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    Ten Years of Entomology and IPM - Evan and James' stories

    30 March 2023

    An entire decade of entomology and IPM courses have run at Harper Adams, with 2022 marking ten years since the first students were welcomed to their studies.

    Reader in Entomology Dr Tom Pope was part of the original team of entomologists who joined Harper Adams when a suite of dedicated Masters courses launched in 2012 and decided to mark the decade by getting in touch with some of the courses’ many alumni to find out more about their recollections of Harper Adams and their studies – and to find out what they are doing now.

    The response was staggering, with replies from across the globe – and with students speaking fondly of their studies, the Harper Adams campus, and the University’s staff. Many cited the impact of the late  Professor Emeritus – and leading entomologist -  Simon Leather in their recollections.

    In the latest of our series of pieces catching up with these graduates and where they are now, our latest blog focuses on James – who now works on Environmental Safety at leading agriculture company Syngenta, and Evan, who is the Chief Executive of Kent Wildlife Trust.


    Evan Bowen-Jones – who began his course in the 2014-2015 academic year


    What was it like studying at Harper?

    As a mature student doing things part-time, Harper was the one of the only places offering a flexible entomology course where I could pick up on my own long-standing interest academically after being out of the system for some years -  and despite having family commitments!

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

    Running Kent Wildlife Trust is a great opportunity to have a substantive, positive impact on U.K. biodiversity.

    How did the first prepare you for the second?

    Although I had always thought like an ecologist after my first degree, the MSc in Entomology increased my self-confidence in my ability to deal with data.

    This, in turn, inspired me to work with the Kent Wildlife Trust team and partners around things like the Bugs Matter app - which came from discussions around ‘splattometers’ in a Harper lecture.

    This has, in turn, led to increased public awareness in insect declines and the need to take action for insects. 


    James Fage – who began his course in the 2017-18 academic year


    What was it like studying at Harper?

    Studying at Harper Adams was the single most enjoyable learning experience I've had.

    On the Entomology MSc course, I was surrounded by passionate lecturers, staff members, and fellow students, all united by a love of bugs - and all the other Orders!

    The course was varied, and showed me the true breadth of Entomology and how applicable it was for many industries - something I hadn't anticipated from my previous work in museum butterfly collections.

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

    I'm currently working in Environmental Safety at Syngenta.

    It's a fulfilling and engaging role, that's required taking in a lot of multi-disciplinary knowledge of various study types and how they fit together into the big picture of pesticide use, biological efficacy, soil chemistry, and ecological side-effects.

    How did the first prepare you for the second?

    Harper prepared me for this by giving me a solid foundation in all of the parts of agriculture that were adjacent to Entomology.

    The agricultural expertise already present at Harper was incorporated into the course with good effect, most particularly during the Commercial and Practical Biological Control and Pesticide Technology modules.

    The latter of these even had a day trip down to Syngenta's Jealott's Hill site, where I now work, where we learnt about the research and registration process behind pesticides, and the science behind the safety data that is legally required.

    I believe this - combined with various talks throughout the course from Alumni sharing their lived experience from other adjacent industries - prepared me exceptionally well for my interview!




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