The Entomological Foundation is pleased to announce our 2018 award winners:
Medal of Honor – Ronda Hamm
The Entomological Foundation Medal of Honor was established in 2007 and is the highest award presented by the Foundation. It is given only to those who have made outstanding contributions toward fulfillment of the Foundation’s mission or entomological outreach.
Dr. Ronda Hamm is passionate about providing enriching science and agriculture experiences for everyone. She received her bachelor of science degree in agricultural education at Fresno State University. She received her master of science and doctorate degrees in entomology at Cornell University. She is the global academic relations manager for Corteva Agriscience. In this role, she develops and implements strategies and relationships to promote science, people, and innovations for the future of agriculture.
Throughout her career, Ronda has been a trailblazer in establishing outreach interactions between industry and educators. In an environment where outreach programs may not be prevalent, Ronda has reached thousands of individuals to spark their passion for entomology and continuously leads others. In 2016, Ronda was awarded the Distinguished Informal Educator Award from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for her work in founding three successful science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, two while in graduate school and one at Dow AgroSciences (now Corteva Agriscience), that continue to grow. The Science Ambassadors program inspires students to enter science careers, empowers teachers to bring insects and agricultural sciences into their classrooms, and engages adults on the importance of the agricultural industry. She created multiple hands-on activities that grow public awareness about the importance of insects. In the past seven years more than three quarters of a million people have been impacted by the program’s volunteers. The program has grown rapidly, with more than 500 Corteva Agriscience employees around the world participating in STEM outreach within their communities.
President’s Prize in Primary Education – Katie Peterson
This award recognizes educators who have gone beyond the traditional teaching methods by using insects as educational tools in grades K-6.
Katie Peterson’s passion for education grew because of influential teachers and educational experiences prior to her Ph.D. program at the University of Idaho. She has worked at an outdoor science school, a state zoo, a city zoo, a county nature center, and an environmental nonprofit organization. While in graduate school, Katie continues to pursue teaching and outreach opportunities; for example, she has been involved for the past three years in an informal education series, “Science Saturdays,” offered by the Arboretum Associates at the University of Idaho.
Katie’s teaching philosophy was created, molded, and modified by the many diverse teaching and educational opportunities she has coordinated and participated in. These teaching experiences range from formal to informal, inside classrooms to outdoors, and with students of many ages. These experiences have repeatedly revealed to Katie that learning can happen at any age, anywhere, and in any situation. Exceptional educators recognize these teachable moments and are ready to use them when presented.
Katie is from White Bear Lake, Minnesota. She received her B.A. in biology from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and an M.S. in natural resources from the University of Idaho, as well as an environmental education certificate. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in biology at the University of Idaho.
President’s Prize in Secondary Education – Chris Johnstone
This award recognizes educators who have gone beyond the traditional teaching methods by using insects as educational tools in grades 7-12.
Chris Johnstone is a high school science teacher in Vermont, where he lives with his partner and two young children. He has a master’s degree in biology and currently teaches introductory and advanced biology courses at Middlebury Union High School in Middlebury, Vermont. He has been teaching for 10 years and is passionate about project-based learning, a student-centered classroom, and integrating technology.
Chris was introduced to entomology as a work-study student in the Insect and Arthropod Collection at the University of New Hampshire. His curatorial duties helped him learn about systematics and the value of biological collections. He also learned a great deal by assisting graduate students and university researchers in the field, mostly collecting invertebrates from cold mountain streams in New Hampshire. To Chris, collecting and studying insects with his students aren’t just ways to learn biology, but are also opportunities to learn about the scientific process and consider the ethics of studying living things.