Diego is an Environmental Biology major from Fairfax, Va. A transfer student to Radford University, Diego has always been deeply interested in biology.
"Ever since I was young I dreamed of going to places like the Amazon to explore and uncover life’s little secrets," he says. "I am a Virginian born and raised and I’m glad to be getting such an opportunity while attending a Virginia university."
Diego is looking to the future as he hopes that the experience he gains on this trip will be a stepping stone to even greater things. "I hope to be applying to several internships in the months following my return," he says. "I would absolutely love to work somewhere like the Smithsonian’s environmental research center."
Biology is not his only passion. "In my spare time I’m somewhat of a chef, and I love whipping up delicious dishes for friends and family," he states. "I have a pet cat named Jack and he’s basically the only thing that keeps me sane with the stress of school. I enjoy a good time and love being around friends and making people smile."
This study is designed to examine the ecological roles of parasitoid wasps; wasps that spend a portion of their life cycle parasitizing other insects. In many known species of these wasps, there is a tendency to specialize in one host insect. Through collection and dissection of various potential host insects, this experiment seeks to answer the question: are particular species of insect larvae more likely than others to be targeted by parasitoid wasps and what environmental features might relate to parasitization? In answering this question, the role of parasitoids as biological control organisms can be better understood.