Posted 2 December 2020
"I have spent an unforgettable year with people that have allowed me to increase my confidence, and my knowledge in this field.”
Eugenia Fezza has been named the winner of the BCPC Award 2020 for achieving the highest grades in MSc Integrated Pest Management.
The postgraduate student from Italy undertook her Master’s degree with Harper Adam University to push the boundaries of her knowledge and develop key skills. Eugenia commented: “Through my years of studying, I developed a strong interest in ethology and entomology. The respect and the admiration for animal behaviour, particularly for insects, pushed me to do something to increase the awareness of the role of insects in the world.
“I became interested in pests as I learned how they could represent a serious problem to food manufacturing.
“I believed that Harper Adams, with all the outstanding researchers, was the best choice to change my life and to improve my knowledge about pests and my critical awareness of current problems associated with them in agriculture.
“Working here has enabled me to develop a comprehensive understanding of the techniques, skills, and knowledge necessary for the application of methods related to integrated pest management of animals, plant pathogens and weeds in agricultural crops.”
Working on a thesis entitled ‘The effects of essential oil biopesticides on aphid pests and their natural enemies: a meta-analysis’, Eugenia investigated three aphid pests. She said: “This study summarised new findings and perspectives concerning essential oil biopesticides on the survival and behaviour of three important aphid pests: peach potato aphid (Myzus persicae), pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum), and melon and cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii).
“Furthermore, the effects of essential oils on aphid natural enemies were also considered to help inform whether they are compatible with integrated pest management strategies.
“The study confirmed that the majority of tested essential oils possess toxic effects that make them suitable for use within integrated pest management (IPM) strategies.”
Having completed her studies, Eugenia reflected on the experience: “Even though this has been a tough and challenging time, stimulated by professors, supervisors, and all the Harper staff, I have been able to achieve my goals. I have spent an unforgettable year with people that have allowed me to increase my confidence, and my knowledge in this field.”
Eugenia is continuing to study for her PhD at Harper Adams. She has chosen to study the development of a fully integrated management strategy for vine weevil, a persistent serious pest of soft fruit, ornamental and nursery plants. She continues to be motivated to become an expert in pest management.