Entomology department receives national ranking, helps top 20 goal

By Ben Murphy

One UK department has garnered national respect with the help of some of the smallest creatures on Earth.

The College of Agriculture’s Department of Entomology has been continually recognized as one of the country’s premier institutions. The entomology department was ranked seventh out of 100 institutions in 2007.

“The production of the staff and the graduate students is what makes this college one of the best,” entomology professor Kenneth Yeargan said.

Julie Peterson, a third-year graduate student, received first place in an entomology competition in Reno, Nev., in 2009.

Peterson said UK won the most awards at the competition. She said her professors are eager to help out all of the students and teach them to become more knowledgeable in any way possible.

Yeargan said the published research of the faculty and students is one of the major factors that gives the department its reputation.

“We have a strong community here. Everyone is always there to help anyone in need,” said Craig Keathley, a third-year graduate student. “We learn and grow together. We just make each other better.”

Entomology professor John Obrycki said the department has received support from the university to help grow the institution and make it stronger.

“This institution did not happen overnight,” Obrycki said. “We are happy to help contribute to President Todd’s goal for (the) Top 20 (Business Plan).”

Yeargan said being one of the top graduate programs at UK every year is a factor in the frequency of graduate students receiving awards and being recognized for accomplishments.

The department is still improving and growing, Yeargan said. The entomology department has hired three more staff members in the past two years.

“I am very proud of the faculty and the students for making this department one of the best,” Yeargan said.