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Gwen Pearson's Resume

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Entomological Service | Professional Service | Keynotes & Invited Presentations | Science Writing | Media Interviews | Awards | Scholarly Publications


  • Ph.D. in Entomology, Minor in Horticulture. North Carolina State University, May 1992

  • M.S. in Entomology, North Carolina State University, May 1988

  • Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Ohio State University, May 1984


Work Experience

Independent Contractor/Freelance Writer. December 2012—Present

  • Science Writer for, The Washington Post, Nature, Science, Highlights for Kids, and other news outlets.

  • Project management and content strategy for non-profits, including user training and negotiation with third-party vendors.

  • Network Manager/Webmaster for The Organization of Biological Field Stations from 2009-2015.

Education and Outreach Coordinator, Department of Entomology, Purdue University. January 2015—August 2022

  • Manage signature outreach events (Bug Bowl and others) for audiences of over 30,000 people.

  • USDA Containment Officer for Purdue Bug Zoo of live insects and other arthropods. Write and maintain SOPs for care of all species.

  • Deliver >50 in-person school presentations yearly to Grades 5-12 students. 

Program Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Research, University of Connecticut. May 2011—December 2012

  • Administer multiple competitive award programs for undergraduates on all 6 UConn campuses. Collect and present data on research participation for institutional reporting.

  • Communicate with students and faculty via workshops, social media, and other marketing tools. Increased student attendance at workshops by 110% and number of submitted student applications by 25% compared to 2010.

  • Project Manager for redesign and migration to WordPress Multisite CMS for nine university offices.

Assistant Director for Education and Outreach, Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University.  November 2007—April 2011

  • Managed multiple educational units and employees at KBS, including the Bird Sanctuary

  • Liaison to campus diversity initiatives. Increased participation of underrepresented groups in REU program by 50% in 3 years.

  • Managed re-design of the KBS website, including design/rollout of new CMS. Establish style guides and editorial workflow for >45 employees with website editing access.

  • Built and designed database systems for online management of internship applications and site use request forms. Developed and implemented checklists and reports for tracking the success of interns and REUs at KBS.

Field Consultant, College of Natural Science Dean’s Office. Michigan State University. February 2002—October 2007

  • Designed and taught two courses to assist students in making a successful transition from college to work. Wrote content (print and electronic) to assist students preparing for internship and job searches.

  • Collaborated with database developer to produce a web-based survey to collect required post-graduation outcome information. Revised design of an earlier web system to increase initial student response rates from 15% to 50%.

  • Advised undergraduate and graduate students in academic and career planning.

Instructional Designer, Provant Strategic Interactive. January 2001—January 2002

  • Designed, wrote, and delivered online training for corporate clients. Worked with clients in the design and development of custom solutions tailored to instructional and business requirements.

  • Designed course content with development teams, including text, audio, graphics, interactivity, and testing exercises.

Additional Employment

  • Assistant Professor, Albion College. August 1996—December 2000

  • Interim Laboratory Manager, North Carolina State University Department of Entomology. November 1995—May 1996

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, North Carolina Central University. August 1995—December 1995

  • Assistant Professor, University of Texas at the Permian Basin. August 1992—May 1995


  • 2021 Outstanding Service Award for Staff, Purdue Department of Entomology

  • 2021 Multidisciplinary Outreach Team, Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists Association Award

  • 2019 PK-12 Excellence Award for Staff, Purdue University College of Agriculture

  • 2016 Medal of Honor, Entomological Foundation

  • 2016 Bobby C. Pass Student’s Choice Award, University of Kentucky Department of Entomology


Entomological Professional Service

  • Presidential Task Force, Science Communication Award Committee. Entomological Society of America. 2021-present.

  • Founder, Insect Festival Working Group: 2020 – present.

  • Founder, EntoAllies. 2014—2023.

  • Formal Committee on Education and Outreach, PI-E Section Representative. Entomological Society of America. 2020—2023.

  • Co-Chair, Entomological Society of America Education and Outreach Committee Digital Insect Collection Project. November 2017 – 2018.

  • Co-Chair, Entomological Society of America Insect Week Subcommittee, Education and Outreach Committee. November 12, 2017 – April 2018.

  • Formal Committee on Education and Outreach, North Central Branch Representative. Entomological Society of America. 2016—2018.

  • Planning Committee, 2016 Insect Expo. XXV International Congress of Entomology (ICE). Orlando FL.

  • Taskforce member, Entomological Society of America, Plant-Insect Ecosystems: Attracting Undergraduates to Careers in Entomology. November 2009—2010.

  • Formal Committee on Education and Outreach, Section C Representative. Entomological Society of America. December 2000-2007; Committee Chair 2003.

  • Section Cd Secretary, Entomological Society of America. Dec. 2006—Dec 2007.

  • Judge, Bioquip Undergraduate Scholarship Committee, Entomological Foundation. 2005—2007.

  • Chair, 2006 Bioquip Undergraduate Scholarship Committee, Entomological Foundation.

  • National Advisory Task Force Member, Entomological Foundation. “Educating Young People about Responsible Pest Management for a Sustainable Environment.” January 2004—2005.

  • Symposium Organizer and Moderator, 2001 Entomological Society of America National Meeting Informal Symposium. “Entomology Outside Academia.”

  • Governing Board Member-at-Large, Michigan Entomological Society. June 2000—2003.

  • Acquisitions Editor, Great Lakes Entomologist. June 2001-2002.

  • Volunteer, Insect Expo, Entomological Society of America National Meeting. 1995—2000.

  • Moderator, 1997 Formal Conference on Teaching, Entomological Society of America National Meeting

  • Organizer, 1996 Formal Conference on Teaching, Entomological Society of America National Meeting.

  • Member, Committee on Gender and Race Relations, Entomological Society of America. May 1995—1997.


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Keynotes, Plenaries, Unusual Outreach, and Train-the-Trainer Workshops

  • North Carolina Entomological Society Keynote. "Can Entomology Compete with Fake News and TikTok memes?" October 21, 2021. 

  • Skype A Scientist participant, 2018-2022.

  • DIYScienceZone Scientist, GeekGirlCon. Seattle, WA. October 8—9, 2016; October 10, 2020.

  • Great Lakes Science Bootcamp for Librarians: “How Science News Gets Made (and Unmade, and Faked.” West Lafayette, IN. July 27 2018.

  • Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists’ Association Professional Development Conference. “Tips and Tricks to Maximize your Social Media Reach.” March 29 2018.

  • DragonCon Invited Scientist, Atlanta GA. 1-4 September 2017.

  • 2018 Plenary Session: “A conversation with Mary Roach.” Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting. Denver, CO. 5 November 2017.

  • Inclusive Outreach: A Conversation with Arthropod Education Experts. Invertebrates in Education and Conservation, TITAG (Terrestrial Invertebrate Taxon Advisory Group). Tucson AZ. 27 July 2017.

  • Social Media Bootcamp, Invertebrates in Education and Conservation Conference (IECC). Tucson, AZ. 28 July 2016.

  • “Facts are Not Enough: Stories and Emotion in Science Communication.” Plenary Session, North American Forest Insect Work Conference. Washington DC. June 2 2016.

  • “Stop Preaching to the Choir: Reaching New and Non-Traditional Science Audiences.” Bobby C. Pass Student’s Choice Award, University of Kentucky Department of Entomology Seminar Series. 28 April 2016.

  • “Turn Your Dissertation into Clickbait In 5 Easy Steps.” Cornell University Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) Program. Ithaca, NY. May 7 2015.

  • “Outreach in Unusual Places: Making Push-Pull Marketing Work for You.” Entomological Society of America National Meeting Lunch and Learn Workshop. Portland, OR. 19 November 2014.

  • Don’t Bury the Lede: Unlearn All the Terrible Writing Habits You Developed in Academia.” Entomological Society of America National Meeting; Lunch and Learn Workshop. Portland, OR. November 18, 2014.

  • Mentoring Panel Member, National Association of Science Writers. Women in Science Writing Solutions Summit, Cambridge, MA. 14 June 2014.

  • Invited Scientist: ConVergence Science Fiction Convention, Minneapolis Minnesota. July 4th, 2009—2015.

  • “Decision-Making and Problem Solving.” Michigan State University Women’s Leadership Conference. East Lansing, MI. 28 March 2004.

  • “Critical Non-Technical Skills.” Michigan Society for Clinical Laboratory Science. Detroit, MI. 8 April 2004.

  • “Using Insects to Teach the Scientific Method.” Curriculum Reform Institute, University of Wisconsin System Women and Science Program. Oshkosh, WI. June 8-12, 2002.


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Invited Presentations

  • “Freelancing as a science writer: What you need to know,” Writing: Beyond Publications Symposium. Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver, CO. November 2, 2021.

  • “Facts are not enough: emotion and engagement for inclusive outreach.” Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting. November 19, 2020.

  • “Your PhD is a Swiss Army Knife,” Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, Member Symposium. St. Louis, MO. November 17, 2019.

  • “Science communication in a time of fake news and short attention spans.” University of Wisconsin Department of Entomology, Madison, WI. October 4, 2019.

  • Optimizing your extension website and publications for maximum sharing on social media,” ESA ESBC SEC Joint Meeting, Vancouver, Canada. November 14, 2018.

  • “Effective Communication of Scientific Research to Stakeholder Audiences. North Central Branch ESA Meeting, Student Lunch Symposium. Indianapolis, IN. 5 June 2017.

  • How to talk to a reporter about your research.” Annual Meeting Program Symposium, Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting. 7 November 2017.

  • “Weaving your Web: Science Communication and Social Media for Insect Scientists.” 2016 XXV International Congress of Entomology (ICE) Session Convener with Maggie Hardy. Orlando FL. 26 September 2016.

  • “Science Communication and Short Attention Spans,” University of Illinois Department of Entomology, Champaign, IL. February 15, 2016.

  • “Someone is Wrong on the Internet! What the Science of Science Communication Can Teach Us.” Entomological Society of America National Meeting, Program Symposium. Portland, OR. 19 November 2014.

  • “The Liberal Art of Entomology.” Presidential Symposium, North Central Branch Meeting, Entomological Society of America. Minneapolis, MN. 28 March 2000.

  • “Scientists’ use of the terms Sex and Gender as Synonyms.” American Sociology Association (ASA) National Meeting Roundtable. Toronto ONT. 8 Aug. 1997.

  • “Motivating and Retaining Women Students in Entomology.” President’s Symposium on Diversity, National Meeting, Entomological Society of America. Nashville, TN. 15 Dec. 1995.


Other Professional Service

  • Purdue College of Agriculture PK-12 Council. February 2015 – August 2022.

  • Faculty Advisor, Thomas Say Undergraduate Entomology Club. Purdue University. October 2016 – January 2022.

  • Entomology Development Committee. Purdue University. January 2016 – January 2018.

  • Governing Board, Organization of Biological Field Stations. 2009—2015.

  • Meeting Coordinator, Organization of Biological Field Stations and National Association of Marine Laboratories Joint Meeting. “Networking FSMLs to Address Environmental Change.” Marine Biological Laboratories, Woods Hole MA. September 20—24, 2014.

  • Member, NSF Site Review Committee. University of Massachusetts-Boston Nantucket Field Station. October 2012.

  • MSU College of Natural Science Committee on Diversity and Community, January 2008—November 2010.

  • Michigan 4H Environmental and Outdoor Education Priority Program Area Team, MSU Entomology Representative. November 2005—November 2009.

  • Campus Coordinator, MentorNet. Michigan State University College of Natural Science. 2003—2007.

  • Judge, 2006 & 2007 Michigan 4H Entomology State Award, Michigan State University.

  • Sleight High School Leadership Workshop Co-facilitator. March 1997 & 1998. Albion College, Albion, MI.

  • Member, President’s Council on Minority Affairs (PACMA), Albion College. December 1996—1997.

  • Faculty Advisor, La Raza Student Organization. University of Texas Permian Basin. 1994—1995.

  • Regional Science Fair Judge, West Texas Region II. April 1993—1995.

  • Participant, Scientist-Teacher Partnership. August 1989—July 1992.

  • Congressional Testimony, Oversight Hearing on The Reauthorization of The Higher Education Act Of 1965; Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education. June 28, 1991.

  • Member, Women Students Advisory Board, North Carolina State University 1985—1987.


Science Writing

Scholarly Publications

invited presentations
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