Stalker Award goes to Chung

Yan Yi Chung doing field work.

Yan Yi “Anny” Chung has been awarded the 2011 Stalker Award.

The prize is named in the honor of the late Harrison D. Stalker, PhD, who was professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. Stalker was a leading evolutionary biologist, geneticist, inspired teacher and enthusiast of the fine arts.

The award is given to the graduating senior in biology whose undergraduate career was marked by outstanding scientific scholarship as well as contributions to the university in areas of artistic expression and/or community service.

Chung exemplifies the spirit of the Stalker Award. Not only has she excelled as a scholar (she will be graduating summa cum laude May 20), she is an accomplished violinist and has served as a tutor and mentor to many other students.

Since her freshman year, Chung has been involved in ecological research under the guidance of Tiffany Knight, PhD, associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences.

The starting point for her study was a huge dataset established in the late 19th century that listed the interactions among 456 plant species and 1,429 pollinator species in the Carlinville, Ill., area.

Chung re-examined these interactions with the goal of answering three questions: how have the pollinator interactions of non-native plants changed over the intervening century; how do new non-native plants interact with native pollinators; and how does the presence of various non-native plants affect the pollination success of native plants?

She found that non-native plants integrate readily into native plant-pollinator networks through the agency of generalist pollinators and that their effects on the pollinator visitations to native plants species is limited.

A talented violinist, Chung plays in the Washington University Pops Orchestra and served as its librarian, treasurer and president.

She similarly has served as both a member and an officer of the Mariachi Cuicacalli band, performing at churches, festivals, campus events and fundraisers.

In addition, she has performed in and served as the rehearsal coordinator for the pit orchestra for Arts & Sciences’ Performing Arts Department musicals Of Thee I Sing and Ragtime.

Chung has been a teaching assistant and peer tutor for the biology department and also has tutored grade school students in science, math and English through the Community Service Office’s “Each One Teach One” program.

She also has welcomed high school interns to her research program, mentoring them in the methods of ecological research.

This fall, Chung plans to matriculate in the ecology and evolutionary biology graduate program at Rice University.