Created in 1923 the Virginia Academy of Science (VAS) is an organization that promotes STEM research and education throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The organization provides funding for research projects centered in Virginia, and the annual meetings serve as platform for presenting research results. Each year the meeting provides an update on many different research efforts taking place at various Virginia universities and organizations. In addition to the meetings, the VAS publishes peer reviewed research and the presentation abstracts from the meeting in the Virginia Journal of Science. The Virginia Junior Academy of Science (VJAS) is also supported by VAS, and the VJAS meeting coincides with the annual VAS meeting.
This year the Entomology Department served as ambassadors for Virginia Tech at the VAS meeting held at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk Virginia. Students from Dr. Kuhar, Dr. Taylor, and Dr. Pfeiffer’s labs presented on a wide range of topics relevant to entomology throughout the Commonwealth, ranging from stink bugs and spotted lanternfly to insect pests of industrial hemp. Dr. Thomas Kuhar expressed the importance of graduate students participating in the meeting when he said, “It is a unique opportunity to engage with scientists from all fields as well as colleagues from other institutions in the Commonwealth. It is also a good venue for professional development of students. They have opportunities to practice research presentations and present them to a different audience.” In addition to presenting their research our students also contributed to the VJAS serving as judges and officers for sections within the junior meeting.