Graduate Students

cpencaCory Penca
PhD/DPM Student

Cory Penca was born in Coral Springs, Florida. He attended the University of Florida as an undergraduate where he majored in Botany. After his graduation he worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Division of Plant Industry as a laboratory technician where he worked on technique development for various biological control projects. His research goals at UF involve studying the impact of stink bugs on peach in Florida, as well as general research on stink bugs and participation in extension activities.





arjunArjun Khadka   
MS/DPM Student

Arjun Khadka is a MS and DPM Student at the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology. He is conducting research on several species of stink bugs and their relation to humidity in a rearing chamber for his MS thesis. He is involved in preparation of e-learning modules needed for the extension activities of Dr. Hodges. He also works on various other assistantship duties assigned by Dr. Hodges. Arjun received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, Rampur campus, Chitwan, Nepal. He showed his propensity towards Entomology as he took Entomology as elective courses during his BS in Nepal. Soon after his graduation he enrolled himself in a three month long volunteering in insect rearing program of Entomology division of NARC (Nepal Agriculture Research Council). He also worked as a Technical Officer (T6) in Agriculture and Food Security Project (AFSP) of Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) at Agriculture Research Station (ARS), Vijayanagar, Jumla, Nepal for one year. He was involved in various research trials of agronomic activities ARS, Jumla. Arjun hopes to develop career on research related fields and conduct research on various pests and diseases of agriculture commodities. His spare time is heavily consumed by his acoustic guitar and plectrum.


sageSage Thompson
MS/DPM Student

Sage is majoring in entomology at the University of Florida with a specialization in biosecurity. She assists with rearing of insects for various graduate student projects including the brown marmorated stink bug and various native stink bugs. She became interested in entomology when she started volunteering to rear insects for a graduate student in the DPM program. She was raised in Cocoa, FL.



arianeAriane McCorquodale
MS/DPM Student

Ariane is originally from Virginia but has been a permanent resident of Florida, where her family now lives. Ariane’s undergraduate degree is in interactive media design but 6 years working in state parks led her to entomology. As an AmeriCorps member and then park ranger, she got to work intimately with Florida’s natural communities and learned a lot about land management and the threats invasive species pose upon our natural resources. She has experience treating invasive plants and using prescribed fire to maintain habitat in addition to public outreach. She started her Master’s degree in Entomology online through the University of Florida’s distance program. She is now completing her degree in Dr. Hodges’ lab where she is researching the seasonality of two pest species of mealybugs. Ariane is also a student in the Doctor of Plant Medicine Program.



morganMorgan Pinkerton
Graduate Student Lab Technician

Morgan has been working in the University of Florida Biosecurity Research & Extension lab as a lab technician since February 2016. She completed her Bachelor's of Science in Biology and two minors in Anthropology and Spanish at the University of Florida in the Fall of 2016. As of Spring 2017, she is working on her Master’s in Entomology with a research focus on exotic and established stink bugs. Specifically, she is working with the red banded stink bug, Piezodorus guildinii and the bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris in quarantine. She is also looking at pest identification abilities of small scale farmers throughout Florida.

Ploy Kurdmongkoltham


I was born in Bangkok, Thailand and moved to the U.S. when I was 8-years old. I grew up in a small town in Temple, Georgia. I received my B.S. and M.S. in Biology from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL where I focused on active molecular properties in pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) and its effects on bacterial cells. I came across the DPM program during my quest of continuing my education, and I was fascinated with the multidisciplinary approach to plant health. I love that the program is exposing me to areas of science that I was not able to experience in my previous studies. I am fortunate to be a part of the DPM program, and I am ready for the new experiences and opportunities the program has to offer.

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