In November 2023, with the support of the FLMNH Travel Award and the Directors Office and the Department of Natural History, I traveled to National Harbor, Maryland to present my ongoing research at the Entomological Society of America’s Annual Meeting.

I was excited to receive support from the FLMNH for a second time to present at this conference, as it has been instrumental in my professional development as a staff member of the Florida Museum. It enabled me to present my preliminary findings on the assembly and annotation of the genome for the Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus). Because of this, I was able to discuss future directions and different analyses I can use to improve this work with other researchers in the field. In addition to my own presentation, I was able to attend talks given by other professionals, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students ranging from insect conservation in urban environments to interpreting silk weaving as musical compositions.

Having attended this conference two years in a row, I have found that the most rewarding event has been the Women and Allies in Entomology Breakfast. We were encouraged to move around the room and have breakfast with people we didn’t know to network with women and allies from many backgrounds and positions. I love being able to gain insight on the entomological world from women well-established in their careers during this event.

Following the meeting, I had the opportunity to tour the entomology collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History with Dr. Alma Solis, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting at both EntSoc Meetings I have attended. This reinforced my desire to continue working in museums and museum collections, as I was able to meet many career entomologists and explore the vast collections housed in the Smithsonian.

This travel would not have been possible without the support of the FLMNH Travel Award, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to attend such an important meeting once again. Thank you to the Natural History Travel Awards committee for considering me and my research!