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Entomology students win essay prize

Posted on December 27, 2018

Postgraduate students from the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria have been named the winner and runner-up of the 2018 Young Entomologists' Essay Prize.

MSc student, Ruben Cruywagen, won the competition with his entry entitled "An Anecdote from a Student of Entomology". His winning essay is featured in the current issue of Rostrum, the newsletter of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa (ESSA). In his entry, Ruben considered in a stream-of-consciousness style why some insects are more or less favoured by humans and how this might translate into accepting them as a source of food.

Eloise Butcher, who recently completed Honours in Entomology, was named runner-up for her entry entitled "Insects as an Alternative Meal". Her essay outlined the benefits and impediments to the increased use of insects as food.

The prize, run annually by the ESSA, was established in 2014 to encourage discussion and critical evaluation of entomological issues relevant to Southern Africa by upcoming amateur and professional entomologists. Entries should be original and thought provoking, and are evaluated based on comprehension of the topic, clear placement of the argument within the context of Southern Africa, originality of ideas, persuasiveness and coherency of the argument, and appropriate and effective use of facts, evidence or examples.

In 2018, entries could address any of three topics: “You’re bugging me - addressing public views and interactions with insects”; “Insects as an alternative...”; or “Insects: Not as gross as some would have you believe”.

The achievements of Ruben and Eloise continue a tradition of excellent performance by students from the Department of Zoology and Entomology in the ESSA Young Entomologists' Essay Prize. Since the inception of the competition, all of the winners and runners-up have graduated from the Department. This demonstrates the high standards of the Department and its encouragment of students and graduates to engage with the scientific community and public.

- Author Chris Weldon

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