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Natalie Hernandez, Contributing Editor
Full name:
Natalie Hernandez
City, state, country:
El Paso, TX

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with my B.S. in Entomology, and Taxonomy was my favorite subject. I got to work closely with Dr. Daniel Young to help hone my identifying skills, and also worked as a student hourly in the Medical Entomology lab with Dr. Susan Paskewitz.

After undergrad, I worked for UC Davis County extension in Bakersfield for two years. I was a lab assistant, went out and did all the grunt work for my bosses, arranged the collection, IDed things, collected samples from the field, and whatever other odd jobs they needed done. I got to be outside in the Cali sun almost everyday :)

I returned to the University of Wisconsin to work on my M.Sc. with Dr. Russ Groves, the vegetable entomologist. My thesis was focused on Aphids spreading Potato Virus Y. I set up traps in Wisconsin potatoes and collected samples all summer. Then I spent the winter keying out the alate aphids I collected and tried to figure out if there is a particular species that spreads the virus at a certain time of year or if it just depends on aphid numbers in general. I didn't really get much virus data, but definitely learned a lot about aphids and their flight patterns in Wisconsin. After finishing my research I took my time writing my thesis and got some experience as a T.A. in Introductory Biology and Introduction to Entomology.

I have taken classes in general entomology, taxonomy of immatures and matures, advanced taxonomy of coleoptera, and advanced taxonomy of diptera. I've actually taken almost every class taught by the entomology department at the UW including insect pest management, biocontrol, behavior, ecology, physiology, and medical/veterinary Entomology.

I was super excited to get a job right out of grad school with USDA - APHIS - PPQ as an Entomologist Identifier. I spent my first three years in South San Francisco, CA then transferred to El Paso, TX for the cheaper cost of living. I am specializing in Aphids intercepted at US ports of entry, but also continue to use all my identifying skills in an effort to prevent unwanted pests in the states.
Natalie Hernandez