The Bee Informed Partnership is a dynamic, interdisciplinary team who is passionate about saving honey bees. Our group consists of laboratory diagnostic experts, technical transfer team specialists, and IT development. Our team also includes scientists, grant writers and analysts who help further our mission. Our Board includes stakeholders who are vested in our goals and who make sure that we are leading the industry with our programs and services. We are spread out all over the US but remain inextricably linked as a family to make our services as valuable to the beekeepers and researchers as possible.
Annette “Net” Meredith
Net Meredith joins the Bee Informed Partnership after serving many years in the non-profit and public sectors working in sustainability and ecology. As Executive Director she works with BIP staff, the Board of Directors, beekeepers and other external stakeholders to support BIP’s vital work in honey bee health. Net was first introduced to the exciting world of bees in graduate school. Years ago, fieldwork with the Colorado Natural Heritage Program and The Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch led her to doctoral research working with farmers to promote native bees and other pollinators on working agricultural lands in the Mid-Atlantic. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and a M.S. in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from University of Maryland and a B.A. from University of Michigan in addition to post-bachelors coursework from Colorado State University.
As the Bee Informed Partnership's Science Coordinator, Nathalie is based out of the University of Maryland’s Entomology Department where she completed her PhD working under Dennis vanEngelsdorp in 2017. She previously obtained a Master in Biology from Universite Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and a Master Research in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation from Imperial College London (UK). Skilled in experimental design, data analysis, and modelling, her research interests range from fundamental population dynamics and animal behavior to applied work in epidemiology. Self-described R-enthusiast, and beekeeper since 2009.
Anne Marie Fauvel
Technical Transfer Team Coordinator
Anne Marie is fascinated by honey bees and the people who care for them. Even though she taught Biology, Environmental and Food Systems Studies for years, she focused her research interests on honey bees and more specifically on developing better tools to study them. Anne Marie worked on a few projects in collaboration with BIP and enjoyed it so much that she jumped at the opportunity to join the team full time. She now thoroughly enjoys living, what she likes to call a full BIP life, facilitating collaboration between commercial beekeepers, BIP’s highly specialized Tech Team Experts in the field, the various research institutions, and industry. She has not known a dull moment since!
Grant and Communications Coordinator
A California native now residing near Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada. Jeri received her B.S. degree in Conservation and Resource Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she first fell in love with fungi, leading her to pursue her Ph.D. at Duke University to study the ecology of plant-fungal interactions. She went on to complete postdoctoral fellowships at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden, and the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada before settling at the base of the beautiful Bruce Peninsula. What began as a purchase of two honey bee colonies to improve her vegetable garden’s productivity, quickly became her primary passion! Since finding the wonderful world of beekeeping a decade ago, Jeri has had the opportunity to run a small beekeeping business and work with a commercial beekeeping operation before joining the BIP team. At BIP she is able to combine her love for working hands-on with bees and beekeepers with her passion for communicating the important research and educational outreach BIP does to researchers, policy makers, beekeepers and the general public.
Technical Transfer Team
Texas Honey Bee Health Field Specialist
Dan Aurell works with Texas-based migratory beekeepers to help them monitor the health of their colonies. He is working to better understand the stress on colonies that comes from pests and pathogens, and figuring out improved ways to mitigate their impact. Before coming to BIP, he worked in commercial beekeeping and previously worked in other areas of agriculture. Dan grew up in Sweden and Atlantic Canada and has a B.S. in Biology from Acadia University. When he is not working with bees, he enjoys playing guitar, cooking, and studying languages.
California Honey Bee Health Field Specialist
After receiving a Master’s degree in computer science from Michigan State, Matt moved to Golden, Colorado where he worked in the telecom industry as a software engineer for 25 years. He started keeping bees at the hobby level in 2011, which quickly became his passion (some have called it his obsession). He serves as director of Mountain High Beekeepers Cooperative and after playing an essential role in founding the Colorado Professional Beekeepers Association, he continues to provide support for the group. Matt joined the Tech Transfer Team in California in 2019 where he works closely with commercial beekeepers in the region to assist with colony assessments, disease monitoring, hygienic testing and sampling for Varroa, Nosema, pesticides, and viruses. He then uses the information collected to work alongside beekeepers by acting as an interpreter of colony data to improve survivorship. He is excited to expand his knowledge in evidence-based beekeeping practices and grow his understanding of honey bee health.
Pacific Northwest Honey Bee Health Field Specialist
As the Honey Bee Health Field Specialist for the Pacific Northwest, Ben works with migratory beekeepers from around the region and helps monitor diseases, pest loads, and colony health. Most of his experience with commercial beekeeping comes from his time working with BIP in Northern California (2013-2017), where he helped queen breeders select stock and test for hygienic behavior. It has been fascinating to observe and compare the different management strategies used by commercial beekeepers in the western US, and he has learned there are many different ways to run a successful commercial operation. Ben is especially interested in Varroa control, and brood disease identification and treatment. His interest in bees began much earlier working on his family’s apiary/organic vegetable farm in Wisconsin, and became further immersed while caretaking the farm for a couple years and managing the hives. Ben received a B.A. in Anthropology and Global Studies from Ripon College in 2004, and in previous lives worked as a Logistics Manager for the Naval Underwater Construction Team and an international English teacher. When not in the bees, Ben spends his time playing the tuba and trombone in a variety of musical genres, and propagating rare plants.
California Honey Bee Health Field Specialist
Rob currently works out of UC-Davis and previously worked out of the Butte County Cooperative Extension in Oroville, CA as a Crop Protection Agent. He received his B.S. in biology from Delaware Valley College, PA. There he attained a majority of his entomological knowledge from Dr. Chris Tipping and Dr. Robert Berthold. After graduation, Rob was an apiary inspector for 2 years at the Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania. In his third year there, he still inspected some colonies but mainly focused on The Pennsylvania Native Bee Survey (PANBS) where he pinned, labeled, entered data and identified native bees to genus and species. Leo Donavall assisted him in learning the basics on positive identifications of the native bees. Around the same time Rob began working on coordinating kit construction and distribution for the APHIS National Honey Bee Survey. He was also fortunate to conduct many of these surveys with fellow co-worker Mike Andree and Nathan Rice of USDA/ARS throughout California. All of these experiences have led Rob to where he is today, working to assist beekeepers in maintaining genetic diverse colonies resistant to parasites while reducing the use of chemical treatments in colonies. The BIP Diagnostic Lab at the University of MD is in an integral part of this process by generating reports in which BIP can track change and report to beekeepers vital information in a timely manner which may influence their treatment decisions.
Midwest Honey Bee Health Field Specialist
Nelson’s passion for honey bees and beekeeping has been growing since 2006. He initially waded into beekeeping at the hobbyist level lending a helping hand to a close friend’s backyard operation. His interest grew exponentially with each trip into the apiary, eventually acquiring his own colonies. In 2017, a professional opportunity to conduct honey bee health research presented itself at Purina Farms in Gray Summit, MO. The research led to the development of a protein supplement for commercial beekeepers to support larval development and maintain colony health during transport and/or dormant blooming seasons. Nelson completed his degree in Integrative Studies focusing on Environmental Science and Business Management from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is truly excited to join the Bee Informed Partnership to help provide commercial beekeepers with the data and information they seek in order to make best-practice yard management decisions and implement solutions for sustainable and healthy beekeeping operations.
Great Lakes Honey Bee Health Field Specialist
Dan was introduced to honey bees in 2005 while in New Zealand on a working holiday, and he has been consumed with caring for and learning about them ever since. Prior to joining BIP, Dan was a commercial beekeeper in New Zealand and western Canada where he was fortunate to gain a diversity of beekeeping experience across a variety of climates and agricultural landscapes. He joined BIP in 2014 as a Field Specialist in the Pacific Northwest and spent 3 years working with beekeepers across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The BIP Tech Transfer Team expansion to the Great Lakes region began in 2017 to provide service to beekeepers based in Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York as well as wintering locations in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Moving to this new region has allowed Dan to carry on working with bees and beekeepers while returning to his home state of Michigan. Dan was born in Grand Rapids, raised in Grand Haven, and studied in Ann Arbor, so the opportunity to serve the beekeeping community in Michigan is especially satisfying. His family roots run deep in Michigan horticulture, and he looks forward to continuing that tradition by working to promote colony health and support local agriculture.
Information Technology & Database Engineer
Michaela is based at the University of Tennessee where she does database and web application programming plus general information technology support for the Bee Informed Partnership. She has a Master’s degree in Entomology and has been a beekeeper since the late 1990s. Michaela has worked in IT at the University since the early 90s and entered into honey bee Extension with the desire to apply her computing experience to the growing information needs of the honey bee industry. She has worked on numerous USDA projects in response to the decline in bee health since 2008 and has worked with BIP since 2011.
Nicolas is a Software Engineer from Colombia, currently located in Mexico City. He received his master's degree at Grand Valley State University (Michigan), where he had the opportunity of working on BIP's hive scales project for several years during his studies and thesis work of a web-based, medical image tagging tool. Before BIP, he had not paid much mind to bees mostly because they weren't on his radar. Only now does he realize how much he had been missing. Learning about them, and working alongside "Bee People" has been a fascinating journey which he hopes he'll be able to continue for a long time.
Hive Scale Web/API Interface Lead
Jonathan Engelsma is a Professor of computer science at Grand Valley State University, where he is responsible for the Bee Informed Partnership’s hive scale portal implementation. Jonathan lead’s GVSU’s Mobile Applications and Services Laboratory and has numerous publications and patents in mobile computing. Dr. Engelsma earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University in 1993. He has over two decades of industry experience, including 16 years in various research and development positions with Motorola. Jonathan began keeping bees as a high school student in the 1980s, and today with his wife Mieke, maintains a small sideline beekeeping operation in the W. Michigan area.
James T. Wilkes is a Professor of computer science at Appalachian State University, teaching computer science courses and consulting on beekeeping data and technology related research, including the Bee Informed Partnership, being a founding member of the BIP IT team, and bee data projects in the Center for Analytics Research and Education (CARE). James received an MS (1989) and PhD (1994) in computer science from Duke University followed by an academic career at Appalachian that included an 11 year term as chair of the Department of Computer Science from 2006-2017. James’ father kept bees, so he grew up with bees in his backyard and started keeping his own bees in the year 2000, soon developing a thriving sideliner operation with his family as part of their Faith Mountain Farm business, and his son Sullivan now owns the bee operation, which is used in many of the research projects. James is founder and CEO of Hive Tracks, where he has led the research and development of technology solutions for beekeepers worldwide since 2009.
As a Faculty Research Specialist and Lab Manager, Heather Eversole is an integral part of the Bee Diagnostic team located at the University of Maryland, College Park. Since 2011, she has managed a high throughput diagnostic honey bee lab for Bee Informed Partnership and APHIS National Honey Bee Survey. This primarily involves processing thousands of samples each year collected from BIP field specialists and state apiarists. She wears many hats including generating reports, sampling kit builds, 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 and water quality 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.
APHIS National Survey Coordinator
Rachel is a faculty research specialist at the University of Maryland in the vanEngelsdorp Honey Bee Lab. She is the project coordinator for the USDA APHIS National Honey Bee Pests and Disease Survey, a comprehensive examination of colony health across the United States. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Wesley College (DE), where she cultivated her passion for nature and all things honey bees. Outside of work, Rachel manages her own "brood" of two future beekeepers.
Faculty Research Specialist
Andrew Garavito is the apiary manager for the vanEngelsdorp Honey Bee Lab at University of Maryland. He helps with hive management, in-hive sampling, and the preparation of hive samples to be tested for multiple graduate student projects. He graduated from UMD with a B.S. in General Biology, and was offered a position in the vanEngelsdorp lab, where he completed his Masters in Entomology.
Assistant Lab Manager
Rachel Kuipers is a laboratory research assistant at the University of Maryland in the vanEngelsdorp Honey Bee Lab. Her roles in the lab include, among other things, processing samples that come through the lab, supporting undergraduate student employees, coordinating schedules, and running BIP's Instagram and Twitter accounts. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.
Kelly Kulhanek is a Ph.D student studying honey bee health and management practices with the vanEngelsdorp lab at the University of Maryland. Kelly’s path to honey bees began by studying native bees as a research assistant in Claire Kremen’s lab at UC Berkeley. She then spent a field season with the USGS in North Dakota studying honey bee health and landscape change and became completely hooked on honey bees. She is studying honey bee health on a nationwide scale through the Sentinel Apiary Project. She also hopes to help develop and field validate best management practices to improve colony health and survival. She is excited to work with the BIP Team and beekeepers to make a lasting impact on the ways we manage and support honey bees and agriculture.
Accounts Receivable and Customer Relations Coordinator
Eric was born and raised in Silver Spring, MD. After a short period studying Adventure Sports with a focus on white water kayaking, he turned to a life of sales and marketing in the fitness industry and began fitness coaching. He later moved into wine sales for a local winery. After some time, he decided to leave the work-force to stay at home with his newborn daughter and shortly after he finally evolved into a beekeeper. His passion for honey bees and edible landscaping got him headed down the road to starting his own small apiary management business, and that's when his friend Dan introduced him to BIP! Besides beekeeping, Eric enjoys being in the woods, traveling with his family, making friends, and trying new things. He will eat just about anything considered slightly edible; bugs, plants, and even the most adventurous home cooking... except for Royal Jelly (he found out he is allergic to this after eating it). He also loves a good hug!
FACULTY RESEARCH SPECIALIST, MOLECULAR LAB
Ashrafun Nessa performs multiple tasks relating to viral analysis for the USDA APHIS National Honey Bee Pests and Disease Survey and other multiple BIP projects at the University of Maryland in the vanEngelsdorp Honey Bee Lab. Prior joining to the BIP team she worked five years in Honeybee Lab at Oregon State University on honeybee health, nutrition, and pollination. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Zoology with an emphasis on Entomology from Rajshahi University in Bangladesh. Also, she completed some graduate work on Biotechnology at East Carolina University, North Carolina. Ashrafun joined the BIP team in 2016. She is excited to be a part of the diverse BIP team and feels proud working in a field that has a huge positive impact on beekeepers as well as in the world. Ashrafun loves what she is doing. She enjoys honey on her French toast and in her morning tea.
Sentinel Apiary Program Coordinator
Dan Reynolds collaborates with beekeepers as the co-head of the Sentinel Apiary Program, as well as processes samples for the Bee Informed Partnership and APHIS National Honey Bee Survey. He also handles administrative work to help run the Honey Bee Lab and help coordinate BIP Tech Teams. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and later became interested in bees and hasn’t looked back. He enjoys field work and hands-on bee experience, and hopes to keep some colonies of his own as soon as he can. He joined BIP in 2016 hoping to help sustain honey bee health on a national scale by working closely with beekeepers to improve colony health and management. In addition to beekeeping, he enjoys spending time outdoors and exploring the backcountry of our National Parks.
Nathan is the one on the right. A self proclaimed "Lab Monkey," Nathan has a deep interest in biological sciences and biochemistry. He joined BIP in 2017 to help process samples for the USDA APHIS National Honey Bee Survey, and additionally helps process samples for multiple other projects. He also helps maintain the labs and websites. Nathan began working with honey bees as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Maryland. Working with BIP allows Nathan to pursue two passions: studying life and being helpful.