The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) started the Young Professionals (YP) Program to increase the participation of students as well as professionals new to the mosquito industry (~5 years or less). The YP group provides these AMCA members with opportunities to build relationships with each other as well as network with experienced professionals. The main outlet for this engagement is the annual AMCA meeting. 2016 marked the 3rd year of YP activities, which included an informal dinner, a fieldtrip, and the highlight of the week – the YP symposium! The roundtable format encourages YPs to speak with experts in different mosquito-related fields to gain unique perspectives and new skills.
While the annual meeting is a great opportunity, it can be difficult for YPs to attend for various reasons – with budget related obstacles topping the list. To help bring a greater number of YPs to the annual meeting, a Shadowing Program was implemented in 2016. The program asked industry partners to support AMCA YPs with travel stipends, allowing for greater attendance, and VDCI was eager to partner with the program.
During the annual meeting in Savannah, GA, VDCI had the privilege of hosting a bright young student from Western Illinois State University (WIU), Kennen Hutchison. Kennen is currently studying microbiology at WIU in Macomb, Illinois. He works as a research assistant with Chikungunya virus in Dr. Catherine Miller-Hunt’s laboratory as well as with growth promoting fungi in Dr. Andrea Porras-Alfaro’s laboratory. When not in the classroom, or the laboratory, he plays sports, watches TED talks, and studies the current literature on regenerative biology. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree, his intention is to enroll in a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) to earn a Ph.D. in Virology, paired with a M.D. in Internal Medicine. We learned that his goal is to someday work to create treatments and vaccines for infectious diseases.
It was a fun and rewarding experience to be involved with the YP Shadowing Program. However, I and the other members of the AMCA gained the true reward. Sponsoring Kennen, and encouraging his involvement in our mosquito management ecosystem, exposed us to a brilliant mind, brimming with enthusiasm and creative ideas. He’s a fun guy to hang out with as well. If our future is left in the hands of young professionals, like Kennen, I feel secure knowing our industry will be in good hands.
Kennen, the VDCI team wishes you all the best in your future career goals and we look forward to working with you for many years to come.
Since 1992, Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) has taken pride in providing municipalities, mosquito abatement districts, industrial sites, planned communities, homeowners associations, and golf courses with the tools they need to run effective mosquito control programs. We are determined to protect the public health of the communities in which we operate. Our mosquito control professionals have over 100 years of combined experience in the field of public health, specifically vector disease control. We strive to provide the most effective and scientifically sound mosquito surveillance and control programs possible based on an Integrated Mosquito Management approach recommended by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). VDCI is the only company in the country that can manage all aspects of an integrated mosquito management program, from surveillance to disease testing to aerial application in emergency situations.