Four extraordinary students have been selected as recipients of a total of $9,000 in scholarships from Pi Chi Omega – the national fraternity for pest control professionals. This year marks 42 years of supporting undergraduate or graduate students pursuing degrees in urban and industrial pest management.  Since 1976, Pi Chi Omega has distributed more than $199,000 to up-and-coming entomologists, chemists and related scientists.

New in 2018, is the Alain VanRyckeghem Memorial Scholarship, established just 4 short months after Alain’s passing last November.  This is a perpetual scholarship of $2,000 available in perpetuity, based on the collected contribution of $50,000 to the Pi Chi Omega Scholarship Fund. Established to honor Alain’s passion for science, education and entomology, the Fund was created by generous contributions from Insects Limited, Alain’s family, friends and colleagues.

The inaugural recipient of the Alain VanRyckeghem Memorial Scholarship, in the amount of $2,000, is Johnalyn Gordon.  Johnalyn is a master’s student under Dr. Thomas Chouvenc at the University of Florida, where her research currently deals with the hybrid of two incredibly damaging invasive termite species in South Florida: the Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) and the Asian subterranean termite (Coptotermes gestroi). These species have been introduced to southeastern Florida, making this one of only three regions in the world where invasive populations of these species overlap.

The recipient of the Dr. Austin Frishman Scholarship of $2,000, Patryk Tomaszliewcz, is the only undergraduate student to receive a Pi Chi Omega Scholarship this year.  Patryck is a senior double-majoring in medicine and entomology at Texas A & M.  With high aspirations of applying his personal values of inclusion to his ultimate goal of being a doctor, Patryck has discovered a real passion for entomology and is studying entomology-based arbovirus research.

Fabian List is the 2018 recipient of the Founder’s Endowment Scholarship in the amount of $2,000. Fabian is a Ph.D. student under Dr. Ed Vargo at Texas A & M. He came to the United States from Germany for his Ph.D. for the outstanding research opportunities and established Entomology facilities.  His current research is centered on the invasive tawny crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva) including possible RNAi constructs with potential for effective long-term treatment against colonies.

The final Pi Chi Omega scholarship award of $3,000 – the Osmun Scholarship – is awarded to Joanie King, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Ed Vargo’s lab at Texas A & M.  Joanie’s primary research focus is on investigating the interactions and biology of red imported fire ants and phorid fly parasitoids. Phorid parasitoids help suppress fire ant populations. Research on how these phorid parasitoids manipulate their hosts will lead to a better understanding of how they naturally control fire ant populations – which is important because fire ants are a major invasive pest insect in the United States.

For more information about the 2018 Pi Chi Omega Scholarships, or to make a contribution to the Scholarship Fund, please contact Andrea Coron, Pi Chi Omega Executive Director, at or 540/374-3617.