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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Contingent at Bug Fest Inspire Kids

Four UALR undergraduates and two graduate students transmitted their intellectual curiosity about bugs to a record 3,000 area school children at the Arkansas Entomology Society annual meeting and Insect Festival this weekend in Northwest Arkansas.

In between helping kids play with giant bugs, the students presented their research ranging from mentions of insects in 15th century manuscripts to comparisons of tree-dwelling ant colonies in Central American rainforests.

The festival is organized every other year by the Department of Entomology at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

UALR students presenting research at the society’s meeting included graduate student Eileen Turan, who also is an adjunct faculty member in the art department and coordinator of the Donaghey Scholars Program,  presented, “Insects in 15th Century Illuminated Manuscripts.”

Donaghey Scholar Sophie King, a biology major, presented her paper, “Substrate affects foraging speed in Crematogaster spp. ants”

Biology graduate student Robin Verble presented, “Leaf litter communities are impacted by prescribed fire.” Petrus Moreira, a biology major and a Donaghey Scholar, presented “A comparison of arboreal ant communities in temperate and tropical forests”

Other UALR students attending the festival and conference were Nicole Freeman, Theo Sumnicht, and Ashley Glenn — all biology graduate students.

“In all, UALR clearly had the highest representation in terms of volunteers and participants at the festival and conference of any school, other than host school UAF,” said Dr. Stephen Yanoviak, assistant professor of biology. “We made an outstanding showing, and the students received a flood of positive comments regarding their talks.”