- July 2018
Dept. of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology & Plant Pathology
Years in Position: 1 Year, 8 Months Years at MSU: 1 Year, 8 Months
Most jobs do not involve seeing one’s boss dressed up in a cockroach costume, but Jason Sanders loves his job working at the Mississippi Entomological Museum.
His primary responsibility is coordinating the Mississippi Bug Blues outreach program, which Jennifer Seltzer and JoVonn Hill launched in 2012. The program has undergone a metamorphosis since it began, expanding beyond education about invasive insect species to including conservation and biodiversity.
“My favorite part of the job is seeing the looks on people’s faces when they learn something new,” Jason said. “Insects are endlessly fascinating and are a great gateway to getting the public, especially younger children, interested in their surroundings and science in general. When anyone reacts with awe and wonder as we present them with new information or show them some of the amazing insect specimens we have housed at the Mississippi Entomological Museum, it’s a great day!”
Jason travels around the state educating people about why the environment is important and what they can do to help. In addition to speaking at public schools, agricultural events, wildlife camps and the Mississippi State Fair, the team launched its own campus-based events: Insect Movie Night and Mississippi State Insect Fair.
The path to this position began in 2010, when Jason graduated from Mississippi State with his master of business administration . . . and decided he didn’t like business. In 2013 he finished his bachelor of fine arts degree and took a job designing candles for Starkville’s local candle company, CURiO (formerly DPM Fragrance). When he saw the entomology department was looking for a graphic designer, he decided to go for it.
“I am no stranger to making really out-of-left-field life changes,” he joked. “Now here I am, talking to somewhere around 30,000 people a year about insects. Life really is a mystery sometimes.”
He enjoys classic movies and traveling with his wife of 5.5 years, Christin.
Learn more about the Mississippi Bug Blues program at msbugblues.msstate.edu.