Andrew Pedersen, a graduate student researcher from September 2007 to December 2009 in the Larry Godfrey lab in the Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, is the recipient of the Larry Larson Graduate Student Award for Leadership in Applied Entomology from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (PBESA).

He received the award April 13 at the PBESA’s 94th annual meeting in Boise, Idaho. He was nominated by his major professor, Larry Godfrey, a Cooperative Extension specialist in entomology.

“Andrew made outstanding contributions to our understanding of managing cucumber beetles in the melon system,” Godfrey said. “This was a difficult research problem and a pest that had not been thoroughly researched in California for about 60 years. He quickly designed the research to address the key questions for melon growers and conducted the studies in UC Davis greenhouses, university field facilities, and in grower fields.”

“The breadth of the studies, professionalism of the research, and independence Andrew exhibited in the research was more at the level of a student working on a Ph.D. than a M.S. student,” Godfrey said. “He clearly exceeded the expectations for the M.S. degree and this award exemplifies this excellence."

Pedersen is currently a junior specialist in the Godfrey lab and is continuing his melon pest management research.

Pedersen, who holds a bachelor of science degree in animal biology from UC Davis, with highest honors (2007), received his master’s degree in entomology in December 2009. The Larry Larson Award was based on his thesis research, “Improved integrated pest management of two cucumber beetle species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in California melon agroecosystems)."

Pedersen previously received a McBeth Scholarship and a Jastro Shields award, both in 2008, from the UC Davis Department of Entomology. He competed in the National Linnaean Games in 2008 as part of the UC Davis Graduate Student Entomology Team.

As a regional recipient, Pedersen is now eligible to compete for the national award which pays tribute to the lifelong work of Larry Larson, a leader and pioneer in insect management. Larson served Dow AgroSciences for more than 28 years in field research and development.

The award, first given at the national level in 1997, is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences. Applicants must be ESA members, either in their final year in the master’s degree program or as first-year doctorate students. The award is based on technical knowledge, communication, creativity, leadership, initiative, productivity, teamwork, professionalism, problem-solving and a broad interest in entomology and science.

The Pacific Branch of ESA encompasses 11 U.S. states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming); several U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; and parts of Canada and Mexico.