The Coleopterists Society, an international organization of professionals and hobbyists interested in the study of beetles, has established a program to recognize young people studying beetles. The Society has pledged to provide up to $1200 each year for the Youth Incentive Award Program. Each of the two awards (Junior and Senior) will receive a monetary grant of $400 and $800, respectively. In addition to monetary grants, award recipients will receive a one-year subscription to the society journal, The Coleopterists Bulletin. This is for individual students of grades 7-12 only.

The objectives of the Youth Incentive Award are to:

  • provide encouragement and assistance to young beetle enthusiasts (grades 7-12).
  • promote the study of beetles, the most diverse group of insects, as a rewarding lifelong avocation or career.
  • provide opportunities for young people to develop important life skills such as leadership, cooperation, communication, planning and conducting a scientific study, grant writing and managing funds.
  • provide some financial support to enrich activities or projects.

Previous Winners

  • 2023 (Senior). Decier Oliver R. Mapile (Pangasinan, Philippines). Document and describe immature stages of some of the 150 species (many endemic) Cicindelidae of the Philippines.
  • 2023 (Senior). Olamini Ajayi (Ibadan, Nigeria). Collect and identify diverse species of beetles in
    NACGRAB Conservation Field, Moor Plantation near lbadan.
  • 2022 (Senior). Silas Eckhardt (Richmond, VA). Beetle survey during 2023 on the campus of Cardinal Newman Academy, Richmond, VA.
  • 2022 (Senior). Max Pankowski (Rockville, MD). Purchase/rescue amber fossil beetles, work with experts to determine if new, and describe them with expert scientists, donate them to museums.
  • 2021 (Senior). Gabriella Joseph (Shaker Heights, OH). How native (NE Ohio) dung beetles feed when there is a wide selection of animal dung not always found in their habitat.
  • 2021 (Junior). Connor Graham (Keizer, OR). Survey certain regional river and lake isolated islands for species of Nebria (Carabidae) and compare them to mainland species to see if there are differences related to distance from the mainland.
  • 2020 (Senior). Leticia Nascimento de Melo, Gabriel Galhardo, and Joao Carlos Lemos (Sao Paulo, Brazil). Survey and development of an identification key for the common beetle families found in the Parque Ecologico Chico Mendes (Brazil, Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo City).
  • 2020 (Junior). Sarah Rebecca Schiess Valverde (Galapagos, Ecuador). The Coleoptera of my farm in Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.
  • 2019 (Senior). Erik Tihelka (Hartpury, UK): Small is beautiful: revision of the Alexiidae ($400, plus $400 Bioquip catalog purchase).
  • 2019 (Senior). Ridley Graugnard (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA): Carabid transect/survey of abundance, species richness to determine the impact of construction along Highway 42 (Prairieville, LA) ($400, plus $400 Bioquip catalog purchase).
  • 2018 (Senior). Cade Campbell (Bristol, TN). To inventory Scarabaeinae (and other coprophilous beetles) at the endemic Osborne Bog, southern Appalachian Mountains, that have key roles as decomposers. $400, plus $400 BioQuip catalog match.
  • 2018 (Junior). Max Pankowski (Rockville, MD). To discover new species of prehistoric beetles, especially in amber, and to donate them to museums where there are scientists that are experts on the appropriate taxon so that they can study and describe new fossil taxa, $200, 1-yr society membership, plus $200 BioQuip catalog match.
  • 2017 (Senior). Wesley Hutchins (Swanville, ME). To determine the effects of Coleoptera on living and dead coniferous and deciduous trees in a forested plot in rural Maine. He will submit his findings to the Maine Forest Inventory Growth Project and the Maine Entomological Society. $400, plus $400 BioQuip catalog match.
  • 2017 (Senior). Hannah Lipschutz (Charleston, SC). Her project has the objective of evaluating rove beetle (Staphylinidae) populations during high and low tides on South Carolina beaches. She will compare abundance and activity in sand and wrack piles on Isle of Palm and Folly Beaches. $400, plus $400 BioQuip catalog match.
  • 2016 (Senior). Sydney Somchith (Chicago, IL). Comparison of Coleoptera in Two Habitats (Urban Lawn and Urban Native Plant). Mentor, Crystal Maier. $400, plus $400 BioQuip match.
  • 2016 (Junior). Quincy Hansen (Arvada, CO). Survey of Coccinellidae of Adams County, Colorado; Species Population Density, Seasonality, Weather Effects, etc, Especially in Argicultural Areas. Mentor, Chris Powers. $200, plus $200 BioQuip match.
  • 2015 (Junior). No award given.
  • 2015 (Senior). Noah Crockette (Sacramento, CA). Survey of the Dung Beetles of Stann Creek, Belize.
  • 2014 (Junior). Gianlucca Bacci (Greenbrae, CA). Testing the color change of Dynastes in response to humidity, temperature, and light.
  • 2014 (Senior). No award given.
  • 2013 (Senior). Isabella Daza (Port St. Lucie, FL). Isabella’s project examines the use of the entomopathogenic fungus Isaria fumosorosea Wize as a method for biological control of the invasive yellowmargined leaf beetle, Microtheca ochroloma Stål. The project’s main objective is to evaluate in the laboratory the repellency of the fungus to reduce feeding by the beetle on crucifer crops. Her results were presented at the Treasure Coast Science and Engineering Fair in February 2014.
  • 2013 (Junior). Sophia Moore-Smith (Rutland, VT). Sophia’s project is a survey of the beetle fauna among the four major mountain altitudinal ecozones (alpine, softwood, mixed deciduous/softwood, deciduous) of Killington Mt., Vermont. The research will determine if different species are limited in elevational range to these specific altitudinal ecozones. She will report her results to the Vermont Department of Forests and Parks.
  • 2012 (Senior). Sam Christensen (Greenville, NC). Sam’s project was a characterization of Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado Potato Beetle) as a vector for nematode diseases in North Carolina.
  • 2012 (Junior). Emma Christensen (Greenville, NC). Emma’s project was to record the daily changes in beetles caught in an insect trap she invented; to compare and correlate the changes in beetles caught to daily changes in temperature, humidity, moon phase, wind speed, cloud cover, barometric pressure, darkness, visibility, and rainfall; to pin and identify 2 coleopterans every day of 2013; and to improve her skill in identifying insects by learning to identify coleopterans.
  • 2011 (Senior). Rachel Rounds (Evart, MI).
  • 2011 (Junior). No award given.
  • 2010 (Senior). Mary Furth (Pleasantville, NY). To determine a natural alternative to chemical pesticides targeting the Japanese Beetle, Darkling Beetle by using the narcotic properties of the Geranium plant and its extract on Japanese and Darkling Beetles. The project will also test to see whether Tomato Hornworms can be effectively managed in the same way.
  • 2010 (Junior). Rachel Rounds (Evart, MI). 1) To educate farmers and the general public about dung beetles by identifying the coprophilus beetles found in cow dung at the Michigan State University Lake City Experiment Station from August through mid-September. 2) Make a collection of coprophilus beetles to be displayed at the Lake City Experiment Station. 3) To study the impact of coprophilus beetles on plant growth. 4) To teach kids in an inner city/Latino neighborhood of Grand Rapids about the wonders of entomology. 5) To provide an opportunity to challenge herself and learn more about insects.
  • 2009 (Senior). Sang Il Kim (Wallingford, CT). To extend the knowledge about the phylogenetic relationships within the tribe Dorcini (Lucanidae) through the electrophoretic analysis of proteins and DNA sequencing.
  • 2009 (Junior). Ramona Green for Terranequa Bagley, Joshua Shepard and Roosevelt Shields (Shreveport, LA). To explore different types, habitats, and behavior of beetles after a trip to the New Orleans Audubon Insectarium and to share this information with their class.
  • 2008 (Senior). Sung Won Cho (Groton, MA). To determine how habitat types affect the relative population size of Carabid beetles around Groton.
  • 2008 (Junior). Matthew Christiansen (Frederick, MD). To determine carrion beetle bait preferences and seasonality in Frederick.
  • 2007 (Senior). Allison Bernett (Longmont, CO). Revision of 12 species of Eleodes (Tenebrionidae) that inhabit the plains of eastern Colorado.
  • 2007 (Junior). Grayson Walls (Mesquite, TX). To study and determine what types of dung are preferred by dung beetles and how well they find food.
  • 2006 (Senior). Sean Griffin (Silver Spring, MD). To determine the effect of a forest road (habitat fragmentation) on beetle diversity through a transect study.
  • 2006 (Junior). Eric Heeg (Marshfield, WI). To collect, prepare, label, etc. Meloids from various local habitats, write a key, and do museum/collection work at the University of Wisconsin.
  • 2005 (Senior). Caitlin Ditta (Rockville Centre, NY). Exploring the biomechanics of Bessbugs (Odontotaenius disjunctus).
  • 2005 (Senior). Chris Wirth (Powhatan, VA). To inventory Coleoptera species found on a wooded residential lot in central Virginia and compose a photographic field guide “Backyard Beetles.”
  • 2004 (Senior). Shannon L. Babb (Highland, UT). Study of the host feeding habits of Phaedon laevigatus, the Watercress Beetle.
  • 2003 (Senior). Gladys Mwangi (Ruiru, Kenya). A Study of Common Coleoptera found in Murang’a District, Kenya working under the guidance of Dr. Mbugi, Zoology Dept., Kenyatta University, Nairobi.
  • 2002. No award given.
  • 2001 (Senior). Shelby Livingston (Glendale, MO). Comparing aquatic Coleoptera faunas of a pond on a golf course with one not impacted by golf course treatments. Results will be put onto school website.
  • 2001 (Junior). Andrew Schmidt (Schuyler, NE). Study Coleoptera fauna in an undisturbed patch of prairie (under easement by Nebraska Audubon), compare to non-prairie meadows, and make collections for deposition at his school and the University of Nebraska State Museum.
  • 2001 (Junior). Christine Tracy (St. Louis, MO). Study the habitat preference for Psephenidae in various habitats of a stream ecosystem.
  • 2000 (Senior). James Whelan (Florence, SC). To discover what types of beetles live in a derelict lot in South Carolina and to compose a guide for the best methods (traps, baits, etc.) for collecting beetles in such places.
  • 1999 (Senior). Patty Rodziewicz (Ocean, NJ). The behavior of beetles (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) when exposed to artificial flowers of their innate color preference and real lilies (Liliaceae) of a different color.
  • 1998 (Senior). Jeffrey M. Valla (Saratoga Springs, NY). Working with scientists at Cornell University, to test the effectiveness of Japanese Beetle pheromone traps by testing different potencies for the attraction radii.
  • 1998 (Junior). Jennifer Philips / Sarah Terry (Guilderland, NY). Working with a researcher at Cornell University, to monitor the effects of biological control agents (Galerucella sp.) of Purple Loosestrife by rearing and distributing the beetles to help control Purple Loosestrife locally through other schools.
  • 1997 (Senior). James McNeil (Cobleskill, NY). To find an inexpensive, relatively safe way, to inhibit the activity of Dermestid beetles in collections and to determine if local rather than foreign insect specimens in collections are preferred by these beetles. This will be done by studying the eating habits and physiology of adults and larvae. Preference for local versus foreign insect specimens in collections will be examined and gel electrophoresis to detect protein differences of these food items.
  • 1997 (Junior). Melissa Pickering (Three Forks, MT). To establish a baseline of beetle diversity along the confluence of the Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison Rivers at Three Forks, MT. To determine whether or not the presence, distribution and abundance of beetles can be used as an indicator of riparian areas.
  • 1997 (Junior). Katie Lee Schmidt (Schuyler, NE). To study and rear multiple species of Trox beetles (Scarabaeoidea: Trogidae). To identify and hopefully describe (including length of larval instar) the eggs, larva, and pupae with adult beetles. To note the behavioral patterns in all stages of the beetle’s life cycle.
  • 1996 (Senior). Joshua Gewolb (Port Washington, NY). Compilation of a manuscript on unusual beetle species made from 200 questionnaires to a variety of coleopterists. The results of these questionnaires will be posted on a website as anecdotal essays with photos as “Unusual Coleoptera: A Collection of Essays.”
  • 1995 (Senior). Jocelyn Anne Syllvester Silvester (Kelowna, BC). To examine the effect of long-term low temperature storage on the adult fecundity of Delphastus sp. (Coccinellidae).
  • 1995 (Junior). Jason Van Hassel (Millville, NJ). To collect information about the Tiger Beetles (Cicindellidae), specifically life cycle, eating and mating habits, coloration, lifestyle, habitat, population growth, effects of the environment and the insect’s environmental impact.
  • 1994 (Senior). Jason Munive (Cobbleskill, NY). The objectives are (1) to determine the effect that the beetle (Mordellistena unicolor: Mordellidae) has on the goldenrod plant Solidago canadensis. (2) to investigate the response of the goldenrod as a result of the activity of the beetle. (3) to investigate in detail the co-evolution of the organisms involved in the goldenrod gall system.
  • 1994 (Junior). Heather Anderson (Lyme, NH). To inventory the various aquatic beetle species existing at Post Pond in Lyme, NH. This will complement other aquatic environmental science activities of this Pond as part of the State of New Hampshire’s Interactive Lake Ecology Program.
  • 1993 (Senior). Alicia Najarro (Bronx, NY). To find out as much as possible about the relationship between Mordellistena unicolor (Coleoptera: Mordellidae) and its prey.
  • 1993 (Junior). Kyle Beucke (Stony Brook, NY). To see if increased activity in other Scarab beetles indicates fair weather to come as with the story told by J. Henri Fabre’s about Geotrupes.
  • 1992. No award given.
  • 1991 (Senior). Mary Bucklew (Temple, TX). To determine whether Leaf Beetles (Trirhabda bacharidis) can grow successfully on different plants that they would not normally feed on.
  • 1990. No award given.
  • 1989 (Senior). Jonathan Mawdsley (Lynchburg, VA). To determine the effects of environmental changes on the population levels of tiger beetles (Cicindellidae) in select areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.

A Youth Incentive Award Committee from the Coleopterists Society will evaluate the applications and will select up to two winners annually: one each in junior (grades 7-9) and senior (grades 10-12) categories. The selection committee invites proposals for topics such as field collecting trips to conduct beetle species inventories or diversity studies, attending workshops or visiting entomology or natural history museums for special training and projects on beetles, studying aspects of beetle biology, etc. The proposed activities or projects will be evaluated on their degree of creativity, educational benefit to the applicant, scientific merit, feasibility and budgetary planning. This Award is for proposals by individuals only. Each applicant is strongly encouraged to find an adult advisor (teacher, youth group leader, parent, etc.) to provide guidance in proposal development, but the proposal MUST be written by the applicant. The Coleopterists Society would also be happy to assist in establishing contacts between youth and professional Coleopterists.

Additional details and application forms for The Coleopterists Society Youth Incentive Award Program can be obtained from: Dr. David G. Furth; Entomology, NHB, MRC 165; P.O. Box 37012; Smithsonian Institution; Washington, D. C. 20013-7012 (phone: 202-633-0990, FAX: 202-786-2894, email:

Applications for this year must be submitted by 1 November.

Download the application form »