Why I Became an Entomologist

As far back as I can remember I have always loved nature. I was fascinated by the animals and I was constantly enthralled by the things I could find and do outdoors. As a young kid I enjoyed playing with my toy animals and even created my own club, the Animal, Insect, and Dinosaur Lover club, of which I was the sole member for many years until my nephew Aidan joined. As I grew up, I told my family I wanted to be a zoologist so I could travel the world studying animals in their native habitats.

However, in college there was limited zoology/organismal oriented courses that I could take in the small, private liberal arts university I was attending in Illinois. This caused me to question what I wanted to do, but I ended up back at my love of nature and decided to major in biology despite knowing exactly what I wanted to do for a career. My dad recommended I read a book, E.O. Wilson’s Letters to a Young Scientist. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I caught the bug for bugs. I began thinking about getting a career in entomology, the branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects, and in particular I wanted to follow E.O. Wilson and work with ants, which I became instantly interested in. However, not being able to take an entomology course and being unsure if it was the right path for me, after graduation I took a two year break, where my then girlfriend (and now awesome and supportive wife) and I moved to Oregon.

While in Oregon, I worked a couple of jobs not in the field of biology, while also continuing to read about insects and in particular myrmecology, the study of ants. Eventually, because I was so fascinated with insects and their incredible diversity, bizarre adaptations, and life cycles, I finally decided it was time to go back to school and follow my passion to work with insects. I am drawn to entomology largely due to the many unknowns, not only facts but also species of insect not known or described.

I am currently getting my Masters degree focusing on entomology and ecology. I am enjoying the experience and I look forward to a career learning about and working with insects. I decided to create this blog to share my passion of insects with others, to help educate and spark the interest of future scientists, and to share the beauty and wonder of the small and often overlooked, yet vitally important invertebrate species.


Stay tuned for upcoming posts on the ecology and evolution of ants and other cool insects that catch my interest.




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