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February 2, 2021
  • Thomas Fezza

By Thomas Fezza

Thomas Fezza is a recipient of the D. Elmo Hardy Student Assistance Endowment. This is an excerpt from his thank-you letter to the donor.

I am a first-year graduate student pursuing a PhD in entomology in the Plant and Environmental Protection Science program at UH Mānoa with an emphasis on fruit fly pests. I obtained my master’s degree from UH Hilo in 2014, where I studied the chemical communication of native picture-winged flies.

Since graduation I have been working as a technician at the United States Department of Agriculture, working in the Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo, where I study invasive fruit flies. My research covers a wide range of duties including insect rearing and trapping, in addition to molecular work and behavioral bioassays.

Greater impact and better provision

Last year I decided it was time to continue my education so I could better provide for my family and have a greater impact on the scientific community. I hope to obtain a position as a lead scientist with the USDA, where I would have the opportunity to manage a lab and develop projects with the potential to help eradicate invasive fruit fly species from agricultural fields.

Thanks to your generous scholarship I am progressing toward achieving my goal.

The D. Elmo Hardy Student Assistance Endowment reduced my financial burden, allowing me to focus on my schoolwork and not worry so much about sacrifices I would have to ask my family to make. I hope one day I will also be able to assist struggling students to reach their goals in higher education, assisting them in the same way you are helping me.

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808-956-8700 or send us a message.