Entranced with ants

Steven MesserSteven Messer

Trine University - Rinker-Ross School of Health Sciences

B.S., Elmhurst University; M.Sc., Towson University; ABD, Arizona State University

260.665.4374  |  email

When I was young, I spent a lot of my time outdoors and had a great appreciation for all the various critters I found, which was furthered by my admiration of Steve Irwin. As a result, I spent my undergraduate career focused on studying as many organisms as possible, both vertebrates and invertebrates. Additionally, I was always interested in social interactions, which is why I began studying social insects, specifically social parasitism, when I began graduate school.

My graduate studies have focused on taxonomy and systematics in ant social parasites, describing species, examining their morphology and behavior, and also determining the relationships between the host and parasite species through phylogenetic analysis. I thoroughly enjoy teaching students about all the organisms I can, but if I get the chance to talk about ants I get even more excited. I am always eager to help my students and work with them as much as possible, whether that be in the classroom or with research. Sharing my knowledge with students eager to learn and helping them grow is what drove me to become an educator.

I am originally from the Chicago area, so I am glad to be back in the area after years in the Northeast and Arizona. I enjoy the outdoors, especially when I get the chance to collect some ants while I am out. When I am not teaching or outdoors, I enjoy indoor hobbies such as Dungeons and Dragons and miniature painting.