Northeastern IPM Center Names Maggie Lewis, Kathy Murray Recipients of 2020 Award

Award recognizes accomplishments in IPM by students, professionals

The Northeastern Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center has announced the two recipients of its 2020 Outstanding Achievements in Integrated Pest Management Award: Kathy Murray, IPM program coordinator for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF); and Maggie Lewis, PhD candidate in the University of Maryland, College Park, Department of Entomology.

The annual award, launched in 2019, recognizes individuals or organizations whose work on IPM in the Northeast deserves special recognition, with a goal of honoring one professional (or organization) and one student each year. Nominations come from peers whose work relates to IPM in various capacities. Each winner receives $500 and agrees to provide a story and/or host a webinar for the Center.

The Center presented the awards virtually this year, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were pleased to receive such an enthusiastic response to our call for nominations,” said Deborah G. Grantham, Center director. "The glowing testimonials make it clear that Kathy Murray and Margaret Lewis have both distinguished themselves and earned widespread recognition for their work on critical pest-management issues—Murray as an experienced professional, and Lewis as a graduate student just starting her career.”

About This Year's Winners

Professional Honoree: Kathy Murray

Kathy Murray using giant cockroaches to engage youth and families in learning about integrated pest management

Kathy Murray using giant cockroaches to engage youth and families in learning about integrated pest management. Photo provided by Kathy Murray.

Over the course of her twenty-plus-year career, Kathy Murray has earned recognition for her work on many specific pests. She has developed improved methods for managing filth flies and beetles in livestock operations and performed mosquito monitoring with Maine’s vector-borne disease working group to reduce outbreaks of West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.

But she is perhaps best known for her work in school IPM. Since 2002, when Maine’s Board of Pesticides Control instituted rules that required schools to practice IPM, Murray has developed and provided extensive guidance and training materials to help school personnel effectively understand and incorporate IPM into their broad range of operations.

Outside the region, Murray has also worked on national materials, managed grants, and been published by the EPA.

“I have had the great fortune to find work I love and the support of mentors and colleagues,” said Murray. “I am truly honored and humbled to receive this recognition for our efforts to advance IPM to protect people, the environment, and our food and fiber supply.”

In her nomination materials, Murray was described as a “tireless teacher and advocate” who “has always gone well beyond the call of duty, always available to lend a hand for any IPM effort.”

Student Honoree: Maggie Lewis

Maggie Lewis speaking about her research on spray coverage in caneberries to an audience of growers, extension agents, and university researchers at the Western Maryland Research and Education Center Horticultural Twilight Meeting and Tour

Maggie Lewis speaking about her research on spray coverage in caneberries to an audience of growers, extension agents, and university researchers at the Western Maryland Research and Education Center Horticultural Twilight Meeting and Tour. Photo by Susan Barnes/University of Maryland Extension.

Maggie Lewis is a graduate student working under the guidance of Kelly Hamby, associate professor and extension specialist in the University of Maryland, College Park, Department of Entomology. She defended her PhD in March and is graduating this May.

Lewis’s doctoral work has focused on spotted wing drosophila (SWD), a significant pest of soft-skinned fruit crops that, at this time, is best controlled through pesticides. Her work has laid the foundation for developing alternative tactics and improving management practices.

Lewis has invested time and energy not just in research, but also in relationship-building with stakeholders including growers, professional societies, and extension personnel, seeking to get constituents engaged in the process of developing and implementing IPM methods to control SWD.

Though still a student herself, Lewis has shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for IPM by mentoring undergraduate researchers. She has also been published multiple times, obtained $81,000 in competitive research grants, and been invited to speak at multiple symposia.

“I have been really fortunate to work alongside and learn from a great group of people, and to find a career that I love,” said Lewis. “I was initially drawn to the field of entomology because of the applied-pest-management aspect, and I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to advance new and more sustainable IPM programs.”

Lewis’s nominations expressed confidence that she is “well positioned to advance the field of IPM” and is “passionate about IPM research and education.”

“The glowing testimonials make it clear that Kathy Murray and Margaret Lewis have both distinguished themselves and earned widespread recognition for their work on critical pest-management issues.”

- Deborah G. Grantham, director, Northeastern IPM Center

Read More

For more information about the Outstanding Achievements in IPM Award—including details about who is eligible to nominate candidates or receive the award and the types of accomplishments considered worthy of recognition—see this year’s call for nominations.

Look for the 2021 call for nominations to be released in spring or summer 2021.