Lab Staff

Headshot of Julie Peterson holding a moth.

Dr. Julie A. Peterson

Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist

I am the leader of the Agroecosystems Entomology Lab and have a joint appointment in both extension and research. I earned my undergraduate degree in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University and PhD in Entomology from the University of Kentucky. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and spent two years as a post-doctoral associate at the University of Minnesota before joining the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I have loved getting to know Nebraska, its people, and its insects since starting in my position in North Platte at the West Central Research & Extension Center in March 2014. I enjoy living on an acreage near Hershey with my husband (who also work in Extension) and our daughter. Please view my faculty page at the Department of Entomology for more information.

Portrait of Priscila Ma Colombo da Luz.

Priscila Ma Colombo da Luz

Laboratory Staff

Since childhood I was curious about insects, so in my degree in biology I chose the area of entomology, giving continuity in my master's degree in Zoology at the University of Brasília - UnB. Since then I have always been related to different research projects with insects (identification, collections, rearing, bioassays, biological control and field evaluations). In the Agroecosystem Entomology Laboratory, I will be receiving training and assisting research developed by UNL graduate students. I am interested in expanding my knowledge on biological control, Integrated Pest Management and management of the insect community in North America.

Current Students

Headshot of Ethan Darling.

Ethan Darling

Undergraduate Student

I’m originally from North Platte, Nebraska. Currently I’m pursuing a Biology degree in undergraduate school at the University of Wyoming. My interests include general biology, sustainability, and learning about insects. In the Agroecosystems Entomology Laboratory, I help with a variety of tasks ranging from lab work to field work.

Headshot of Alexander Lehmann.

Alexander Lehman

Undergraduate Student

I am originally from Maryland. I transferred to the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and I am majoring in Insect Science. I am working on a carrion beetle project that compares their population in tillage vs non-tillage agricultural fields. And I hope my findings help spread awareness of carrion beetles in Western Nebraska.

Headshot of Samantha Daniel.

Samantha Daniel

Masters Student

I am originally from Denver, Colorado where I was raised and lived up until 2016 when I moved to Nebraska for graduate school. In addition to working as the lab tech for the agroecosystems entomology lab, I am working towards a master’s in entomology with a focus on biological control. My project involves evaluating spiders within Nebraska corn fields to determine community structure and biological control potential. After graduation, I hope to work as an extension educator and assist in bridging the gap between science & research and the community. In my free time, I enjoy macro and wildlife photography, digital art, and spending time with my boyfriend and our 7 fur babies!

Lab Alumni

Headshot of Débora Goulart Montezano.

Débora (Déia) Goulart Montezano

Doctoral Student

I am originally from Brazil and moved to Nebraska in 2014 when I started my Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My B.S. degree was in biological sciences and my M.S. degree was in biotechnology, both from Caxias do Sul University (UCS) Brazil where I worked with biotic potential, fertility, life tables, and developmental parameters of immature stages of Spodoptera (an economically important group of caterpillar pests) on artificial diet. At UNL, I will be working on Integrated Pest Management and Integrated Resistance Management for Bt crops and insecticides for western bean cutworm (Striacosta albicosta) and other lepidopteran (caterpillar) pests. My dissertation title is: Behavior and management of lepidopteran pests in corn: Emphasis on western bean cutworm, Striacosta albicosta (Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). I am interested in insect behavior, pest management, biological control, and insect biology.

Headshot of Camila Oliveira Hofman.

Camila Oliveira Hofman

Doctoral Student

I am a Brazilian PhD student fascinated by insect ecology and how we can explore insects’ interactions with their agro-environment for crop protection purposes. I am interested in biological control, entomopathogens, IPM, vector ecology, and plant pathology. My research seeks to find promising biological control agents for the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, in continuous cornfields of West Central Nebraska. This project integrates basic research in the context of a bigger challenge, which is the control of the western corn rootworm, a highly adaptable pest that has populations that are resistant to current management practices. I received my B.S. in Biology and my B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Missouri in 2010, where I conducted research on a parasitoid wasp, Aphidius colemani, and its aphid host, Rhopalosiphum padi. In 2013, I received a M.S. in Entomology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I studied the vector biology of the wheat curl mite, Aceria tosichella, when exposed to Wheat streak mosaic and Triticum mosaic viruses.

Headshot of Kayla Mollet

Kayla Mollet

Former Research Technologist

I am currently getting my PhD at the University of Arkansas with Dr. Erica Westerman. My research is on how seasonality affects plastic phenotypes and behaviors in butterflies.

 Headshot of Oscaline Usanase.
Summer 2017

Oscaline Usanase

International Undergraduate Student

I am an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Integrated Science at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. I got a summer opportunity, and I am currently working in the Entomology Laboratory in North Platte. My interest is in IPM (Integrated Pest Management) because I want to increase my awareness on the beneficial and harmful insects on the plants, so that I can know which ones to keep, and remove from the field.

Headshot of Grace Hirzel.

Grace Hirzel

Former Research Technologist

I am currently getting my PhD at the University of Arkansas with Dr. Erica Westerman. My research is on how seasonality affects plastic phenotypes and behaviors in butterflies.

Headshot of Westen Archibald holding a moth.

Westen Archibald

Masters Student

I am originally from Utah and my interests are in pest ecology, integrated pest management and biological control. I believe that insects can provide great pest management solutions for growers, especially natural enemies like lady beetles, parasitoid wasps, and bacteria. Insects are super amazing and I enjoy teaching other people about them. I am excited to serve our country as an Entomologist in the Navy.