Lab director

Sam WardAssistant Professor of Forest EntomologyPhD in Entomology (Minor: Biostatistics), University of Minnesota, Twin CitiesMS in Entomology, University of Minnesota, Twin CitiesBS in Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity, University of California, Davis 

Sam's research and teaching are centered around the ecology and management of native and non-native insects. Aside from work, Sam enjoys spending time with his wife (Becca), their sons (Owen and Callum), running, playing soccer, and hiking with the family dogs (Ani and Lulu).

Ward CV - Feb 2021 

ward.1792 'at'

OSU Department of Entomology Profile

lab members

Grace Amponsah, MS Student

BS Earth University (Limon, Costa Rica), Licentiate Degree in Agriculture 

Grace is pursuing a MS in Environmental Studies (Environmental  Studies Graduate Program) through the Department of Entomology. Her research efforts aim to optimize the timing of treatments to slow the spread of spongy moth. Grace enjoys kizomba dancing, climate activism, language acquisition, cooking, and travel. 

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Thomas Paul, PhD student

MS in Entomology, Mississippi State UniversityBS in Biology (Minor: Chemistry), Valparaiso University

Tom is pursuing a PhD in Entomology, researching drivers of global patterns of invasion by insects closely associated with trade. Outside of entomology and learning about critters, Tom plays his fair share of video games, spends time playing cello, and loves to hike and ID wildflowers along the way.

paul.1187 'at'

Jessi Raubenolt, MS Student

Co-advised with Dr. Kayla PerryBS in Environmental Science/Biology, Ashland University

Jessi is researching ambrosia beetle thermal biology and biosecurity of the wood packaging materials pathway. Outside work and school, she enjoys hiking, collecting and pinning insects, playing video games, and spending time with her pets!

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Afsoon Sabet, PhD student

Co-advised with Dr. Risa PesapaneMS in Entomology, Mississippi State UniversityBS in Molecular Biology, West Virginia UniversityBA in Music, West Virginia University

Afsoon is pursuing a PhD in Entomology, investigating hard tick ecology and behavior with a focus on tick questing. She is broadly interested in vector-borne diseases and public health. In her spare time, Afsoon enjoys reading and spending time outdoors.

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Amber Stiller, MS Student

BS in Biology (Minor: Chemistry), University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Amber is pursuing a MS in Entomology, investigating the biological control of crapemyrtle bark scale, a common landscape pest of the southeastern US. She is most interested in urban tree entomology and how biological control may be incorporated into this system. Outside of the lab, Amber enjoys hiking, playing musical instruments, and reading.

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Elisabeth Mumper, Undergraduate researcher

Elisabeth is pursuing a BS in Environmental Science, with a specialization in Ecosystem Restoration. Outside of schoolwork, she enjoys participating in club events, such as fish trapping and different forms of sampling, as well as hiking and working out.

MK Ruff, Undergraduate researcher

MK is pursuing a BS in Environmental Science, with a focus in Ecosystem Restoration. In her free time, she enjoys trail running/hiking, reading or watching movies, and traveling to new locations.

LAb alumni

Graduate students

  • Erika Wright (MS in Entomology, Mississippi State University): PhD student with Mary Gardiner at Ohio State University.
  • Kristy McAndrew (PhD in Entomology, Mississippi State University): Assistant Professor of Extension Forestry, Department of Forestry, Mississippi State University (beginning July 1, 2024)

Undergraduate students

  • Meg Kilgore (Mississippi State University)
  • Ariadna Santos Chaves (Mississippi State University)

Research technicians

  • David Long (Mississippi State University)

High school students

  • Isaac Riggins (Starkville High School)

Lab Photos Archive

The LEAFE Lab at the 2021 Mississippi Entomological Association Meeting

Left to Right: Afsoon, Kristy, Sam, Erika, Tom