Dini Miller, associate professor of entomology in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has received the university’s 2012 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension. She is an urban pest management specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension is presented annually to two Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the land-grant mission of the university. One award goes to an Extension specialist and the other is given to an Extension agent. Each award winner receives $2,000.
Miller joined the entomology faculty in 1999 and has worked to address significant issues relating to structural insect pest infestation and indoor pest management techniques.
A major component of Miller’s work has been centered on the recent resurgence of bed bugs both in the Western Hemisphere and Asia.
“Dini recognized the problem early and assumed a leadership role in the fight against the pest,” said Carlyle Brewster, associate professor of entomology. “Within a relatively short period, Dini has developed a world-renowned Extension program for urban pests and has accomplished what many specialists would consider lifelong achievements.”
Miller put together a research and Extension program to understand, highlight, and disseminate information about bed bugs. She has travelled across the nation and around the world to share what she has learned with others, including pest management professionals, researchers, politicians, public health professionals, and the general public. Miller’s work has been featured in numerous high-profile media outlets.
In addition, Miller worked to overcome problems caused by cockroaches and other indoor pests in public housing and schools. Her efforts have sought to improve indoor pest management techniques, prevent exposure to pesticides and allergens, and teach integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to residents and pest managers in public housing.
In 2009 the General Assembly passed a bill charging Extension to work with public schools to develop an IPM plan to address safer pest management in the public schools. Miller authored the Virginia School IPM guidelines and has provided the eight Department of Education regions with training so that they may implement IPM in their districts. To date, more than 20 school districts have adopted an IPM.
Miller has been recognized with the Crown Leadership Award by the National Pest Management Association and Pest Control Technology Magazine and was presented with an award for Distinguished Achievement in Extension by the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America.
Miller received her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Florida.
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