Vashti B. Tatman
Department of Entomology
Vashti Tatman’s greatest sense of accomplishment as an undergraduate has come from being employed in her actual field of study since her sophomore year. Vashti worked in the Ohio State Insectary, taking care of ant colonies and working with Stink Bug parasitoid research. These assignments provided her with experience and an extensive education that will help prepare her for a future career as an entomologist. Her nominator, Dr. Joe Raczkowski, highlighted that Vashti pursued opportunities in two research laboratories during her time at OSU, and her expertise proved valuable in both cases. In Dr. Celeste Welty’s lab, she was responsible for cultivating colonies of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, which were critical for the various research projects in which she participated. In the lab of Dr. Rachelle Adams, she maintained 175 colonies of various fungus-growing ant species for research projects, vouchered specimens, and wrote protocols for new lab members.
Working on campus in the Ohio State Insectary with George Keeney has been an extremely valuable learning experience. It expanded her knowledge a great deal and helped to cultivate her passion and love for insects during her time in the lab. Among the numerous techniques she honed there, learning how to “rear” insects when housing the species was an incredibly valuable skill to attain in Entomology. She also learned how places like the Insectary can reuse things in order to work more sustainably.
Vashti would like to recognize Mr. George Keeney as her Ohio State mentor. In Vashti’s words, “George Keeney is my mentor because he has taught me so much and allowed me to really follow my passion of rearing insects. I would have had this dream of starting my own insectary, but not have the knowledge or experience to actually achieve this dream, if it weren’t for him. He allowed me to complete my internship at the Insectary, and really took me under his wing, and taught me so much. I would say he has taught me everything he knows, but I don’t think that would ever be possible. He knows so much, and really has allowed my dream to become a reality one day[.] [And] I can only hope that my future insectary makes him proud, and [that] he knows that none of it would be possible if it wasn’t for him.”
After graduation, Vashti plans to attend graduate school to obtain her master’s degree and then go on to earn her PhD. Her future career goals are to start an insectary at the Columbus Zoo, to travel the globe collecting different specimens, and to teach others about the vast world of insects. Vashti also wants to aid in the conservation efforts of different species. Therefore, part of her future insectary’s mission will be to rear species and release them into the wild, in hopes of establishing new colonies and boosting their population.
Service, involvement, and accolades: Chrysalis Entomology Club | CFAES Student Council | Abundant Life Tabernacle, volunteer | Children’s Choir, volunteer