Greetings to all readers!
I’m Max, and I’d like to announce that the blog is under new authorship! With the start of the 2016/17 academic year, comes a new, exciting, topical, and accessible series of articles about what we think is interesting and important for those that wish to ‘master entomology’. We’ll also be writing articles about the process by which we are all learning here at Harper Adams University (HAU) on the Entomology MSc; of course, there may be articles about what we learn from the sagely wisdom of the lecturers as well, headed by Professor Simon Leather.
In each year of the Entomology MSc here at HAU, The Royal Entomological Society (RES) is generous enough to provide several scholarships to particularly promising students.This year, five students were chosen to be recipients based on the quality of their degree (or relevant experience), CV and scholarship application. Over the course of the next few days, I’ll be posting several of these application essays and telling you about their authors! All of them will eventually be published in the RES magazine Antenna.
To kick things off, naturally, I’ll start with myself!
I graduated from Bangor University with a degree in Zoology with Herpetology (but insects are WWAAAAYY better, I promise), and my particular entomological interests include, but are not limited to, Odonata (especially the sub-order Anisoptera), comparative biomechanics of insects and insect flight, entomological parasitology, and insect ecology and conservation. Following on, my prospective future career could include any of these things in a wide range of roles. To summarise, I have a very wide range of interests and am not exactly sure what I want to do!
Below is my scholarship application to be published in Antenna soon:
“My interest in the natural world, and specifically insects and other terrestrial arthropods, was apparent shortly after I learnt how to walk, and my capacity to remain interested in entomology surpasses all other subjects I have come across. Though I would not consider myself an ‘expert’ in the subject, I began reading books about insects when I was very young (many of these were figure-rich texts!) and have continued this trend to date, even increasing it at Harper Adams University. I also keep 3 tarantulas (Poecilotheria ornata), much to my housemates’ dismay. I am therefore studying entomology because it is my long-standing subject of interest and the idea of working with, reading about and interacting with insects on a day-to-day basis is what I have wanted to do since a very early age.
My entomological interests are very broad, but I have a particular love for orthopterans, odonates, neuropterans in the family Mantispidae, hymenopterans, and, of course, coleopterans; I by no means find any other Order boring though! I feel I have so much to learn about every facet of insects and their ecological interactions, that limiting myself to only those Orders would be detrimental to my education. I am therefore hotly looking forward to many aspects of my course at Harper Adams University. 5 modules catch my attention over the remainder. Insect Physiology and Behaviour, Diversity and Evolution of Insects, and Biology and Taxonomy of Insects intrigue me because they are areas where I have some knowledge, but I want to learn more; they will give me an excellent foundation of understanding which I can build, and base future learning and ideas upon. Ecological Entomology interests me because of the diversity of ecological interactions within this single taxon and the importance of these interactions in relation to ecosystems; I am not very well versed in this subject though and feel I will benefit hugely from this module. Though I am able to identify to Order level in native British insects (most of the time!), and a few select families, my field identifying skills could be greatly improved. Moreover, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services would build on the ecological aspect and would hopefully fill the insect-shaped gap in my knowledge pertaining to insects and ecosystem services.
Having been awarded the Royal Entomological Society scholarship, I now have a huge mandate to succeed academically; to surpass any of my previous academic achievements. My drive is to become an entomologist and tuition at Harper Adams University, supported by a scholarship from the most prestigious entomological society in the world, brings me closer to that goal than I could have imagined as a child; receipt of this scholarship substantiates that dream and not only makes studying possible, it removes preoccupations about other funding and will allow me to excel academically.
One essay down, four to go!
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting an essay from one of my colleagues and laying out some more of what is yet to come!
Until next time.
Photo credit: Alex Dye, entomologist extraordinaire and manager of our Twitter page @entomasters