Staff

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.

Executive Staff

Karen Rennich

Karen Rennich

Executive Director

As the Executive Director of the Bee Informed Partnership and the University of Maryland Honey Bee Lab Project Manager, Karen Rennich is based out of the University of Maryland’s Entomology Department. She works closely on all aspects from tech team members, diagnostic lab, IT team, other organizations throughout the U.S. and the BIP Board. She 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 organization 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 12 years and manages 11 colonies at home (and 6 chickens who do not help at all with the beekeeping).

Nathalie Steinhauer

Nathalie Steinhauer

Science Coordinator

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

Anne Marie Fauvel

Technical Transfer Team Coordinator

I am fascinated by honey bees and the people who care for them. Even though I taught Biology, Environmental and Food Systems Studies for years, I focussed my research interests on honey bees and more specifically on developing better tools to study them. I worked on a few projects in collaboration with BIP and I enjoyed it so much that I jumped at the opportunity to join the team full time. I now thoroughly enjoy living, what I like to call a full BIP life, facilitating collaboration between commercial beekeepers, our highly specialized Tech Team Experts in the field, the various research institutions, and industry. I have not known a dull moment since!

Jeri Parrent

Jeri Parrent

Grant Program Coordinator

A California native now residing near Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada. I received my B.S. degree in Conservation and Resource Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where I first fell in love with fungi, leading me to pursue my Ph.D. at Duke University to study the ecology of plant-fungal interactions. I 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 my vegetable garden’s productivity, quickly became my primary passion! Since finding the wonderful world of beekeeping a decade ago, I have had the opportunity to run a small beekeeping business and work with a commercial beekeeping operation before joining the BIP team. At BIP I am able to combine my love for working hands-on with bees and beekeepers with my passion for communicating the important research and educational outreach we do to researchers, policy makers, beekeepers and the general public.


Technical Transfer Team

Dan Aurell

Dan Aurell

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.

Matt Hoepfinger

Matt Hoepfinger

California Honey Bee Health Field Specialist

After receiving a Master’s degree in computer science from Michigan State, I moved to Golden, Colorado where I worked in the telecom industry as a software engineer for 25 years. I started keeping bees at the hobby level in 2011, which quickly became my passion (some have called it my obsession). I serve as director of Mountain High Beekeepers Cooperative and after playing an essential role in founding the Colorado Professional Beekeepers Association, I continue to provide support for the group. I joined the Tech Transfer Team in California in 2019 where I work closely with commercial beekeepers in the region to assist with colony assessments, disease monitoring, hygienic testing and sampling for Varroa, Nosema, pesticides, and viruses. I then use the information collected to work alongside beekeepers by acting as an interpreter of colony data to improve survivorship. I am excited to expand my knowledge in evidence-based beekeeping practices and grow my understanding of honey bee health.

Ben Sallmann

Ben Sallmann

Pacific Northwest Honey Bee Health Field Specialist

As the Honey Bee Health Field Specialist for the Pacific Northwest, I work with migratory beekeepers from around the region and help monitor diseases, pest loads, and colony health. Most of my experience with commercial beekeeping comes from my time working with BIP in Northern California (2013-2017), where I 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 I have learned there are many different ways to run a successful commercial operation. I am especially interested in varroa control, and brood disease identification and treatment. My interest in bees began much earlier working on our family’s apiary/organic vegetable farm in Wisconsin, and became further immersed while caretaking the farm for a couple years and managing the hives. I 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, I spend my time playing the tuba and trombone in a variety of musical genres, and propagating rare plants.

Robert Snyder

Robert Snyder

California Honey Bee Health Field Specialist

I currently work out of the Butte County Cooperative Extension in Oroville, CA as a Crop Protection Agent. I received my B.S. in biology from Delaware Valley College, PA. There I attained a majority of my entomological knowledge from Dr. Chris Tipping and Dr. Robert Berthold. After graduation, I was an apiary inspector for 2 years at the Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania. In my third year there, I still inspected some colonies but I mainly focused on The Pennsylvania Native Bee Survey (PANBS) where I pinned, labeled, entered data and identified native bees to genus species. Leo Donavall assisted me in learning the basics on positive Identifications of the native bees. Around the same time I began working on coordinating kit construction and distribution for the APHIS National Honey Bee Survey. I 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 me to where I am 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 we can track change and report to beekeepers vital information in a timely manner which may influence their treatment decisions.

Nelson Williams

Nelson Williams

Midwest Honey Bee Health Field Specialist

My passion for honey bees and beekeeping has been growing since 2006. I initially waded into beekeeping at the hobbyist level lending a helping hand to my close friend’s backyard operation. My interest grew exponentially with each trip into the apiary, eventually acquiring my 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. I look forward to completing my degree in Integrative Studies focusing on Environmental Science and Business Management from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in December of 2019. I am 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.

Dan Wyns

Dan Wyns

Michigan and Eastern Honey Bee Health Field Specialist

I was introduced to honey bees over a decade ago while in New Zealand on a working holiday and have been consumed with caring for and learning about them ever since. Prior to joining BIP I was a commercial beekeeper in New Zealand and western Canada where I was fortunate to gain a diversity of beekeeping experience across a variety of climates and agricultural landscapes. I joined BIP in 2014 as a member of the Pacific Northwest tech transfer team and spent 3 years working with beekeepers across OR, WA and ID. The addition of a Tech Transfer position in Michigan has allowed me to carry on working with bees and beekeepers while relocating to my home state. I was born in Grand Rapids, raised in Grand Haven, and studied in Ann Arbor so the opportunity serve the beekeeping community here is especially satisfying. My family roots run deep in Michigan horticulture and I look forward to continuing that tradition by working to promote colony health and support local agriculture.


IT Staff

Michaela Wilson

Michaela Wilson

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 Arias

Nicolas Arias

Software Engineer

I'm a Software Engineer from Colombia, currently located in Mexico City. I received my master's degree at Grand Valley State University (Michigan), where I had the opportunity of working on BIP's hive scales project for several years during my studies and thesis work of a web-based, medical image tagging tool. Before BIP, I had not paid much mind to bees mostly because they weren't on my radar. Only now can I realize how much I had been missing. Learning about them, and working alongside "Bee People" has been a fascinating journey which I hope I'll be able to continue for a long time.

Jonathan Engelsma

Jonathan Engelsma

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 Wilkes

James Wilkes

Information Technology

“How long have you been keeping bees?” “I’ve been around bees my whole life. My father kept several stands in our backyard after purchasing his first package through mail order from Sears in 1964, the year before I was born. I started my own beekeeping in the year 2000 with three hives and now keep about fifty hives.”


Laboratory Staff

Heather Eversole

Heather Eversole

Lab Manager

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.

Rachel Fahey

Rachel Fahey

Faculty Research Specialist

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.

Andrew Garavito

Andrew Garavito

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.

Rachel Kuipers

Rachel Kuipers

Faculty Research Specialist

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

Kelly Kulhanek

Graduate Student

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.

Eric Malcolm

Eric Malcolm

Faculty Research Specialist

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!

Ashrafun Nessa

Ashrafun Nessa

Faculty Research Specialist

Ashrafun Nessa performs viral analysis for the APHIS National Honey Bee Survey and other BIP projects. Prior to 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. 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. She enjoys honey on her French toast and in her morning tea.

Dan Reynolds

Dan Reynolds

Faculty Research Specialist

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 coordinate BIP Tech Teams. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art from University of Maryland Baltimore County, but 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.

Nathan Swan

Nathan Swan

Faculty Research Specialist

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 APHIS NHBS, 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.

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