future education & career planning. Thank you Tall Timbers.

December 22, 2020

Dear sir, Thank you for your post. I Love group study.

Samuel Sam
December 10, 2020

Dear sir, Thank you for your post. Group study is the main for all students life and we learn a lot of things

Susan Weller
November 1, 2020

Congratulations for rewards well earned. Keep up this very important research. We are dependent on the honey bees. Your work is helping educate us all. The use of DDT was stopped due to scientist like you. Please continue to develop more earth friendly solutions for the good of mankind.

August 7, 2020


suba suba
June 11, 2020

Really appreciate you sharing this article.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

Mohammed Mahmood Mohammed
May 12, 2020

Congratulations you earned that degree

May 7, 2020

Congrats Dr. Kawther. With your efforts you make what is difficult, been easy to get. Keep going don’t give up. Always the beginning is difficult but with the patience will be easy.

Pialang Indo
March 29, 2020

Very true this virus is very contagious, serious and potentially deadly virus hopes we can do what we can to reduce the spread of this virus and find the best solution to eradicate it. I was very scared until now and just stayed at home all day. Thank you for the information.

Pam Humphrey
December 19, 2019

Lindsey is an amazing, competent and caring young woman. She will be an asset to any company forward-looking enough to hire her.

Naomi Rose
December 19, 2019

Wow! I am so proud of her. Nana

Dagang Valas
December 14, 2019

Congratulation Rivas, hopefully the knowledge gained can be useful in the future and can help the community. Merry Christmas and happy new year too.

Ginny Reiss
October 1, 2019

So proud of you Adrian!!!

R. William (Bill) Henderson
June 21, 2019

Father figures are needed in all parts of education and in all of life. I teach GED to inmates in a local jail and many of the problems these inmates have stems from their many drop out fathers both male and female.

Amy Vasquez
June 20, 2019

Three perfect examples of men with integrity.

April 26, 2019

Way to go, Kendra!

April 1, 2019

Indeed everyone need to eat, and many also complain about the food source quality. I think we all should, at least, do farming in our homes. If the lack of space is a problem, then we should use vertical farming methods. This will not only clean our environment but also reduce the peoples depression (as looking at green reduces depression and is good for mental health).

Linda Nolan
March 16, 2019

Great information! Thank you Dana for sharing Ms. Clark’s enthusiasm about Florida’s agricultural importance.

March 22, 2018

I am sooo proud of Gallagher n the example given to her by these wonderful women encouraging others to jump in n make a difference. I say take your places with men n unite making the difference side by side. WELL DONE!!!

Edelyn Tidholm
March 17, 2018

Great article!

Karen Webster
February 21, 2018

We are very proud of you and your dedication to make agriculture better.

February 21, 2018

Enjoyed reading your article. It was well written and I could tell that you had put a lot of thought into what you wanted to say. Wishing you a great deal of success as you work toward your dream of becoming a lawyer. May God bless and watch over you as you embark on this journey.

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