J. Christina Mitchell: President
Christina is a PhD candidate studying the effects of urbanization on plant and arthropod communities in urban forest fragments under Dr. Steve Frank. Before moving to North Carolina, Christina earned a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Delaware and worked in the Urban Ecology Lab after graduation. When not in the field or office, Christina can be found working in her ‘Backyard Biome’ with her husband (and two dogs, seven chickens, two frogs, two geckos, and literally thousands of plants) or exploring the wildness of North Carolina.
James Goethe: Vice President and Social Chair
James is an M.S. student studying the spatial and temporal dynamics of insects in small grains under Dr. Anders Huseth. His current research is focused on documenting which insects depend on small grains during the winter months and how these populations develop and then move from the senescing crop in the spring. James completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Technology and Management from NC State University. In his free time, he enjoys backpacking, cooking, and listening to The Avett Brothers.
Joe Milone: Treasurer
Joe is a PhD candidate working with Dr. David Tarpy studying the influence of multi-pesticide exposure on honey bees. Agricultural pollinators can come into contact with a variety of different compounds simultaneously, his work seeks to better understand how these exposures influence colony health and the variation in this response between honey bee breeding populations. In his free time he likes rowing, hiking, beekeeping, and stand-up comedy. He also enjoys maintaining excel spreadsheets.
Caleb Wilson: Secretary
Caleb is a Ph.D. student who works in Dr. Steve Frank’s lab. Caleb’s research examines how local and landscape factors of the urban environment influence biological control of street tree pests. The goal of his work is to produce a better understanding of how street tree IPM goals can be met by supporting natural enemy communities. In his spare time Caleb enjoys gardening, weightlifting, and developing his skills as an amateur naturalist.
Ben Arends: Outreach Coordinator
Ben is a Master’s student in Dominic Reisig’s lab. His research focuses on Bt resistance in Helicoverpa zea in field corn. Ben completed his BS in Biology with a minor in Entomology at Iowa State University. In his free time, he enjoys watching the Cyclones, being outdoors, and his pug, Oliver.
Michelle Targaszewski: Insect Collection Curator and Outreach Coordinator
Michelle is an M.S. student studying the pollinator ecology and population genetics of rare plants in the lab of Dr. Clyde Sorenson. Her current research focuses on the effects of habitat fragmentation on federally endangered plants located on Fort Bragg military base. She is passionate about conservation. In her free time she enjoys collecting invertebrates and plants; she currently shares a one bedroom apartment with 40+ tarantulas and other invertebrates, over 200 houseplants, and one cat. (Consequently she is a little obsessed with keeping things clean and well-organized to maximize aesthetic value and enjoyment.)
Tabatha Komar: Social Chair
Tabatha Komar is a Ph.D. student from Wisconsin studying agricultural entomology with Dr. Anders Huseth. Tabatha has a B.S. in Biology from University Wisconsin Eau Claire where she studied environmental conservation and chemistry. During her undergraduate career, Tabatha spent time volunteering abroad in Costa Rica discovering the importance of conservation and biodiversity. In her current research, she is studying new crop protection technologies and interactions with biological control services. In her spare time, Tabatha enjoys hiking, hanging out with her dogs, and board games.
Maria Gonzales-Morales: Fundraising Chair
Maria A. Gonzalez-Morales is a Ph.D. student and SMAR Scholar in Dr. Coby Schal’s lab. Her current research aims to understand insecticide resistance in bed bugs and the German cockroach to improve urban pest management. She is also interested in the effect of ectoparasites on humans and animals. Overall, her goal is to make pests control sustainable and available to everyone with the purpose of further improve the quality of life. Maria completed a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy in Crop Protection at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus and a master’s degree in Agricultural biology with a focus on Entomology at New Mexico State University. In her free time, she is a makeup artist and she also enjoys running, playing piano, and sketching.
Hannah Levenson: Symposium Coordinator
Hannah is a PhD student and CEFS Fellow in Dr. David R. Tarpy’s lab in the Entomology program, with a co-major in Biology. She graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Technology and Management and a B.A. in Design Studies from NC State in 2015. She has a diverse research background ranging from studying patch reefs in The Bahamas to the non-target effects of pesticides on honey bees. Her current research involves surveying native bee populations across the state of North Carolina with a particular focus on evaluating the impacts of conservation methods, such as planted habitat, over time. She is also measuring the disease ecology of bees at these habitats as well as the impact of the habitat on nearby cropping systems. Hannah enjoys hiking, spending time with her dog, creating products (such as bags and clothing), as well as traveling. She has even worked with Peace Corps volunteers in Peru to conduct a survey of honey bee diseases!
Mauri Hickin: Symposium Coordinator
Mauri is a second year Ph.D student in Dr. Coby Schal’s lab. Her current research examines insect nutrition, feeding biology and physiology with a focus on enhancing insect rearing systems to combat invasive pests. She completed her BS in Zoology at Kent State University in Ohio, and her MS in Ecology and Ecosystem Sciences at the University of Rhode Island studying Hemlock Woolly Adelgid settlement under abiotic stress. After her MS, she began working for the USDA in Cape Cod, Massachusetts studying biocontrol of U.S. forest pests. Her love of insects and entomology research continued to grow and she then came to NC State University to complete a Ph.D. When she is not in the lab or writing, Mauri enjoys mountain biking, climbing, hiking, knitting, reading and spending time with her rescue pitbull, Leo.
For current information about EGSA’s outreach and activities, please visit our website