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.