Professor of entomology in the plant sciences and plant pathology department
Florence Dunkel has made remarkable contributions to the status of women at Montana State University as well as nationally and internationally. Joining MSU as an entomology professor in 1988, she became the College of Agriculture's first female department head and the second woman to chair an entomology department at any U.S. land-grant university. She has inspired countless women students to pursue careers in the life sciences. Dunkel's innovative, experiential teaching methods have garnered many awards, including the President's Excellence in Teaching Award (2013) and the Entomological Society of America's Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching (2012). Her courses are multicultural in perspective and strongly emphasize engagement. For example, her fifth and most recent academic book (Elsevier 2017) documents how she engaged students in service-learning on the Northern Cheyenne and Apsaalooke reservations as well as in "Peace Corps-type" projects in Africa. One of these projects is credited with virtually eliminating malaria in a village in Mali. Dunkel was the first woman to lead a USDA scientific team to mainland China. Her research on the biocontrol of insects and biorational natural products resulted in safe alternatives to chemical pesticides, for which she has been awarded two patents, each sub-licensed to biotech firms.
Florence Dunkel is an extraordinary exemplar of engagement and has truly advanced the status of women during MSU's first 125 years.
Photo: MSU Communications