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Award Opportunities Abound for Students in Entomology

EntSoc17 Awards Display

Every year at the Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society America, professionals in students in the field are honored for their work. In 2017, attendees could learn about all of the awardees in the “Hall of Fame” display.

By Sandra Schachat

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of posts over the coming months contributed by the Entomological Society of America’s Student Affairs Committee, with the goal of engaging entomology students and helping them prepare for Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia, November 11-14, in Vancouver. Read previous posts in the series and stay tuned for more in the future.

As a student, applying for awards has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my membership with the Entomological Society of America. The awards that I have received have been a tremendous source of encouragement, have helped me to gain name recognition, and have helped me meet my role models at ESA meetings. On two occasions, I received awards that helped pay for most or all of the cost of attending the ESA Annual Meeting.

Sandra Schachat

Sandra Schachat

The first time that I applied for an award, I was an undergraduate, I had just joined ESA, and I found out about the award just two weeks before the application deadline. Luckily, the application process was very straightforward; I didn’t need to fill out any long forms or provide any unnecessary information. If your CV is formatted and you’ve already written about your research (for example, if you have a proposal or abstract written) then you’re likely most of the way there.

Applying for an award can be intimidating, but ESA’s straightforward application process makes things easier. As a second-year Ph.D. student, I think it’s best to start applying early, rather than waiting until the end of your Ph.D. That way, if you apply for an award and don’t win, you’ll still have a few more chances.

With the exception of the President’s Prize, all of the awards I’ve applied for require recommendation letters. This is perhaps the part of the application process that requires the most planning, because your letter writers will need some advance notice from you, particularly if they haven’t written a letter for you before.

There is one award, though, for which all student members of ESA should certainly apply: the President’s Prize. Competing for this award is as easy as possible: When you submit your presentation or poster for the ESA Annual Meeting, simply indicate that you’d like to be considered for the Student Competition for the President’s Prize. There’s no additional work that you need to do to be considered. All competitors receive feedback from multiple judges, so competing for the President’s Prize is always a great educational experience regardless of whether you receive an award.

What Student Awards Does ESA Offer?

The Entomological Society of America offers many student awards, which fall into four categories:

  • Society-wide awards that are granted before the Annual Meeting
  • Society-wide awards that are granted at the Annual Meeting (the President’s Prize for student presentations)
  • Awards that are granted by Sections of the society
  • Awards that are granted by Branches of the society

An exhaustive list of all available awards is provided at the end of this post. Here, we’ll focus on Society-wide awards.

The President’s Prize is granted for graduate and undergraduate students for their 10-minute oral presentations, posters, virtual posters, or 3-minute presentations. To be considered for the President’s Prize you must submit your abstract for the Annual Meeting by this year’s deadline, June 4. Abstract submission is open now at the meeting website.

ESA has three Society-wide student awards that you can apply for on or before June 1. You can nominate yourself for any of these three awards.

  • The ESA Student Activity Award is granted in recognition of students who make “outstanding contributions to the Society, his/her academic department, and the community, while still achieving academic excellence. The award consists of a $5,000 cash prize and an inscribed plaque.”
  • The Larry Larson Graduate Student Award for Leadership in Applied Entomology includes a monetary prize plus “a trip to Dow AgroScience’s corporate headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. The trip includes a tour of the facilities, the opportunity to meet key personnel, and a small gift commemorating the occasion. In addition, the recipient will be asked to give a seminar covering his/her research.”
  • The Lillian and Alex Feir Graduate Student Travel Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, or Molecular Biology recognizes “graduate students working with insects or other arthropods in the broad areas of physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology.”

(The fourth Society-wide student award, the John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award, is a set of six awards “given to one graduate student from each ESA Branch to promote interest in entomology at the graduate level and to stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting.” However, the 2018 application deadline has passed.)

Remember, ESA has tons of resources to help improve your science and your presentations, which will make you more competitive for student awards. Check out ESA’s archived webinars to learn everything from analyzing your data to photographing insects to giving a great talk.

Here’s a list of all of ESA’s student awards for 2018, with deadlines. Some deadlines have already passed (so keep an eye out for them next year), but for many other 2018 awards there’s still time to apply!

Learn More

Awards & Honors

Entomological Society of America

Sandra Schachat is a Ph.D. student in geological sciences at Stanford University and is the SysEB Section Representative to the ESA Student Affairs Committee. She is also a past winner of the P-IE Section’s Undergraduate Student Achievement in Entomology Award and the SysEB Section’s Snodgrass Memorial Research Award. Email:

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