Maya Vellicolungara

maya vellicolungara
M.S. Student

Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota
1980 Folwell Avenue, 219 Hodson Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States

Dan Cariveau

B.S. in Ecology: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities



Eagan, MN

Why Insects?

Insects are an incredibly diverse group of organisms. The discovery of new species happens often, which is exciting to me. I’m specifically interested in pollinators because they play a huge role in food production and plant reproduction. Studying pollinators is now more important than ever due to growing lists of threatened species.

Why University of Minnesota?

I chose the UMN because I really enjoyed my undergraduate experience here. There are a ton of research opportunities for undergraduate students, which helped me determine what I was interested in pursuing for my graduate studies. In addition, I like the diverse communities that the UMN and Twin Cities encompass.


I hope to work for a natural resource agency someday, using science to help inform effective wildlife management policies and programs.

Favorite Insect

Ladybugs are super cute!

Other interests/hobbies

I love bouldering, backcountry camping, and foraging for mushrooms.

Areas of Interest

I’m comparing pollinator biodiversity in remnant and restored prairies. The pollinators I’ll be focusing on are bumblebees and butterflies. The restored prairies are a part of the Conservation Reserve Program, which incentivizes farmers to set aside land and plant native species on it.