When two talented entomologists/artists from the University of California, Davis, collaborate and teach classes, you'll want to see the work that their students create.
And you can do just that from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29 when UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty members Emily Meineke and Diane Ullman host the Entomology (ENT) 001 Art Show, "Insects in the Anthropocene."
The show features the art that their students created this quarter in the Labudio (lab+studio) space in Room 128 of the Environmental Horticulture Building, 200 Arboretum Drive, UC Davis. (See map)
"Please bring a t-shirt if you'd like to screen print one of our designs on it, too," they said. "Kids can make shirts, too. The event will be indoor/outdoor, so please dress accordingly." No reservations are necessary.
Meineke commented that the students "were each assigned an insect species in decline or moving about the planet and becoming invasive in new habitats. The insects students were assigned are among those most impacted by humans, and students were given an opportunity to re-envision how people might interact more gently and intentionally with insects, our small, yet consequential co-inhabitants. We are so proud of how the students interacted with this topic; they were charged with researching their insects and turning that research into designs that could be screen printed on watercolor paper, ceramic tiles to be installed in Briggs 122, and fabric. Their designs are nothing short of spectacular!"
UC Davis distinguished professor Diane Ullman, an artist and entomologist, "helped immensely," said Meineke, adding that she wasn't "an official co-teacher but she essentially acted as one."
Assistant Professor Emily Meineke
Meineke, an urban landscape entomologist and assistant professor, was recently named one of the 12 UC Davis recipients of the prestigious Hellman Fellowships, an annual program supporting the research of early-career faculty. Her project, “Assessing Preservation of Chemical Compounds in Pressed Plants," focuses on whether herbarium specimens collected over hundreds of years harbor chemical compounds that reveal mechanisms responsible for changing insect-plant interactions.
Meineke was among the scholars and artists who helped spearhead the newly created Harvard Museum of Natural History's “In Search of Thoreau's Flowers: An Exploration of Change and Loss," hailed as an examination of the natural world and climate change at the intersections of science, art and history. She helped launch the project in 2017 when she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard University Herbaria. The 648 plant specimens that Henry David Thoreau donated to the museum form the foundation of the exhibit. It opened to the public May 14.
A native of Greenville, N.C., Meineke joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology on March 1, 2020, from the Harvard University Herbaria. As a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, she studied how urbanization and climate change have affected plant-insect relationships worldwide over the past 100-plus years.
She received her bachelor of science degree in environmental science, with a minor in biology, in 2008 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She obtained her doctorate in entomology in 2016 from North Carolina State University.
Professor Ullman, a celebrated teacher, artist and researcher, is the 2014 recipient of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) National Excellence in Teaching Award and the UC Davis Academic Senate's 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award for undergraduate teaching. She is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014) and the ESA (2011).
When she was singled out for the UC Davis Academic Senate Award, her nominators praised her as providing "superb teaching and mentoring for many years, not only in the Department of Entomology and Nematology but as a leader in the Science and Society program. She has brought art-science fusion alive in innovative ways. Her nominees and students rave about her deep dedication, care, and knowledge in all teaching interactions, as well as her overall commitment to student success. One student nominee summed it up: "My experience in her course last spring was one that lifted my spirits, enriched my education, and strengthened my love for art and science during a time when it was difficult to feel positive about anything.”
Ullman's research encompasses insect/virus/plant interactions and development of management strategies for insect-transmitted plant pathogens. She has worked with many insect vector species (thrips, aphids, whiteflies, leafhoppers, mealybugs) and the plant pathogens they transmit, including viruses, phytoplasma and bacteria.
One of her latest art projects--with colleagues, UC Davis students and community members--is the Sonoran Dreams Art Project in the Garden Apartments of the University Retirement Community, Davis. Handmade ceramic tiles depicting the flora, fauna and symbols of the Sonoran Desert surround the elevator.
Ullman received her bachelor of science degree in horticulture from the University of Arizona and her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1985. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 1991 after serving as an associate professor of entomology at the University of Hawaii. Her credentials include: chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, 2004-2005; associate dean for undergraduate academic programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 2005 to 2014; and co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, launched in September 2006.
Congrats to Professors Diane Ullman and Joanna Chiu of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and UC Davis Distinguished Professor Walter Leal, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Ullman and Chiu, both incredible teachers (as well as researchers and mentors) are recipients of the UC Davis Academic Senate's 2022 Distinguished Teaching Awards. Leal, widely known for his research, teaching, mentoring and public service, won the Academic Senate's Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award for his outstanding series of webinars educating the public about COVID-19. His four online or virtual symposiums drew more than 6000 viewers from 35 countries.
Joanna Chiu. "Professor Joanna Chiu is known for her ability to help students visualize and internalize abstract interactions that are invisible to the naked eye. Students and colleagues praise her desire to demystify pathways to success in science. She's admired for her compassion and dedication to students at all levels, whether they are visiting high school students, undergraduates, or graduate students. Her graduate students have landed jobs in academia, industry, and medicine, and they seek her counsel well into their professional lives. Professor Chiu has also created training programs and financial awards to increase diversity and inclusivity in her field."--UC Davis Academic Senate.
Professor Chiu, vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, is the co-administrator of the campuswide Research Scholars in Insect Biology, which aims to provide undergraduates with a closely mentored research experience in biology. A 2019-23 Chancellor's Fellow, she received the 2019 Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology Award from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology and music from Mount Holyoke College, Mass., and a doctorate in molecular genetics from New York University. She served as a postdoctoral fellow in chronobiology--molecular genetics and biochemistry, at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. (See news story for comments on her teaching)
Professor Ullman, both an entomologist and an artist, received her bachelor of science degree in horticulture from the University of Arizona and her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1985. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 1991 after serving as an associate professor of entomology at the University of Hawaii. Her credentials include: chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, 2004-2005; associate dean for undergraduate academic programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 2005 to 2014; and co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, launched in September 2006.
A Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014) and the Entomological Society of America (2011), Ullman was named the 2014 recipient of the ESA National Excellence in Teaching Award. (See news story for comments on her teaching)
A native of Brazil and fluent in three languages, Leal was educated in Brazil, Japan and the United States, pursuing the scientific fields of chemical engineering, agricultural chemistry, applied biochemistry, entomology and chemical ecology. After serving in a leadership capacity in Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries for five years, he joined the Department of Entomology faculty in 2000. Leal chaired the department from 2002 to 2013 before accepting an appointment as a professor of biochemistry with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
Leal is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, American Association for the Advancement of Science, California Academy of Sciences, Royal Entomological Society and the Entomological Society of America (ESA). The UC Davis Academic Senate named him the recipient of its 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching, and the Pacific Branch of ESA presented him with its 2020 Award of Excellent in Teaching. (See news story for comments on his work)
Challenges met, challenges won.
But the event also will include several tours to museums or collections.
One of the tours will be to the UC Davis Bee Haven, a half-acre bee demonstration garden located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
Honey bees and native bees, as well as butterflies, dragonflies and other insects, frequent the garden.
The Haven staff will offer tours at noon and at 2 p.m., with a limit of 20 people per tour. "We'll focus on how best to observe and identify bees in the garden, as well as suggested bee plants that grow well in our area with low water," said Christine Casey, academic program management officer of the Bee Haven.
The garden, operated and maintained by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, was installed in the fall of 2009 when professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology headed the department as interim chair. The art featured in the garden is the work of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, co-founded and co-directed by entomology professor/artist Diane Ullman and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick. A six-foot-long ceramic-mosaic bee sculpture, crafted by Billick, anchors the garden. Columns of ceramic-mosaic bee boxes flank the entrance. Other sculptures beautify the garden as well.
Another project, supervised by Ullman and Billick in 2011 and coordinated by then doctoral student Sarah Dalrymple of the Rick Karban lab, features a mural of mostly native bees on the garden shed.
Background: Ullman and Billick were teaching an Entomology 1 class, "Art, Science and the World of Insects," with 22 students enrolled. Dalrymple, the teaching assistant, guided the students in the design, creation and installation of the panels.
The 22 students portrayed 22 bees, including such natives as mason, sweat, squash, leafcutter, blue orchard, carpenter and bumble bees. One of the non-natives: the European wool carder bee.
The UC Davis Bee Haven is in the midst of raising funds to finance classroom visits from low-income schools, and visits by youth groups. The fundraising project, with a goal of $3000, ends at 12:59 p.m., Feb 28. View Casey's ;YouTube video and access the Haven website. The CrowdFund site is at https://crowdfund.ucdavis.edu/project/29773
The bee garden is open daily from dawn to dusk except for Tuesdays (opens at 10 a.m.) "so we can maintain physical distance during garden maintenance," Casey says. Admission is free.
We remember when professional ceramic- mosaic artist Mark Rivera of Davis joined fellow artists in May of 2013 to install newly created art projects at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road.
The talented artist was there to assist the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, launched and directed by entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, UC Davis professor of entomology and former chair of the department, and artist-educator Donna Billick of Davis, a self-described "rock artist."
We remember Mark's paint-daubed hands, his gracious humility, and his gentle soul as he worked with Ullman and Billick to install the ceramic mosaic art on the planters at the haven. He and all of us around him were admiring the honey bees: bee motifs on the planters; bees foraging on the flowers in the half-acre garden; and bees hived at the nearby Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Mark Rivera died in sleep on May 22 at age 49. He would have been 50 on June 10.
His daughter, Jessica Williams, remembers him as "a kind, compassionate, and genuine soul who touched the lives of many. He was also a talented mosaic artist and created countless pieces of art throughout his community of Davis, California."
"Art and emotion intertwined for Mark. He channeled himself through different mediums, ultimately settling on ceramics, terrazzo and mosaics; these became his 'Mosaic Marks.'
"He was drawn to working on public works of art that were large and impactful. He started with public art in Denver and decided to make the big move in 2000 to Davis for additional opportunities to grow as an artist. He continued with pieces around Davis that reflected the evolution of his soul — having a daughter (Jessica), becoming an uncle (to Josie and Allie) and losing his father."
"His soul and his spirit shined from him and was witnessed by all who met him, leaving an everlasting impact."
"A Celebration of Life is planned for Thursday, June 10, in Central Park in Davis--preceded by an Art Procession from the Co-Op at 4:30 p.m. The Celebration of Mark's Life will start in the Central Park gardens at 6 p.m. for a sharing of stories by those who experienced various aspects of his life."
Ullman recently wrote on her Facebook page: "Mark was a talented man, very kind and compassionate. He was a wonderful teacher and partner in community-built projects. In the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, Mark assisted with nearly every installation we did on campus and even helped us install Nature's Gallery in Washington DC. In this go fund me campaign, his family is raising money for his funeral costs and memorial. If you wish to help, the link is here. His art installations grace our daily lives in Davis. He will be terribly missed."
- "Mark has always filled me with joy. He transformed the world around him. He inspired me and so many others to be better. I miss him terribly."
- "He was an amazing, unique artist and I always remember him as a solid and cheerful person."
- "Mark Rivera was a prolific ceramic & mosaic artist, you literally cannot go anywhere in Davis without seeing his colorful and vibrant installations. He was also an incredibly caring, gentle, and humble man, who seemed to always have a big smile on the ready & a twinkle in his eye."
Another friend posted author-poet Anita Krishan's quote that captures the artistic magic of the legacy of Mark Rivera:
“We are mosaics--pieces of light, love, history, stars--glued together with magic and music and words.”
A first-generation college student, Rajarapu holds two biochemistry degrees from Osmania University, India: her bachelor's degree (2006) and her master's degree (2008). She obtained her doctorate in entomology in 2013 from The Ohio State University, working with Professors Daniel Herms and Larry Phelan. Her dissertation: "Integrated Omics on the Physiology of Emerald Ash Borer."
Spring Seminar Schedule
Here's the seminar line-up for the spring quarter. All are scheduled from 4:10 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.
University of Idaho, Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology
Title: "Understanding Aphonopelma Diversity Across the Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands Hotspot by Integrating Western Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)"
Host: Jason Bond
University of Wyoming, Department of Geology and Geophysics
Title: "Ancient Bug-Bitten Leaves Reveal the Impacts of Climate and Plant Nutrients on Insect Herbivores"
Host: Emily Meineke
Pennsylvania State University, Department of Entomology
Title: "Ecoevolutionary Consequences of Crop Domestication on Plant-Pollinator Interactions"
Host: Rachel Vannette
For any questions, email Ian Grettenberger (email@example.com).