- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis alumnus Hannah Burrack, a professor of entomology and extension specialist at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, has been named chair of the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University, East Lansing, effective Jan. 1, 2022. Burrack will replace F. William Ravlin, the chair since 2014.
“Hannah's background in extension, combined with her research experience and administrative skill set makes her a great fit for our college, its students and for our stakeholders in Michigan,” said interim dean designate Kelly Millenbah, of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) in a news release. “Hannah is also committed to undergraduate and graduate student development and has supported various mentoring initiatives.”
Said Burrack: "I have followed the innovative research, exceptional students, and impactful extension undertaken by the MSU Entomology Department from the very start of my career, and I am thrilled to be joining this team in January. I am passionate about science that connects with stakeholders—be that students, growers, industry partners, or the broader citizens of the state. Entomology as a discipline naturally fosters these connections, and I am so excited to work together with the faculty, students, and staff at MSU to do great things!”
Burrack received her doctorate from UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology in 2007, studying with Frank Zalom, UC Davis distinguished professor and a former president of the 7,000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA). She also received her master's degree from UC Davis.
"Hannah is going to make a great chair," Zalom said. "She has great communication skills, vision and energy."
When she joined NC State in 2007 as assistant professor and Extension specialist for small fruits and tobacco pest management, Zalom said: "The NC State faculty made a very wise choice in hiring her. Hannah has the complete package when it comes to IPM research and extension, and I have every confidence that she will be a leader of her generation of IPM specialists."
At NC State, Burrack directs Education & Outreach for the NC Plant Sciences Initiative, an interdisciplinary initiative with the goal of conducting transformational plant sciences research, education, and outreach, according to the news release. Her current research focuses broadly on the ecology of insect pests in tobacco and small fruit crops; she utilizes the information to enhance pest management. Her extension appointment supports tobacco production and small fruit crop diversification, as she works with local and regional growers.
Burrack, known for her “boundless energy and fresh ideas,” served as the principal investigator and manager of several USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grants and panels related to research on spotted wing drosophila management, crop protection, pest management and methyl bromide transitions. In 2018, she received the University Faculty Scholar Award and the Extension Service Award from NC State University.
The UC Davis alumnus "has been part of extension engagement and outreach with stakeholders; taught courses in entomology, horticulture and crop sciences departments; supported undergraduate research projects; and mentored students and visiting scholars," according to the news release. "She has also been a part of various NC State University committees related to teaching and tenure, extension, research and technology, as well as faculty search committees."
Burrack was named the 2011 recipient of the “Future Leader” award from the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center. She received the Friends of IPM award at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Branch of ESA, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Friends of IPM Future Leader award recognizes IPM leaders early in their career for their excellent work. (See UC Davis news release.)