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.
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!
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.
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:
Insect Macro Photography
Black Light Nights
Insect Biology Lessons
Insect Trap Construction
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
Eagle Scout project:
Ant Survey of
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.
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.
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:
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.
To seek out further connections and learning opportunities in Entomology, I have visited various entomology collections around the US.