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The Royal Entomological Society is excited to announce the winning, second and third place essay entries of the 2021 RES Student Award. To enter the annual entomology writing competition, students write an 800 word essay in english, on an insect-related topic of interest to the general public.

Winner

Leah Fitzpatrick winner RES Student Award 2021 Credit Leah Fitzpatrick

Leah Fitzpatrick

Leah, MPhil/PhD Student at Oxford Brookes University, won the competition for the essay British Press Association vs the Noble False Widow spider [2021]. Leah wins a £400 prize and said “Combating the extreme negative press given to so many invertebrate species is a massive up hill battle – I know I’m not the first researcher who has been left flabbergasted by some of the newpaper stories published on their study species! I had a fantastic time writing up this piece for the Student Prize, it helped get out a lot of frustration I’ve had over the years when trying to have a nuanced conversation about Steatoda nobilis. Fortunately, I’ve seen through public outreach that people can become much less frightened of invertebrates and really do enjoy learning about these fascinating animals – it truly does give me the motivation to keep cracking on with my work.”

Second place

Ashley Dear in the lab, second place RES Student Award 2021 Credit Ashley Dear

Ashley Dear

Ashley, Master’s student at Harper Adams University, came in second place for the essay ‘Bio’-Mimicry Is the Highest Form of Flattery. Ashley wins a £300 prize and said “I really enjoyed taking part in this competition, it was a fun and different way of being able to talk about a subject I find very interesting. To have been selected for 2nd place is so exciting and has given me the confidence to share my work with anyone who will read it.”

Third place

Amy Farrow, third place RES Student Award 2021 Credit Amy Farrow

Amy Farrow

Amy, Master’s student at Harper Adams University, came in third place for the essay ‘Choose your own evolutionary pathway’ – a brief exploration of the evolution and diversity of four major insect orders. Amy wins a £200 prize and said “I entered this competition just for fun, so placing even third was excellent news. I think this competition is a great way for people to explore communicating science for a wide range of audiences aside from academia and I really enjoyed composing my piece!”

Prof Adam Hart, RES Trustee and Chair of the RES Outreach Committee, and Dr Victoria Burton, Outreach Committee member, oversaw the judging of entries. Adam said “As usual the standard was very high, giving us a real judging challenge. This year, lots of entries explored different ways to present “essays”, and there were some very imaginative approaches that were able to combine solid scientific material with inspired science communication. It is reassuring to see such up and coming talent for entomological communication!” Victoria said “I appreciated how many drew on their own experiences with insects in nature and related that to their personal wellbeing”.

Simon Ward, RES CEO said “The Royal Entomological Society has been very impressed by the 2021 Student Award submissions.  The Society is keen to support the students either studying entomology or who have an interest in insect science.  We now offer free full membership to students and for their first year and then offer significant reductions in subsequent years.  Members receive our quarterly magazine Antenna, have the opportunity to attend our ENTO conference at no charge and can take part in a number of events with valuable opportunity to network. 

“Through 2022 the RES team will be looking at new developments for our membership.  We hope this will include a new mentorship scheme, full access to our journals and new training and development opportunities.  This is an exciting time for the Society as we look to enrich the world with insect science.  Anyone who has an interest in insect science is welcome!”

The three essays will be published in the Society’s membership bulletin Antenna later this year.

The 2022 writing competition is open for entries from students anywhere in the world, the closing date for the Student Award is 31st December 2022.

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