Graduate Spotlight

Elizabeth Rowen

October 2013


Ian Kaplan

Expected Graduation

December 2014

EGO Officer Position

Intramural Captain

Originally From

Santa Cruz, CA

Future Career Plans

I would like get a PhD to continue doing research, and also do more extension work in the future.

Area of Research

Insect Ecology

Summary of Research

I am studying how tomatoes defend themselves against hornworms when they are exposed to their neighbor's herbivore-induced volatiles. These volatiles act as a warning signal allowing tomatoes to prepare for attack. We can take advantage of this trait by zeroing in on specific compounds that tomatoes respond to, increasing direct and indirect defenses against herbivore pests.

How You Got Into Entomology

I was actually scared of insects before starting my master's here a year ago. My first weekend I volunteered to help at the Purdue entomology booth at the Indiana State fair – I got over my fear in a hurry handling Madagascar giant cockroaches! The more I learn about insects, less intimidated I am by them in everyday life. Now I just find them fascinating!

Favorite Insect and Why

The monarch butterfly – Monarchs overwinter in my hometown, completely covering eucalyptus trees. In fact, my parents met over monarch butterflies!


I have been fencing (with swords) for more than 12 years – I fence saber for the Purdue Fencing Club.

Favorite Cookie

So hard to choose! Peanut Butter chocolate chip – or chocolate chip with dried cherries. Yum.

Favorite Book

Margret Atwood's Madaddam trilogy

Place You Would Like to Visit

I would like to drive the old Route 66 across the south, and visit Morocco.

Graduate Spotlight Archive

Serena Gross

December 2013

Aaron J. Myers

November 2013

Elizabeth Rowen

October 2013