The 2008 EAS Hambleton Award winner is Zachary Huang, PhD from Michigan State University.
Zachary became interested in insects before he was five years old. Growing up in the countryside of China allowed him to play with ants, caterpillars and praying mantids. He still remembers small “experiments’ with them such as scratching the soil on an ant foraging trail to disrupt their normal travelling, or imprisoning ants inside a circle drawn by mothballs. In 1978 he attended an agricultural college in his home province, Hunan. Majoring in both entomology and plant pathology, he nevertheless showed more interest in insects than plants. For his honors thesis he calculated life tables for rice leaf rollers.
Graduating from college with honors in 1982, he considred himself truly lucky to win a national competition for a scholarship (the only one in the whole country) to study in Canada for a graduate degree. Realizing that he had never seen bees before (neither had he tasted honey), he chose to live with beekeepers in log cabins and tents, helping with Varroa mite control and royal jelly production, while reading about bee biology. In June 1983 he obtained his visa for Canada and chose University of Guelph because at the time it had the strongest apicultural program in North America. At Guelph, he studied under Professor Gard Otis for his PhD. He published five papers from his PhD and was eager to return to China.
However, no Chinese universities would accept both him and his wife. In August 1988 he started a postdoctoral position to study insect pharmacology with Dr. Charles Knowles, University of Missouri. Desiring to work with honey bees again he joined Dr. Gene Robinson at the University of Illinois in March 1989, a position he retained for eight and a half years.
Zachary achieved a permanent academic position when he was hired in November of 1998 to continue his research on honey bees at Michigan State University. Since then he has worked to serve the beekeeping industry in Michigan and throughout North America and to develop his teaching skills.
Zachary has been a featured speaker and teacher at EAS several times. Congratulations, Zach!