UI professor to head national society

URBANA — University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum is slated to become president of the Entomological Society of America in 2016.

Berenbaum, professor and head of the UI Department of Entomology, was recently elected vice president-elect of the society. After serving in that capacity in 2014, she will be vice president in 2015 and then society president in 2016.

The Urbana professor will be the fifth female president in the history of the entomological society, according to the organization.

"I will be honored to help ensure that ESA serves as an effective voice of entomology as a science, and that ESA remains uniquely useful to all insect biologists," Berenbaum said in a release.

"Many of the world's most pressing environmental challenges, including climate change, emerging infectious diseases, invasive species, and accelerating biodiversity losses, involve arthropods, and entomological expertise should become increasingly valuable for American science competitiveness. Thus, ESA should continue its efforts to increase its national impact on science policy," she said.

Berenbaum has been a member of the society since 1980, a fellow since 2002 and has received several awards over the years from the group. In 2010, she won the AAAS Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award, and in 2011 she won the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.

"Professor Berenbaum has done more to advance the field of entomology and explain the significance than nearly any other researcher today," Owen Lind, chair of the Tyler Prize executive committee, said that year.

She is the author of many books, including "Buzzwords: A Scientist Muses on Sex, Bugs, and Rock 'n' Roll," "Bugs in the System: Insects and Their Impact on Human Affairs" and "The Earwig's Tail: A Modern Bestiary of Multi-legged Legends." Berenbaum also established the Insect Fear Film Festival on campus.

Founded in 1889, the Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. More information is available at http://www.entsoc.org.

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