Elzie McCord, Jr.

From a “Focus on Ecologists” maintained by the ESA Education Office about 2009-2011.

Full Name Elzie McCord, Jr.
Degree PhD
Job Position Associate Professor of Biology
Organization New College of Florida
Department Division of Natural Sciences
Professional Affiliation Academic
Research Discipline Entomology
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.

 

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