Tessa Durnin

M.S. Student

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

Leonard Ferrington

BS in Biology & Environmental Science; Certificate in Organismal Biology



Aberdeen, South Dakota

Why Insects?

I chose to study insects because they are literally everywhere. Each one is uniquely different as the next. Besides, who needs aliens when you have these six-legged creatures right here on Earth! I was also amazed that some insects are alive and well during the winter—after learning this, I made it my prerogative to work with these creatures.

Why University of Minnesota?

I visited the U of M during my undergraduate career and was completely blown away by the research being conducted here. To top it off, I had visited the insect collection in Hodson Hall and found myself not wanting to leave. So far, my favorite thing about the UMN is that the Saint Paul campus feels small and “homey”. I came from a small university and am happy to get that experience here as well.   


To be honest, I’m not completely sure what I want to do with my life. It seems whenever I make a decision, I end up changing my mind. I’ve considered becoming a college professor, a freshwater research scientist, and/or museum curator thus far. Ultimately, I know I would not like to live in a city for the rest of my adult life and would prefer a more remote location.

Favorite Insect

The Phasmatodea (walking sticks and leaf insects) will forever have my heart! Although, I recently learned of a family of true bugs that look like toads (Gelastocoridae) and are called the “toad bug”. They even hop and are capable of changing their color to match whichever substrate they are on!

Other interests/hobbies

through fourteen states (heading north bound from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine). It typically takes people four to six months to do it, but most won’t make it to the end. If I could set the time and funding away, I believe I could finish the entire trail.

Coffee or tea?

Both! But, coffee is a must for each and every morning. Tea is for relaxing.

Areas of Interest

Winter dynamics of an aquatic fly (Diptera: Chironomidae)