Dr. May Berenbaum was recently elected to the position of Vice President of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and upon completing that post she will enter the position of President. She will preside over one of the biggest events for North American Entomologists in recent memory, the join ESA-ICE (International Congress of Entomology) meeting in Orlando, Florida! No pressure or anything May! In addition to these duties she is also faculty and head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
Dr. Berenbaum has been a prolific writer and proponent of entomological engagement and education. She even had a shout out by none other than bug-fan Chris Carter in an episode of The X-Files (one of my favorite shows) by naming the entomologist on screen Bambi Berenbaum. Quite the cheeky bugger he is.
Though I can’t say for sure, I do think this election reflects a growing change in the organization as well as within the sciences in general. Recently I attended a small entomology conference and noted that a large number of attendees were female. When you look at the incoming graduate students I see more and more women occupying desks. I first noted this during my forensic anthropology classes and field schools I attended/taught a few years ago. The dynamics are changing. Women are gaining in numbers within these fields and it’s about time this is recognized. The sciences have long been thought of as a boy’s club; and unfortunately many within still feel this way.
Slowly, but surely, this attitude is changing and the election of our fifth female president demonstrates this. Dr. Berenbaum is an amazing scientist, has been an exemplary figure within the entomological community for many years and will continue to be for many years to come. Congratulations Dr. Berenbaum!!! And congratulations to the people of the Entomological Society of America.
**To clarify how the electoral system works within the ESA, an individual is elected as VP-elect and they serve in that position for a year. Following that year, they assume the post of VP while the previous VP becomes President. The following year the VP assumes the Presidency and the former President becomes the Past-President. So, Dr. Berenbaum will begin her term as VP-elect at the 2014 meeting, will progress to VP in 2015, etc. Confused? Good…that’s how we roll…dung. Bug jokes! No one gets them but me…***