Monday, August 18, 2014

Student from Tajikistan earns Masters of Science from Michigan State University

We are pleased to announce that a student member of our Central Asia team, Shahlo Safarzoda, has completed her Masters of Science degree in Entomology from Michigan State University (MSU).
Shahlo Safarzoda, new graduate from MSU
Learn about Shahlo in our interview, below.

Hometown: Ishkashim, Tajikistan near the Afghanistan border.
Major professor at MSU: Doug Landis

What did you research? Before receiving my M.S. in spring 2014, I was a graduate student with the Central Asia IPM Project. I studied biological control of cereal aphids in wheat. We were mostly interested in natural enemies of cereal aphids. We found that the natural enemy community was very effective in suppressing cereal aphid populations. The ground-dwelling predators in the early season were more effective than predators that typically forage in the canopy.

What or who inspired your studies? My dad was an agriculturalist and a veterinarian, and he was my first inspiration. Secondly, in Tajikistan they use a lot of chemicals and don’t have information to use them safely. They are expensive and unlabeled. Biological control is cheaper and safer for farmers. Dr. Karim Maredia inspired my interest in biological control. I met him while helping with a meeting and translating for a field visit. He told me about MSU and the work in the Landis lab.

What is your favorite activity outside of entomology? I like dancing. I do the Tajik national dance and I like to bowl, which I learned here.

Most exciting part of your studies? Counting aphids!

Future plans? I will return to Tajikistan and help students at the Institute of Farming. I’ll be assisting a professor with field studies about natural enemies and biological control. I look forward to continuing a network with those who have been a part of the IPM CRSP Central Asia project. 

What would you like Americans to know about Tajikistan?I would like them to know its beautiful nature and about the rocky Pamir Mountains, the highest mountains in Central Asia.

What would you like Tajiks to know about Americans?People are very friendly and willing to help. I especially enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving and would like them to experience that.

Anything else you’d like to say? I would like to thank all of the IPM CRSP project team (through Feed the Future Security Innovation Lab: Collaborative Research in IPM) for supporting me and making me feel like MSU is my home.