Grace Barrett


Undergraduate digitization assistant

Jamie Beach


Undergraduate digitization assistant

Gisella DePiazza

Undergraduate volunteer

depiazzaI am a senior majoring in Natural Resource Conservation and enjoy exploring the field of pollinator ecology and forest health. I plan on attending graduate school studying forest entomology and have always had an interest in Lepidoptera. On my free time I love being outdoors and getting out into the field as much as possible!

Nolan Ferguson

Undergraduate volunteer

fergusonSince early childhood I would hunt on spring days for young caterpillars and eggs, creating small “paradises” for them to live out their alien lives that gave me an opportunity to study the wonder that they inspired in me. With the opportunities provided by the Florida Museum, I found a place to raise them with more intentional and professional care elevating a lifelong passion to a tangible research experience. I am pursuing a creative career, but continue to employ these insects as both subjects for my work and as a “living material.”

Saria Francis

francisUndergraduate digitization assistant



Macy Fraunfelter

M_FraunfelterUndergraduate volunteer



Ava Johnson

Undergraduate volunteer

johnsonI love all things insects, but especially Lepidoptera! I’ve been raising caterpillars since as long as I can remember, from swallowtails to monarchs to woolly bears and even hornworms. These creatures inspire me not only as a scientific curiosity, but they also make wonderful subjects for my art. Whether I’m drawing a caterpillar, releasing a butterfly, or simply cleaning up poo, Lepidoptera have always been a fascinating part of my life.

Skyla Sheehy

Undergraduate volunteer

sheehyMy initial venture into insects involved volunteering in a butterfly house. Teaching young children about Lepidoptera sparked my curiosity and inspired me to continue my experience with entomology. Coming full circle, I now rear caterpillars in the Kawahara lab to study the evolution of silk glands. I’m excited to expand my involvement with this project and continue to grow more comfortable around these fascinating creatures!

Olivia Van Der Vlugt

Undergraduate volunteer

van der vlugtI’m an undergraduate Entomology and Nematology student on the pre-professional track. I’m currently interested in medical entomology, particularly how insects and insect-byproducts can be used as medicine and medical equipment. In the Kawahara Lab, I help Dr. Bert Foquet rear caterpillars and collect their silk for further testing.


For questions about undergraduate research opportunities in the Kawahara Lab, please contact Akito Kawahara ( and Taylor Pierson (