The Ohio Valley Entomological Association (OVEA) 2016 Annual Forum and Student Paper Competition will be held on Friday, November 4, 2016 at Purdue University.
For information about the 2015 Call for Papers click here.
For the 2015 Program Book click here.
The purpose for conducting this competition is multifold:
- To promote an interest in entomology as a career.
- To promote professionalism in our science.
- To recognize student excellence by giving them the opportunity to present a paper before their peers and to have an abstract attesting to this activity in print.
- To enhance interaction between biology departments in colleges in the tri-state area and give students the opportunity to meet faculty and discuss opportunities for graduate programs in the various universities.
- To give students the opportunity to interact with professional career entomologists from industry, universities, and the public sector.
Format for Competition
The Annual Forum for Student Paper Competition is open to any undergraduate or graduate student who has an interest in entomology. To date participants have come from colleges in the tri-state area of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio; however, students from other states are encouraged to enter the competition. Students who are enrolled in biology courses, or are majoring in biology or entomology departments at the undergraduate level are particularly encouraged to enter the contest.
- Eligibility is based on enrollment for, or recent completion of, a degree. A student who has graduated is still eligible if enrolled within the past 12 months. Likewise, a student who recently received a Master of Science degree and is newly enrolled for a doctorate may enter competition at the Master of Science level.
- Papers presented may pertain to the area of entomological science.
- Separate competitions are conducted in each of three categories: Undergraduate, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy.
- The paper may present a special problem, MS thesis, Ph.D. dissertation, or be on a topic to popularize entomology.
- A classic abstract of approximately 300 words (statement of problem, objectives, methods, results and conclusions) for research presentations is required. The abstract for popular science presentations should be a summary, 300 words or less, including: 1) an introductory statement, 2) brief discussion of content, and 3) conclusions.
- Ten minutes are allotted for presentation followed by two minutes for questions. Each presentation is timed.
- Presentations are scored by a panel of five judges representing academia, public and private sector.
- Recognition takes the form of certificates and cash awards in each of the three for each student categories: $350 first, $250 second and $200 third prize.
A panel of five judges for each category of competition determines the winners. Each panel is composed of two representatives from either the agricultural or pest control industries and three members from academia, two of whom are usually from biology departments. Professional representatives of both basic and applied science are always included on each panel. Judges may or may not be entomologists. In the event of a tie, the winners will be chosen by a vote of judges.
Emphasis in this student contest is placed on the mechanics of organizing and presenting a scientific paper. The quality of the research is judged only to the extent that the student’s objectives and methodology appear appropriate and conclusions are substantiated by data. Judges are expected to write constructive criticism. This is important to the student; score sheets are returned to the students so that they can learn where they need to improve.
A week before the contest each judge receives a copy of the Book of Abstracts to review. Some of the questions that judges should consider are the following. How is the abstract written? Does it have the essentials of a classic abstract? Does it have a statement of the problem, objectives, methodology, results and/or conclusions? Are these conveyed with a reasonable amount of verbiage, using correct English grammar and composition?
In the organization and presentation of the talk, the judges look to see if the student follows through the discussion in a logical manner. Judges expect that the presentations will not specifically target an audience having a general biological background. Finally, it is interesting to note that judges have become more observant of professional appearance and the elements of courtesy.
Coordination of Program
A committee works with industry, which generously supports the contest through prize monies for each of the three categories of competition. In addition, funds from industry provide for continental breakfast at registration, and participating students will be given a lunch voucher. Aside from monetary contributions, personnel from industry have contributed to the success of the contest by serving as judges and working on committees for its promotion.
Mailings announcing the contest and calling for papers are sent to all academic biology departments in the tri-state area, coordinated by staff at Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, and Purdue University. Biology departments serve as hosts, providing local arrangements as the contest moves from state to state. Provision has to be made for the operation of concurrent sessions when necessary. Finally, a committee provides for projection and timing during the presentations, and tabulation of results. Following the presentation of the last contest paper, results are tabulated and an Awards ceremony is held during which prizes and certificates are distributed to winners as they are presented with their checks.
The contest has provided a common interest for Ohio Valley entomologists and is opening the door to greater interaction among the three states. Graduate students, particularly in the large entomology departments, have more interaction between universities, fostering a competitive camaraderie. We have been pleased with our graduate level participation.
The graduate level has been relatively stable, and we have tried for years to increase and encourage undergraduate participation. Getting the interest of undergraduates is difficult, requiring the persistence of instructors.
The most significant achievement of the Student Forum is an increased interaction between entomologists representing industry and the faculties and students of academic biology departments in the three states. Here is the source of students for graduate school and industry. This relationship is developing slowly, but we are encouraged with our progress.