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    Ten years of Entomology and IPM - how our courses took Christina and Max where they are now

    2 February 2023

    In 2022, we marked ten years of entomology and IPM courses at Harper Adams.

    To mark the decade, Reader in Entomology Dr Tom Pope – part of the original team of entomologists who joined Harper Adams when a suite of dedicated Masters courses launched in 2012 - decided to ask some of the many alumni of the courses about their memories of Harper Adams, their course – and what they are doing now.

    Dozens replied – each with their own tales to tell of studying at Harper Adams, and where those studies had taken them.

    Many spoke warmly of their time here, of our campus, and in particular of their lecturers – with the impact, influence and knowledge of the late  Professor Emeritus – and leading entomologist -  Simon Leather at the forefront of many recollections.

    Since graduating, our students are now applying their knowledge in industry or pursuing their interests through further study in all corners of the globe.

    In the latest of our series of pieces catching up with these graduates and where they are now – with this third blog catching up with our alumni Christina, and her work as an applied laboratory scientist for a major fruit producer, and Max – whose research has taken him to an uninhabited island off the coast of Africa.



    Christina Conroy –  who began studying in the 2015-16 academic year


    What was it like studying at Harper?

    Harper Adams is a one-of-a-kind university.

    The courses are well respected in the horticultural industry; however, it is the people who make it special. The staff go above and beyond to help you become the person they know you can be. They treat you as an individual and want you to become the best version of yourself.

    The students are supportive of each other, and I’m humbled to be a part of that family.

    What is it like doing what you’re doing now?

    Currently, I work as an applied laboratory scientist at Berry Gardens, one of the major UK berry and stone fruit producers.

    I undertake plant disease diagnosis and horticultural pest identification.

    Moreover, I plan and execute research and development programmes, present current research, supervise students, and write bulletin articles.

    International travel, conferences, and courses are all part of the package too!

    How did the first prepare you for the second?

    My MSc and BSc provided a strong basis for me to venture into the horticultural industry.

    It’s surprising how often you run into other graduates who will regale you with stories of their time at Harper Adams, providing a strong foundation for future work relationships.

    The knowledge I attained in the courses is consistently used in my job, making my time spent at Harper all the more meaningful.

    I am lucky to be a part of the Harper Adams family.


    Max Tercel – who began studying in the 2016-17 academic year


    What was it like studying at Harper?

     Studying the Entomology MSc at Harper Adams was a very inspirational time.

    I was surrounded by so many knowledgeable lecturers and other students in a subject I wanted to explore since childhood. It was a great environment to challenge myself and learn.

    The structure of the MSc worked well for me too, with weeks set aside for lectures or to complete assignments and conduct fieldwork.

    I lived in Newport during my studies and cycled or walked into the University through the countryside, which I quickly began to really enjoy.

    What is it like doing what you’re doing now?

    I’m currently studying for a PhD and my project is really amazing.

    It is looking at the ecology of non-native ants on a small uninhabited island, called Round Island, off the coast of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. I’m using DNA-based methods as well as traditional entomological techniques, which I have learned to enjoy despite initially finding the molecular side of things impenetrable.

    I feel incredibly lucky to be in the position I am currently, able to conduct research I find super interesting and that has real-world applications.  

    How did the first prepare you for the second?

    The Entomology MSc at Harper Adams really took my love of the subject and channelled it into knowledge I’m able to apply during my PhD and other projects.

    With such a cumulative wealth of experience from the lecturers and my student peers on the course, I learnt many aspects of entomology that I hadn’t even thought of previously, some of which are now integral to my research.

    Moreover, having the qualification from Harper Adams really helped me in acquiring the PhD in the first place!

    It was great to expand my knowledge of insects during the MSc, plus the friendships and connections I made at Harper Adams will undoubtedly last a lifetime.



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