Parasitic Wasp

Seeking PhD in Entomology

University of Kentucky , 2007 - present


B.S. in Biology

Shawnee State University, 2003 – 2007


B.S. in Natural Science with Chemistry Concentration

Shawnee State University, 2003 – 2007


Post Secondary Options Student (attendance while in high school)

Chatfield College, 2001- 2003

Interests and Current Research

I am broadly interested in predator – prey relationships, backyard biodiversity and the conservation of native ecosystems. Personal hobbies include illustration, photography, reading, and being outdoors. My current research focuses on the interactions between oleander aphids, Aphis nerii, their milkweed hosts, and their natural enemies. Specifically, I am exploring the fitness of the aphid as a response to host plant characteristics. Host plants of interest include three Asclepias species and honeyvine milkweed, Cynanchum laeve. I am looking at the relationship between coccinellid development and aphid fitness. Coccinellids of interest include Harmonia axyridis, Coccinella septempunctata, and Cycloneda munda. Additionally, I am investigating the diversity and efficacy of parasitoids utilizing A. nerii as a host. Examining aphid fitness in both the laboratory and in the field, analyzing host plant characteristics, and monitoring coccinellid beetle and parasitoid development rates on Aphis nerii from different host plants are examples of current experimentation. I have also played an active role in research examining butterfly preferences on zinnias as well as projects involving damsel bugs and big-eyed bugs.

Professional Experience

Senior Laboratory Technician; Kenneth Yeargan Entomology Lab; Department of Entomology; University of Kentucky. June 2007- Present.


Teaching Assistant; Department of Entomology; University of Kentucky. General Entomology (ENT 300). Fall 2007, 2008, 2009.


Teaching Assistant; Department of Natural Sciences; Shawnee State University. Principles of Animal Biology (BIO 203). Spring 2007. General Chemistry (CHEM 121) Fall 2006.


Animal Behavior Lab Technician; Larry Lonney; Physics Department; Shawnee State University. 2005- 2007.


Lab Preparation Technician; Julia Basham; Department of Natural Sciences, Shawnee State University. 2005-2007.


Secretarial Assistant; Marilyn Mangus and Sharon Messor; Department of Natural Sciences; Shawnee State University. 2005- 2007. Librarian Assistant; Dolores Berish; Chatfield College; 2001- 2003.


Fishing SpiderLibrarian Assistant; Dolores Berish; Chatfield College; 2001- 2003.

Professional Affiliations

Entomological Society of America
Gamma Sigma Delta
H. Garman Entomology Club
Ohio Valley Entomological Association
Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Xi Upsilon Chapter
Phi Eta Sigma


Yeargan, K. V., and S. M. Colvin. 2009. Butterfly Feeding Preferences for Four Zinnia Cultivars . J. Env. Hort. 27: 37-41.



Colvin S. M. and K. V. Yeargan. The oleander aphid sandwich: tritrophic interactions in milkweed systems (competition poster). 2009 National Meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), Indianapolis, IN. Awarded President’s Prize Runner Up, P-IE Section Biocontrol.


Colvin, S. M. And then there was one: the final Yearganite (invited symposium talk). 2009 National Meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), Indianapolis, IN.


Colvin, S. M. and K. V. Yeargan. Thinking outside of the Asclepias box: Oleander aphids and honeyvine milkweed (competition talk). 2009 North Central Branch Meeting of the Entomological Society of America (NCB-ESA), St. Louis, MO. Awarded 2nd Place, M.S. Session III.


Colvin, S. M. Scientific Illustration: a discussion and defense of a fading practice (poster). 2008 Entomological Society of America (ESA), Reno, NV.


Colvin S. M. and B. Deal. Survey of overwintering insects in pitch pine (competition poster). 2008 Biennial National Tri-Beta Convention. Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY. Awarded 2nd Place, B.S. Poster Session.


Colvin, S. M. Tritrophic effects of milkweed species on coccinellid predators of Aphis nerii (proposal seminar). 2008 University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.


Colvin, S. M. and B. Deal. Analysis of overwintering insects occurring in pitch pine in Shawnee State Forest, Scioto County, Ohio (competition talk). 2007. Ohio Valley Entomological Association (OVEA), Columbus, OH.


Colvin, S. M. and B. Deal. Analysis of overwintering insects occurring in pitch pine in Shawnee State Forest (competition poster). 2007. Midwest Regional Tri-Beta Conference, University of Dayton, OH. Awarded John. C. Johnson Award, B.S. Poster Session.


Colvin, S. M. Invasion by exotics, the oncoming collapse (invited talk). 2007. Celebration of Scholarship, Shawnee State University, OH.


Colvin, S. M. Scientific illustration: combining two worlds. 2006. Celebration of Scholarship, Shawnee State University, OH.


AwardAdditional Honors and Awards

Outstanding Natural Science Graduate, Shawnee State University, 2007.


Invertebrate Biologist Award, Shawnee State University, 2007.


Outstanding Ecology Student Award, Shawnee State University, 2006.



Bugs All Day – Lexington, KY Explorium for Kids, March 2009.


Raven Run Night Insect Walk – University of Kentucky, July 2008, 2009.


Pesticide Control Short Course, University of Kentucky, 2009.


Volunteer in Parks (VIP) Ohio State Parks, Region One – 2006- present.


Environmental Education Day Program – Shawnee State University, 2005, 2006, 2007.

Scientific Illustration

Although I have many interests, scientific illustration is one of my greatest passions. Many experience the joy of studying life in the field, but few are able to capture an organism and make it their own via pencils, paints, and inks. I consider myself to be one of those lucky few. Selected examples of my work on shown below. The following is an excerpt from a poster presented at the National ESA meeting in Reno, NV 2008. The poster defended what is quickly becoming a practice in peril.


Although once an invaluable and vital tool, hand rendered scientific illustrations seem to be facing extinction in a 21st century world dominated by technology. In fact, scientific illustration has been called “unnecessary in the era of digital media” (Heller and Arisman 2000). Technological advancements offer faster, more refined, and often less expensive methods for creating desired images. With the advent of graphic design programs and personal computers, stock images are prepared, purchased and downloaded almost instantaneously. No longer required is the originality and skillful representation of images propelled by direct communication between an individual’s “hand and the brain” (Heller and Arisman 2000).


However, qualities offered by hand rendered illustrations are irreplaceable and cannot be replicated by machine. Even in today’s scientific community, illustrations explain what ten pages of text cannot. “There is a still a credible argument for the notion that illustration beginning with the hand and ending with pens, brushes, or pencils has an affective quality – an aura – that simply cannot be reproduced by technical means, be it cameras, computers, or something in between” (Heller and Arisman 2000).


(Heller, S. and M. Arisman (eds.). 2000. The Education of an Illustrator. Allworth Press, New York, NY.)


Insect Displays

Public education, particularly through the use of scientific illustration and specimen representation, is very important to me. I have had the opportunity to prepare several entomological focused displays in the past few years. Two of these displays are installed at the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery in Jamestown, Kentucky. One display provides a general introduction into the world of insects, while the other focuses on Kentucky Lepidoptera. Although all of my current displays feature insects, I am interested in broadening my range of work to include plants and other wildlife in the future.




    L. Minter helping with installation