Greetings, my entomologist compatriots!
My name is Lindsay Erndwein and I am working at the Frost to assist graduate student, Emily Sandall, with the curation and digitization of odonate larvae.
I am a senior in materials science and engineering with a minor in entomology. My life’s ultimate passion is studying the polymeric materials that insects produce and recreating these materials for applications in science and technology. From the rigid yet flexible chitin of the cuticle, to the powerful, energy-storing resilin in saltatorial legs, I believe that insects exhibit a myriad of unique materials that can improve the world.
This year, I am conducting a senior thesis involving the 3D printing of double network hydrogels inspired by the underwater strength and adhesive properties of Trichopteran silk. My future plans involve pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering to study the development of artificial cartilage inspired by the resilience and flexibility of resilin. I also wish to become a professor and invigorate the next generation of scientists.
Unfortunately, this is my final semester at Penn State and I will miss many memorable experiences with the entomology department. Summer 2015, I aided Dr. Mike Saunders and graduate student, Erica Smyers with the initial field studies on the spotted lanternfly. It was surreal being a pioneer assistant researcher in such a recent infestation (and catching swarms of colorful, hopping, hemipterans for a summer job was also incredibly fun). Last year I participated in the wonderful class, ENT 432 with Dr. Andy Deans and loved broadening my knowledge of insect taxonomy in addition to enhancing the Frost’s diversity with my collection. I am honored to be able to work with this amazing department one last time before my departure upon graduation.
I look forward to an amazing semester and bid a warm hello to all!