Tom Roberts-McEwen


I am transmasculine and pansexual and I am an applied entomologist.//


Ever since I was a kid, trowel in hand and brandishing the warpaint of smeared topsoil across my face, I knew I wanted to be a bug scientist. I would learn a few years later, encyclopaedia open in my lap and sat on the sun-bleached swing seat in our front garden (outside again—always outside), that this kind of scientist was called an entomologist. I decided that I wouldn’t stop until I was one.

I carried this goal with me through my biology degree at Royal Holloway, where I steered my studies in a purposeful invertebrate-related direction. I became enamoured with the colony dynamics of group-living spiders, and decided to pursue my master of research degree at the University of Portsmouth. Here, I published my research on the use of these amazing spiders as biological control agents of agricultural pests.

If six-year-old me was anything, they were stubborn. Now, a couple of biology degrees and one gender transition later, I am a doctoral researcher in applied entomology with the South Coast Biosciences DTP. My work involves discovering novel biological control agents to mitigate crop damage caused by pesticide-resistant arthropods, contributing to the protection of global food security.