As a recipient of the ICAN-WISE women in Science scholarship, Melissa Kelly spends her summer learning various aspects of Veterinary Entomology with her mentor Dr. Kateryn Rochon, in the Department of Entomology at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Rochon and Ms. Kelly are studying the geographic distribution changes occurring in two species of ticks across Manitoba, the American dog tick and the blacklegged tick.
Ms. Kelly has been collecting throughout the province, and is building a nice collection of pictures of herself and her lab mates posing with the different landmarks associated with particular towns in Manitoba! She will be part of the team venturing further north with the objective of defining the northern distributional limits of American dog ticks in Manitoba. Melissa will also work on comparing traditional methods of age determination in ticks with a new method using stable isotope analysis.
Melissa also had the pleasure of welcoming two high school students from other provinces while they were hosted in Dr. Rochon’s lab. This unique experience not only broadened the views of the students but Melissa's view as well. As Ms. Kelly and Dr. Rochon's team engaged the students in several activities Melissa re-discovered the broad spectrum of applications that the entomological field has to offer. This has led to a slight change in Melissa's academic pursuits from Veterinarian to Veterinary Entomologist. She views this change as the" same coin but, different side".
Each day that she spends with her mentor, Melissa is learning more and more about the fascinating biology of ticks and other arthropods that affect animal health and well being.