Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. For Whitney Cranshaw, entomology professor for the College of Agricultural Sciences and a CSU extension specialist, he’s done what he’s loved his entire career.
Arriving at CSU from University of Minnesota in 1983, Cranshaw believes he came at a perfect time in history. Albeit a chaotic time—CSU had a new president, the college had a new dean, and entomology was newly moved to the college from Natural Sciences—Cranshaw saw it as an opportunity to carve a place for his interest in pest management as it relates to agriculture and residents of Colorado.
“That fit in well with what I wanted to do,” said Cranshaw. “I’ve always considered my main goal to be more extension-oriented and to improve the entomological literacy in the state. The main thing that I have tried to work for is to provide ways for people in the state and university to better understand insects that are present in this part of the world, and how to best deal with in ways that are most appropriate to the situation.”
To that point, Cranshaw has spent his entire career making sure he’s reserved a seat at the table for the general public who question the critters in their fields, garages, and backyards across the state. A good deal of phobias are attached to insects—from spiders to miller moths—and Cranshaw delights in educating the public about those insects’ back stories.
“I think the biggest future contribution has been helping to inspire others to better understand and then more become more interested in insects that occur in Colorado,” said Cranshaw. “Over the years when discussing some insect-related question or concern I have seen people change their minds, at least a little, and see things a bit differently. And that can have impacts, particularly when someone who has changed their approach to the insect world then passes this on to others.”