It's a wasp on wheels.
A wasp riding a penny-farthing or a high wheel bicycle is the winner of the 2015 annual t-shirt contest sponsored by the Entomology Graduate Students' Association (EGSA) at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“I wanted to draw a penny-farthing, which is part of the UC Davis culture,” said artist Stacey Rice, a junior specialist in the lab of Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey. “Then I wanted an insect that would be able to put its abdomen on the seat and have long enough legs to reach the pedals.”
She solved the dilemma by creating a “new species” of wasp and drawing the majority of votes from faculty, staff and students to win the annual contest. The result: “Hymenoptera on Bicycle.”
The t-shirt, now available to the public, went on sale at the Entomological Society of America meeting Nov. 15-18 in Minneapolis.
“I love the new design and think it translated very well on the t-shirts,” said EGSA treasurer and entomology graduate student Cindy Preto of the Frank Zalom lab. “ I expect it to be a great seller.”
In the Godfrey lab, Rice does research on Bagrada bugs (Bagrada hilaris), an invasive stink bug from Africa known for attacking cole crops, including broccoli, cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and mustard.
An alumnus of UC Davis, Rice received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences with a minor in veterinary entomology in March 2015. Her goal is to attend graduate school and receive her doctorate, either in integrated pest management or forensic entomology.
She became interested in both fields after enrolling in a “behavioral ecology of insects” course taught by Edwin Lewis, associate dean for agricultural sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and professor and former vice chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Rice, who grew up in Roseville and graduated from Oakmont High School, combines science with art. She enjoys creating ceramic art at the UC Davis Crafts Center.
EGSA has launched an online store where the newly designed t-shirt and other favorites can be ordered. For more information on the T-shirt, contact EGSA member Cindy Preto at firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds benefit EGSA.
It can be ordered in unisex heather navy with white lettering ($15 for small, medium, large, extra large and 2x); youth navy with white print ($15 for small, medium and large); and women's cut, heather red with light yellow print ($17 for small, medium and large).
EGSA Online Store
Preto, a former foster care youth, is an incredible success story who hurdled the obstacles heaved in her path and lets nothing—absolutely nothing--block her education, enthusiasm, research or goals.
She turned a disadvantaged childhood into a college diploma, and a college diploma into graduate school.
“I'm the first in my family to graduate from college and to attend graduate school,” said Preto, who calls Los Angeles “home.”
In June, UC Davis awarded her a bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology with an entomology minor in agricultural pest management. Now she's studying for her master's degree in entomology with major professor and integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“I first met Cindy in my Entomology 110 class, Arthropod Pest Management,” Zalom recalled. “She was usually the last student to leave the diagnostic labs each week, and one time she apologized to me for staying so long. She said that she had been out of school and working for a while so she wanted to get the most out of her classes.”
“She was a viticulture and enology major,” Zalom said. “We discussed having her do an undergrad research project on grapes, so she applied for and received a MURALS (Mentorship for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters and Science) scholarship which allowed her to conduct a project in my lab.”
Her project? The development of the invasive European grapevine moth. Preto conducted her research in the Contained Research Facility on campus with co-advisors Spencer Walse and Dave Bellamy of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. Like Zalom, they praised her “excellent work ethic and enthusiasm.”
On Saturday, Sept. 27 Preto will represent the Zalom lab at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house on “How To Be an Entomologist” from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.” She'll show visitors what leafhoppers and parasitized eggs look like.
“I am currently doing a biological survey of Virginia Creeper leafhopper in vineyards, looking at the population dynamics of all life stages, egg, nymphs, and adults,” Preto said.
The Virginia Creeper is one of three leafhoppers that she's studying in her population dynamics research. The others are the Western grape leafhopper and the Variegated leafhopper. They're all about the same size: 2 millimeters. In rearing eggs from nymphs to adults, she knows the distinguishing characteristics of each.
Zalom admires her enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism. “I was not seeking another grad student, but I couldn't help but accept Cindy into my lab when she decided that she would like to pursue a master's degree,” Zalom recalled. “Her project on leafhoppers associated with grapes fits her goals of working again in the grape industry when she completes her degree. Her enthusiasm for learning hasn't changed, and her research has been proceeding very well.”
Indeed it has. She's also drawing widespread attention as a scholar. She received a Peter J. Shields Scholarship in September 2011; a Wine Spectator scholarship in September 2012; the MURALS research scholarship in November 2012; a Syngenta Scholarship, June 2013; a Wine Spectator Scholarship in October 2013; and an Orange County Wine Society Scholarship in October 2013.
Preto also participates in the new UC Davis program, Guardian Professions Program or GPP, which is open to Masters/Ph.D students who are former foster care youth. And, she continues to participate in the Guardian Scholars Program or GSP, open to all UC Davis students who were cared for in foster homes. GSP students offer support for one another and also to current and former foster care youth in local high schools and community colleges by offering UC Davis campus tours, outreach, interactive activities, and speaking on panels to share their story in hopes of encouraging former foster care youth to seek higher education.
A world traveler, she has journeyed to all seven continents, all 50 states, and to 59 countries. "It can be inexpensive," she said. Along the way, she's taken scores of images of insects.
Preto takes a multi-disciplinary approach to not only her research but life in general, eager to know, learn and share. She figuratively skips to work, excitedly looking forward to new entomological finds. She's recorded and photographed not only leafhoppers, but assassin bugs, minute pirate bugs, stink bugs, lace bugs, mites, thrips, damselflies, dragonflies, moths, bees, wasps, spiders (jumping spiders and black widows), whiteflies and praying mantids.
When Preto is not out in the field monitoring insects, you'll usually find her reading about them or studying them in the lab—weekends included. “It's extremely fascinating,” she said.
Her career goal? To work for a vineyard in a pest and disease management position, preferably in an organic grape or sustainable vineyard. Another goal: to receive her Pest Control Adviser license.
“I love it,” she said.
Among those there to honor him were his graduate students Kelly Hamby, Jenifer Sedell and Rachel Graham; and Cindy Preto, a MURALS (Mentorship for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters and Science) scholar whom Zalom also mentors.
Hamby and Graham, with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, are studying for their doctoral degrees, and Sedell is a graduate student researcher with the Community Development and Geography Graduate Groups.
Preto isworking on an independent research project on European grave vine moth in his lab; she presented a paper on “The Chronological Distribution of European Grapevine Moth’s Life Stage” at the 24th annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference in April.
Also involved in the nomination were colleague and research collaborator James Grieshop, Cooperative Extension specialist emeritus, Department of Human and Community Development; postdoctoral researcher Margareta Lelea, Department of Entomology, and Department of Human and Community Development; and Hillary Thomas of the California Strawberry Commission, who received her doctorate at UC Davis; Zalom was her major professor.
In addition to Zalom, the Consortium for Women in Research singled out as outstanding mentors Cecilia Colombi, Department of Spanish and Portuguese; Diana Davis, Department of History; Annaliese Franz, Department of Chemistry; and Archana Venkatesan, Department of Comparative literature and religious studies.
The outstanding mentor award provides “recognition and research money to faculty who have been outstanding in the mentoring of women graduate students and postdocs at UC Davis,” according to consortium director/sociology professor Laura Grindstaff.
“From personal experience, Frank is an excellent mentor who cares for his students as people as well as professionals,” Hamby said. “From the first moment I stepped into his office, Frank has treated me as a colleague and valued my insight into our research as an equal. In the three years I have been advised by Frank, I have been introduced to over 40 professional entomologists and been to over 20 meetings. These meetings range from grant planning meetings to commodity extension meetings and professional entomological society meetings.”
See more about Frank Zalom on news blog.