Elzie McCord, Jr.
From a “Focus on Ecologists” maintained by the ESA Education Office about 2009-2011.
|Full Name||Elzie McCord, Jr.|
|Job Position||Associate Professor of Biology|
|Organization||New College of Florida|
|Department||Division of Natural Sciences|
|Research Habitat||Not applicable|
|Research Organism||Terrestrial invertebrates|
|Describe what you do and briefly describe the activities that your job encompasses||I teach Introduction to Entomology, Insect-Plant Interactions, Toxicology, and Botany. My reserach interest are plant allelopathy, insecticide resistance, and environmental contamination.
The tools of my trade are: Gas-chromatography (FID, ECD, and Mass-spectrometry), High-Performance Liquid Chromatography, spectrophotometry, nets, microscopes, dissection tools, and taxonomic keys.
|What do you love most about your job?||The observation of nature with the tools to decipher and understand intricate interactions. Environmental contamination detection and quantitation can show surface and ground water contaminations by natural and human-made molecules and their metabolites. Also, by contributing to environmental information, the threat to environmental organisms and humans can be assessed.|
|For each degree you’ve obtained, list the degree, field, and institution.||B.S. Biology/Chemistry, Savannah State College [University]
M.S. Entomology, University of Florida
Ph.D. Entomology/Insect Toxicology, University of Florida
|Briefly describe your job path.||I served as Assistant in Extension Entomology for 18 mos; an interim position.
24 years – DuPont AG Products – Variety of Positions (Biologist, Sr. Biologist, Sr. Chemist, Sr. Product Development Representative).
8 years – Courtesy Assistant and Associate Professor, University of Florida, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.
8 years at New College of Florida (Assistant and Associate Professor of Biology).
|What challenges did you need to overcome?||Downsized after 24 years of service – Out-of-work for 11 months before securing a Post-Doc at UF, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center and Assistant Professor of Biology – New Colleg of Florida.
Survived Prostate Cancer while teaching at New College of Florida. Missed no days, sailed each weekend and taught a semester over-load.
|What’s one thing you hope to do in the future?||Create an REU program for the underrepresented at New College of Florida.|
|How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party?||I am the Quincy and CSI of the insect world. I try to kill insects and determine why they died.|
|What is your family background and what did they think of your career choice?||My mother and father were blue collar workers and questioned my ability to find a job with such an unconventional career track… at least to them.|
|Who or what inspired you to become a scientist (or other profession)?||Ms. Lue Vester Smith, High School Science Teacher.
Dr. J. B. Villella, Professor, Savannah State College [University]. He taught me about the insects that I played with, killed in cotton and tabacco fields and fished with.
|Who currently inspires you?||Dr. S. J. Yu, Retired, Major Professor, University of Florida. He just wrote the book, “The toxicology and biochemisty of Insecticides”.|
|What is the most valuable advice a mentor gave you or that you would offer to someone who’d like to do the same job as you?||Be compassionate about your chosen field and never stop learning because no one can know all.|
|What would you like people to remember about your life as a scientist (or other profession)?||That I inspired students to learn all they could about insects, plants, their interactions, and environmental stewardship.|
|How do you feel your work has contributed to society?||The training of compassionate, compotent future scientists that are custodians of the environment.|