top of page

Professional Experiences

I have been studying ants since I was in high school, where I started an entomology club and ran a symposium at Entomology 2022 conference. Following High School, I got an internship at Discover Life in America during the summer. Now, I am studying ants and insect biodiversity at Morehead State University, in Morehead, Kentucky. Keep reading to find out more about my professional experiences and check out some of my older projects.

Current/Future Undergrad Projects

Read about my current and upcoming research projects at Morehead State University.

Myrmecina illustration.png
Asset 44.png

Kentucky Ant Checklist

I am currently in the process of sorting and Identifying at least 7000 specimens from northern Kentucky. After this is complete (and to some extent while it is being completed) I plan to start sampling some other Kentucky counties using various sampling techniques, but leaf litter sifting in particular.


Notodontid Moth Genetics

As part of a two year genetics project, I am embarking on a project to learn how to extract and compare insect DNA using Kentucky Notodontid moths. This project was planned by My undergraduate research Advisor, Dr. O'Keefe, and will be in collaboration with Him and 2 other faculty members at MSU. The purpose of this project is to familiarize myself with the tools used to create a phylogeny and study genetics.


KY Leaf Litter Insects

I am participating in a long term research project started by Dr. O'Keefe to study the leaf litter insects of Northern Kentucky. During Field season this helps familiarize me with pan traps and leaf litter sifting which are two skills I did not have whatsoever before I started here. This year we have collected a rather large number of Strumigenys, some Merope tuber (forcepflies/earwigflies), and a few Pelicinus polyurator wasps.

Check Out my AP Research Project

The Stinging Ants of Colorado

For my AP Research Project in High School, I created about 350 pages of content relating to the stinging ants of Colorado. the research paper encompasses the first 30 pages. This was my high school capstone project basically, it was a pretty good assessment of my skills and re-reading through the work, it becomes clear that more edits are required before it is completed. Despite its shortcomings (which can be expected from a high school capstone project produced with no guidance) the draft version is available below for you to peruse in case you wanted to see some examples of my illustrated keys (see Neivamyrmex, Manica, Pogonomyrmex, or Stenamma), 3D LiDAR scans of ant nests (see Pogonomyrmex), or just a report of Colorado ant checklist history. Please check it out!

Rosy Maple Moth

Internship at Discover Life in America

During the summer of 2022, I worked for Discover Life in America as an intern. During this internship I sampled a lot of insect diversity and collected a lot of ants. I also completed a short research project updating the ant taxonomy of the GSMNP ant collection. I also found the first record of the Louisiana Pygmy Snapjaw Ant (Stumigenys louisianae) in the national park.



Unseen Solenopsis Biodiversity

This year I will be presenting an infographic about the underreported biodiversity of Solenopsis thief ants in the new world at the ESA/ESC Entomology 2023 conference. The poster/infographic will be presented as a hard copy, but it will also have Augmented Reality elements available if you choose to investigate it using adobe aero.

Josiah Kilburn 698.jpg

High School Experiences

During my time in high school, I was able to participate in various professional experiences related to my field of interest (entomology). Including, but not limited to, starting an entomology club, leading a survey of a state park, running a symposium at Entomology 2021 conference, receiving a scholarship to attend bugshot Florida 2019 (which ended up getting postponed due to covid), and winning various awards for different aspects of my intended career. The following page showcases some of these experiences.

LHS Entomology Club

Back when I transferred to legend during my sophomore year of high school, I wanted to create a club where I could study entomology with my friends who were interested in entomology. I started by asking my science teacher, Josh Morris (who was semi-interested in entomology as he was into fly fishing) if he could sponsor our club. He agreed, so the other 5 founding members and I started the club (you can find more about them on the LHS Ento Page).

As I learned more about entomology we started planning and doing more events, we did a few things, including:

Collection Hikes

Insect Macro Photography

Black Light Nights

Pinning Classes

Insect Biology Lessons

Insect Trap Construction

Data Management

Pitfall monitoring

and Collection Sorting

Later we had to adapt to COVID and online/hybrid models. To do so, we created a Discord and started doing expert interviews like this one:









As soon as we started returning to school for hybrid learning we began to plan and change our club again, this time planning a lot more actual activities outside of school, like hikes around Colorado, or larger black light efforts. We also started planning for the 2021-2022 school year, including a symposium at Entomology 2021 which was slotted to take place in Denver, Colorado. I applied for symposia and we were accepted and are currently in the process of recording an on-demand symposium.





In LHS Entomology Club, We also did a logo contest every year. Here are some of the ones that we used, I designed these 2. I couldn't find our first logo though, it was a composite of two others.


katydid on the black light     


A pinned Darkling Beetle From AZ      


A Box of Beetles, awaiting               further sorting                                 


Image I took for Insect biology lesson   


Spreading a grasshopper from Sedalia  


Excited Florescence photography from one of the summer activities                    

Example of one of the data sheets I adapted for the club


Picture of hemipteran in moss from photography demonstration              

Spring 2019 Logo

Spring 2020 Logo

Josiah Kilburn 623.jpg


I Completed AP photography, Recieving a 5 on my investigation on ants and human's reliance and effect on them, to learn more about the investigation, click below.


Eagle Scout project: 

Ant Survey of 

Castlewood Canyon

For my Eagle Scout Project, I surveyed the ants of castlewood canyon with the help of around 25 volunteers. Groups went and aspirated ants in various habitats. Then, LHS Ento and I sorted the collected specimens and their corresponding labels. I then digitally recorded all the data, and Identified all the species from each sample. Finnally I built and Installed a display & wrote a project overview

A Spreadsheet With the Data From All Collections During the Project.

Photography Awards/Recognition

NEXT Art Gallery CMU

My art was displayed at the NEXT high school art gallery at Colorado Mesa University. All 3 Submitted Pieces were accepted


Scholasitcs Gold Key

This Photo won a gold key at the 2020 Colorado Scholasitcs Art And Writing Awards

2nd Place In Overall Gallery


Displayed In Gallery

Displayed In Gallery


 Scholastics Gold Key Winner 

RMNSP HS Photography Awards

This photo was a runner up in the nature section of the Rocky Mountain School of Photography High School Photography Contest.


Runner Up

NWC Instagram Photo Contest

My Photograph was selected as a display Image in Northwest College Wyoming in their January 2021 Master the moment challenge


Winner, January 2021Display IMG

2019-20 Art Sophomore of The Year

In the 2019-2020 school year, I recieved an award from legend for my photography, I chose this image to represent that award.


 Scholastics Gold Key Winner 

Scholasitcs Gold Keys & Silver Key

These Photos won a gold key at the 2021 Colorado Scholastic Art And Writing Awards.

The bottom photo won a silver key.


 Scholastics Gold Key Winner 


 Scholastics Silver Key Winner 

2021-22 Art Student of The Year

In the 2021-2022 school year, I received another award from Legend High School for my Outstanding work in Photography. Presented is another image to represent this award.


          Below are some of the places other than my website you can find my images:

Carebara longii

my work appears on various antweb pages.

Carebara longii

Myrmecological news blog:
Getting inspired by aspiring young myrmecologists






World Of Insects Calendar

My Image here was selected to be a grid inset image in the Entomology Society of America's  2022 world of insects calendar.


Symposium: Teens in Entomology

The LHS Entomology and I club are running a symposium at the Upcoming 2021 Entomology conference in Denver. We will be speaking about the lack of engagement for high schoolers in entomology and suggesting methods to get more teens involved.


Collection Tours

To seek out further connections and learning opportunities in Entomology, I have visited various entomology collections around the US. 


California Academy Of Sciences


Denver Museum of Nature and Science


Texas A&M University


DMNS (with LHS Ento)

bottom of page