- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Everyone will see her coming. And going.
Folks at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology recently gifted their director, Lynn Kimsey, with LED (light-emitting diode) tennis shoes that are hand-painted with cuckoo wasps (family Chrysididae), the group that she studies.
"I think adults deserve shoes with LEDs like they make for little kids," she said, smiling. "They didn't have light-up shoes when I was a little kid--and I think my kids were too old for them, too."
Undergraduate student Justin "Wade" Spencer, with camaraderie support from public education and outreach coordinator Tabatha Yang and senior museum scientist Steve Heydon got together with Nicole Tam, then an undergraduate student, and graduate students Charlotte Herbert, Ziad Khouri and Jessica Gillung to surprise her.
They ordered a pair of shoes online, and Herbert and Tam painted them. The wasp work is intricate. And when the LED lights flash, the shoes seem as magical and as enchanting as fireflies or lightning bugs.
"Everyone thinks they're awesome shoes," said Kimsey, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. She added: "I fully intend to wear them to class on Halloween and maybe the first day of class (Sept. 21), too."
Kimsey is known for enriching--and lighting up the lives--of others.
She earlier this year received the Academic Senate's Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award, presented annually to recognize a faculty member's significant public service contributions that benefit the local, regional, national and international community.
Kimsey administers the world-renowned Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses a global collection of some eight million insect specimens. She consults with international, national and state agencies; identifies thousands of insects every year for scientific collaborators, public agencies and the general public; answers scores of news media calls and insect questions; and encourages a greater appreciation of insects through the Bohart Museum open houses, workshops and lectures.
Her areas of expertise include insect biodiversity, systematics and biogeography of parasitic wasps, urban entomology and arthropod-related industrial hygiene.
Kimsey, who received both her undergraduate degree (1975) and her doctorate (1979) from UC Davis, joined the entomology faculty in 1989. The director of the Bohart Museum and executive director of the Bohart Museum Society since 1990, she has also served as interim chair and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, now the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
A two-year past president of the International Society of Hymenopterists, and a former board member of the Natural Science Collections Alliance, Kimsey is active in the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Washington Entomological Society. The Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA) honored her and colleagues Eric Mussen, Robbin Thorp, Neal Williams and Brian Johnson—“the UC Davis Bee Team”--with the outstanding team award in 2013. Kimsey also received the PBESA Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Award in 2014.
I found a cheap website and I ordered a pair for myself. So watch out Lynn!