- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's a database but she also has a fan base.
Ivana is entered in the Miss Vietnam Northern California/Miss Vietnam Sacramento Pageant--and entomologists, fellow insect enthusiasts, classmates, family and friends are rooting for her and hoping she wins.
Ivana is one of 14 candidates in the Sacramento-based pageant. The overall winner will be named Miss Vietnam Northern California and the second-place winner, Miss Vietnam Sacramento. The winners will be determined by People's Choice or online voting (open to all). Voting ends at noon, Pacific Time, on Saturday, March 23. The pageant itself takes place from 3 to 7 p.m., Sunday, March 24 at 6200 McMahon Drive, Sacramento.
Entering a pageant is new to her but this one is special. “I am half-Vietnamese, half-white,” Ivana related. “My mom escaped Vietnam and stayed at a refugee camp in Malaysia for a few years before finally coming to the United States in 1984.” Her father is a computer engineer and her mother, the activities coordinator at a senior living center. Ivana is one of four children; she has an older and younger brother, and a younger sister.
“To me, this pageant is an opportunity to build confidence and learn more about myself,” she said. “I feel like I didn't experience much of my culture growing up in Brentwood, Calif. The only time I would even hear the language was when we visited our relatives in San Jose. I'm hoping that through this competition, I can learn a little about myself and my culture. I also hope to serve as a role model for other young women who are still figuring out who they are and where they belong in the world. By winning this pageant, I hope to inspire others to celebrate their differences and embrace their inner beauty.”
“Right now, I am a fourth-year animal science major and medical-veterinary entomology minor at UC Davis," Ivana said. “I enjoy learning about all animals, including arthropods." In addition to working at the Bohart Museum, she's an intern at an animal hospital in south Sacramento.
Her resume includes such previous positions as spay and neuter volunteer for the Yolo County Animal Service, research volunteer at the UC Davis Meyer Avian Facility, research volunteer at the UC Davis feedlot, and hospital volunteer at Kaiser Permanente.
Ivana plans to receive her bachelor of science degree in animal science this spring, and then will apply for vet school this summer. "I plan to work as a vet assistant during my gap year."
Her work at the Bohart? "I've been LepNet databasing for a little over a year," she said, adding that "My favorite moths are sphingids due to their wing patterns and the fact that they look like torpedoes.”
The LepNet database is aimed at integrating millions of Lepidoptera occurrence records, and the Bohart Museum is one of the museums involved in the project. The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens, including 500,000 in the Lepidoptera collection alone.
Ivana is active in the UC Davis Entomology Club, and currently serves as the media coordinator.
“My interest in bugs first started when I took an entomology class in high school, and the teacher gave me a hissing cockroach from his colony to keep as a pet,” Ivana recalled. "The class actually went to the Bohart Museum for a field trip, and it was one of the reasons I liked UC Davis so much!”
“I currently have two pet scorpions, two tarantulas, a centipede, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and goldfish. I also have a ton of succulents and houseplants." Once she's settled into a career and larger apartment, Ivana hopes to add a dog, some reptiles and "of course, more bugs." When she's not studying, LepNet databasing, or interning at the animal care center, Ivana enjoys hiking, cooking, baking, playing the flute, and spending time with friends and family.
Meanwhile, the People's Choice voting is underway, one vote per IP address (which means votes can be counted on separate devices, such as a cell phone and a laptop computer). Click here to vote: https://www.surveylegend.com/s/1bxp (The UC Davis student is No. 2 on the list.) Folks can find more information about the pageant by accessing Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MissVietnamNorthernCalifornia/.
From UC Davis animal science major to Miss Vietnam Northern California?