Student Achievements

Graduate Student awarded NASA grant

November 10, 2020

Graduate Student awarded NASA grant

Grand Valley State University is one of 11 academic affiliate Michigan Space Grants Consortium (MSGC) institutions in Michigan. MSGC provides funding for research and educational opportunities for students, faculty, and staff in the form of seed grants, program grants, and fellowships.

Randi Lesagonicz, a Grand Valley Graduate Teaching Assistant, was recently awarded a MSGC grant to continue her research on detecting bugs in bat’s diet.

Randi’s research mentor, Dr. Amy Russell, shares what she believes is the most relevant part of this research project:

“This project has the potential to be of real economic and environmental impact on local agriculture. Michigan is one of the largest producers of apples in the U.S., and the contribution of bats to the control of apple pest insects is not well understood. The extent to which bats help control these pest insects and the importance of management practices to bat activity may justify farmers’ investments in ecological management practices which would benefit both the bat populations and the farmers’ economic bottom line.”

We asked Randi what she is most proud of throughout her whole research experience, and she said:

“I am most proud that I have been given the opportunity to study the bats' role in a niche that isn't fully studied (bat diet in apple orchards, specifically in southern Michigan) and to have been able to educate the public about the importance of bats in agriculture and elsewhere through my research.” 

Finally, we asked Dr. Russell what she is most proud of when she gets to work with students like Randi:

“Randi is doing an excellent job on this project, and has really had to deal with some unexpected changes along the way. Getting significant external funding allowed her to pursue more advanced lab techniques than she initially intended, which was definitely a change for the better! But then the COVID pandemic really put a damper on the amount and type of fieldwork she was able to do. I’m so proud of the way she’s rolled with the punches, and always tried to get the most meaningful data given these changing constraints.”

Congratulations Randi!

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Page last modified November 10, 2020