Pi Chi Omega pest control fraternity announced in January it was raising funds to establish a perpetual scholarship in the name of Alain VanRyckeghem, the longtime technical director of Insects Limited.
VanRyckeghem passed away on Nov. 28, 2017, at age 55, after a nine-month battle with brain cancer.
He was a world-class stored product entomologist, pheromone chemist, and educator.
The inaugural recipient for the 2018 Pi Chi Omega Alain VanRyckeghem Scholarship is Johnalyn Gordon.
Johnalyn is a first-year Master’s student at the University of Florida, studying termites at UF’s Termite Research Lab in Fort Lauderdale.
Her Master’s thesis focuses on the hybrid of two invasive termite species in southeastern Florida.
Johnalyn plans to continue with her Ph.D. in the field of entomology, with a continued focus on urban entomology, and hopes her experience and knowledge will make significant contributions to the pest management industry.
In addition to her passion for entomology, Johnalyn is an avid adventurer and outdoor enthusiast, and appreciates nature through hiking, scuba diving, and mountain biking.
Johnalyn shared, “It is truly an honor and a privilege to be the recipient of a scholarship whose namesake was the type of scientist and entomologist that many of us in the field aspire to be. I can only hope to be able to emulate Alain through my career in the future.”
Insects Limited owner, David Mueller stated, “Alain was the definition of an entomologist. He strived to improve our discipline every day.
"Alain believed in education, and Johnalyn furthering her education is an example of this.”
Andrea Coron, Pi Chi Omega Executive Director, said, “Thank you very much to the dozens of contributors to this worthwhile cause.
"The financial commitment from these generous contributors was instrumental in establishing Alain’s scholarship.
"It will also help Pi Chi Omega continue the scholarship program for decades into the future.”