During the 2016 year, VMCA’s newly formed Student Competition Committee (SCC) worked hard to set up the association’s first student poster competition. Ten posters were submitted from colleges and universities around Virginia to compete for the grand prize of $500 and the inaugural “Dr. Jorge Arias Student Competition Award”. All of the posters were displayed in Newport News, VA, January 31- February 2, 2017 during the joint meeting of the 42nd annual Mid-Atlantic Mosquito Control Association and 70th annual Virginia Mosquito Control Association. Many poster authors came to the annual meeting and participated in a Q&A poster session where VMCA and MAMCA members had a chance to talk with the students about their research projects (students, advisors, committee members, and judges pictured center below).
First place poster went to Alexis White from Old Dominion University with the poster titled “TickBot efficacy in residential and wildlife habitats in Portsmouth, Virginia.” During the awards banquet, Alexis received the Dr. Arias Award and a grand prize of $500 which was funded by VMCA (pictured left below). Runner-up posters Armin Bahrani, Lindsey Bidder, Rachel Matrenec, and Kristen Young, all students from Old Dominion University, were awarded free registration to the annual meeting which was provided by MAMCA.
During the 2017 annual meeting, the SCC attempted several fundraising ideas to help pay for first place awards in the future. A silent auction took place throughout the first two days of the meeting. Members of VMCA and MAMCA graciously donated 18 items to the auction ranging from handmade items to memorabilia and electronics. The auction made the SCC $563.00. Another fundraiser that took place during the meeting was a 50-50 raffle. 544 raffle tickets were sold throughout the first two days of the meeting. After the winning drawing at the end of the second day, both SCC and Ann Herring (pictured below right) each made $272.00.
I would like to send a huge thanks to all my 2016 committee members (Dennis Salmen, Lane Carr, Karen Akaratovic, Francis Valera, Charles Abadam, Jamie Durden, and Michael Bowry) and poster judges (Bruce Harrison and Wes Robertson) for all the hard work they put into this event. They should all be super proud of themselves. I want to thank everyone that donated items to the silent auction, this was an enormous help. I also want to thank VMCA and MAMCA for your funding of prizes and student registrations, we would not have been able to have a 2017 student competition without you.
Student Competition Chair, Jay Kiser
Congratulations to our 2017 winner, Alexis White of Old Dominion University for her poster titled, TickBot efficacy in residential and wildlife habitats in Portsmouth, VA
Pictured bottom left: Alexis receives award from Sara Shenks (center; daughter of Dr. Jorge Arias) and 2016 VMCA President Josh Smith