Dr. Riggins is originally from Nebraska. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. During his time there he studied tiger beetles, carrion beetles, and below-ground invertebrates of wet meadows along the Platte River. He received a Ph.D. in Forest Entomology under Dr. Fred Stephen at the University of Arkansas in 2008. His research in Arkansas used traditional field ecology and modern geospatial techniques to investigate an outbreak of the red oak borer in the Ozark mountains. His current research investigates how disturbances and symbioses influence forest biogeochemistry. In his spare time, Dr. Riggins spends as much time as possible with his wife, Erika and his children Ian, Isaac, Zoey, and Max. He also enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and reading.
John is a Mississippi native born and raised in Vicksburg. He went into the work force straight out of high school as a deckhand on the Motor Vessel Dredge Jadwin for the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers. After several years in the work force he began to pursue a career in the ecological sciences. He received his B.S. in forestry with a concentration in wildlife management from Mississippi State University graduating magna cum laude in spring of 2014. His research under the guidance of Dr. Riggins is focused on the southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis). He will be developing a cumulative degree-day model for predicting the peak spring dispersal, and studying host selection preferences. He has recently taken over the reigns as lab manager, and assists with all aspects of research ongoing in the lab. In his spare time, John enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, paintballing, and working with the youth of his home town church.
Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Kendra received her BSc in Forestry with a minor on Urban Forestry, from the University of New Brunswick. She has also completed a Diploma in Urban Forestry with Sir Sandford Fleming College, School of Natural Resource Sciences. Kendra has worked extensively with the planning and management of Emerald Ash Borer and Spruce Budworm outbreaks throughout Eastern Canada. Kendra is currently studying European Woodwasps, and seeks to optimize forest management practices to minimize outbreak potential and economic impacts. Her hobbies include hiking, camping and fishing.
Natalie Dearing is from northeast Mississippi. She received her B.S. in Forestry from Mississippi State University, and started working in the Riggins lab during her junior year. She is studying the effects of consuming ophiostomatoid fungi on subterranean termite physiology. Her hobbies include hiking, cats, and sarcasm.