This is a team of hardworking, versatile trained members who conduct the daily laboratory analysis, reporting, experiments and services essential to the Bee Informed Partnership. Their roles include supporting all the technical transfer teams, conducting and analyzing the annual national winter loss, management, and pollinator surveys, and performing any adjunct studies that are derived from hypotheses resulting from the national surveys.
Rachel Bozarth, University of Maryland, Faculty Research Assistant
Rachel Bozarth works for the University of Maryland as a research assistant analyzing honey bee alcohol samples from the Bee Informed Partnership and the APHIS National Honey bee Survey. She specializes in Nosema spore counts, but also enjoys field work in the USDA BRL bee yards. She received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Wesley College and wants to continue her education in Entomology and beekeeping. Before coming to BIP, she worked on a variety of projects at UMD including scouting corn fields for brown marmorated stink bug, testing the effectiveness of SHB traps and assisting with horticulture research at the UMD Wye Research Center.
She joined BIP in 2012 because “I want to help make the world a better place, and BIP is doing just that, one bee at a time!”. Read her blog here.
Heather Eversole, University of Maryland, Faculty Research Assistant
As a Faculty Research Assistant, Heather Eversole is a part of the Bee Diagnostic team located at the University of Maryland, College Park. She processes samples for the Bee Informed Partnership and APHIS National Honey Bee Survey, primarily seeking out the parasitic mite, Varroa. She wears many hats including generating reports, managing lab functions as well as assisting undergraduates with honey bee related projects. Prior to her honey bee research interests, she took part in submerged aquatic vegetation research projects located on the Chesapeake Bay as well as field work involving mangroves in Belize and Florida. She received her bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Maryland.
She joined BIP in 2011 because “I had little experience with bees and this was a great opputunity to expand on that knowledge”. Read her blog here.
Andrew Garavito, University of Maryland, Faculty Research Assistant
Andrew’s interest in Honey bees began while working as a field technician for Dr. Galen Dively. He has helped with hive management, in-hive sampling, and the preparation of hive samples to be tested for Imidacloprid. During his last semester as an undergraduate student, he had the opportunity to intern in the vanEngelsdorp lab at UMD. He graduated from UMD with a BS in General Biology, and was offered a position in the vanEngelsdorp lab and the Bee Informed Partnership.
Garavito joined BIP in 2012 because “It seemed like a great way to pursue my interest in honey bees, while being a part of the effort to help beekeepers.”
Marjorie Gurganus, North Carolina State University, Research Associate, Tarpy Lab
I work as a research associate analyzing honey bee samples for the presence of honey bee viruses. I have a B.S. in Entomology from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Genetics from NCSU. I started keeping bees in 2009 and have had one to twelve hives since then. I am very active in wildlife and pet rescue. So when I learned our bees were suffering great losses, I wanted to help save them too. Having an entomology degree, I was not afraid of bees and hymenoptera was one of my favorite orders. My previous research was on Drosophila, mapping genes for pesticide resistance, bristle number, and genotype by environment (temperature) interaction.
Grace Kunkel, University of Maryland, Faculty Research Assistant
Grace Kunkel is a faculty research assistant at the University of Maryland helping out with the Bee Informed Partnership. Before working with BIP she was just a few doors away from the vanEngelsdorp lab working my on Master’s degree in entomology. She first became interested in bees through a beekeeping course, and helping out with honeybee field studies at UMD as an undergraduate. She knew she wanted to keep studying bees from the first time she opened a hive and got to watch the bees interact!
Kunkel joined BIP in 2013 because “ I am really excited to now be working with BIP and in particular corresponding with beekeepers from around the country.”
Meghan McConnell, University of Maryland, Faculty Research Assistant
Meghan McConnell graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Technology. Before coming to the Bee Informed Partnership she interned with the USDA for a year working with invasive plant species, submerged aquatic vegetation and pollinators. She also worked for a short time at the Institute of Applied Agriculture as an Undergraduate Technology Apprentice. During her four years at UMD she fell in love with insects, pollinators, and spiders and she hopes to continue her education in Entomology.
McConnell joined BIP in 2012 because “I was interested in doing research on pollinators and looking at human impacts on them and their benefits to our ecosystem”.
Karen Rennich, University of Maryland, Project Manager
As the Project Manager of the Bee Informed Partnership and the APHIS National Survey, Karen Rennich is based out of the University of Maryland’s Entomology Department. She works closely with all members of the BIP team and other organizations throughout the U.S. and gets to tackle everything from data analysis to field work and all jobs in between to keep BIP’s goals in sight and to keep the project moving forward. She has a B.S. in Ocean Engineering from Purdue University and an M.S. in Ocean Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. She designed and worked on large, underwater Navy sensor systems while she was employed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for 14 years. She has been a beekeeper for 7 years and manages 12 colonies at home.
Rennich joined BIP in early January 2011 because, “I wanted to be involved in moving this wonderful idea from paper to reality.” Read her blog here.
Gary Reuter, University of Minnesota, Research Technician
Gary Reuter is a research technician at the Bee Lab at the University of Minnesota. He maintains the research colonies, helps train and work with students in the field, designs and builds specialty equipment and speaks to beekeeping, student and civic groups. . He is a past president of both Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association and Wisconsin Honey Producers Association and director of the American Beekeeping Federation, and remains active in these groups. He still finds time to mange his own colonies, while learning to blacksmith, maintaining an orchard, and helping his wife raise sheep.
Karen Roccasecca, University of Maryland, Assistant Project Manager
“What are you most looking forward to with the Bee Informed Project?” “I am looking forward to working with a great group of people to help solve some of the problems facing the honey bee.” “What honey bee attributes would you most like to have?” “I would love to be able to fly and see the world from a honey bee’s point of view!”
Angela Spleen, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Epidemiologist Research Assistant
Angela Spleen is currently a doctoral student in the Biobehavioral Health Program at Penn State University. She works as an epidemiologist research assistant for the Bee Informed Partnership. Her work at BIP focuses on the analysis of annual winter colony loss data. She assists in the publication of the annual winter colony loss report, including mapping state losses and assessing trends in winter colony loss. Her background includes a B.S. in Biology from Kutztown University and a M.S. in Public Health Sciences from the Penn State University College of Medicine.
Spleen joined BIP in 2011 because “my work on the annual winter colony loss surveys will help assess the magnitude of and identify factors associated with colony loss.”
Nathalie Steinhauer, University of Maryland
Nathalie Steinhauer is a PhD student working under Dennis vanEngelsdorp as part of the BIP team, based in the University of Maryland’s Entomology Department. She has a Master in Biology from Universite Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and a Master Research in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation from Imperial College London (UK). Her research interests range from fundamental evolution and population dynamics to applied work in conservation, with a keen appeal to ecological perspectives and to modeling. She will be conducing statistical and epidemiological studies on the data collected from the management surveys of the Bee Informed Partnership and analyzing the results for the use of BIP and beekeepers everywhere.
Steinhauer joined BIP in 2012 because, “this is where you want to be to try and make a difference in honey bee health”
Robyn Underwood, University of Maryland, Assistant Project Manager
As an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, Robyn Underwood was amazed to find a course called Apidologie, a course about just one species – the honey bee! She took it and loved every minute of lecture and especially enjoyed the lab where she suited up and headed to the apiary for 3 hours every Friday afternoon. Seventeen years later and with a PhD in Entomology focusing on Varroa mite control, she is thrilled to still be learning new things about honey bees! She also gets to share her enthusiasm for biology as an Assistant Professor at Kutztown University. She is proud to be a part of the Bee Informed Partnership where she helps in survey writing, editing, and data collection. She also assists in writing reports of results of the survey as well as scientific journal articles.
Underwood joined BIP before it even existed, working with Dennis vanEngelsdorp et al. on winter loss surveys and helping to apply for the funding that made BIP possible.
Michael Wilson works in Extension for the University of Tennessee providing technical support for beeinformed.org andeXtension.org/bee_health. This includes database programming for a login interface to enter and edit hive sampling data, management survey reporting, and other IT support needs of the project.
Wilson joined BIP in 2011 because “I wanted to apply my experience in computing, beekeeping, and entomology to help move the project forward and learn more about what affects bee health and how we can improve the situation.”