SC State Faculty, Mahroof Receives Award from Gov. Henry McMaster

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Former Georgia Rep., “Dee” Dawkins-Haigler to Keynote Commencement ORANGEBURG, S.C. – SC State professor of biological sciences, Dr. Rizana Mahroof, was recently awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution. The award ceremony was held on Wednesday, April 11, at the State House in Columbia. The South Carolina Academy of Science also held a ceremony for the same award, during its Annual Meeting, which convened on Saturday, April 14, at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina.

The award is presented under the joint sponsorship of the Governor’s Office and the South Carolina Academy of Science. Each year, it is granted to “an individual whose achievements and contributions to science over at least a 10-year period at a predominately undergraduate South Carolina University or College, merit special recognition,” according to the academy’s website.

This is the first time an SC State faculty member has received the award.

Mahroof’s research focuses on food safety and seeks to reduce postharvest losses caused by insects. Considering the health risks that insecticides and fumigants pose to consumers and the environment, Mahroof’s goal is also to develop reduced-risk alternatives to chemical insecticides for pest management.

“Stored product insects cause millions of dollars in losses annually of stored commodities such as grain, legumes, dried fruits, nuts and spices. My work concentrates on managing these insects along the consumer chain, from “farm to folk,” using alternative and environment-friendly control methods. My program is designed to provide cutting-edge training to SC State students, educate industry representatives and emphasize the importance of ensuring food safety and food security for all,” Mahroof said.

SC State Faculty, Mahroof Receives Award from Gov. Henry McMasterHer innovative research program contains an ecologically-based management strategy that identifies the source of insect populations. Mahroof has worked with farm storage systems, flour mills, feed mills, seed storage warehouses, breakfast processing facilities and various farmers in South Carolina. Her research has helped these entities adopt effective pest control methods so that they can provide high-quality food to consumers.

In conjunction with her extensive research program, she has been instrumental in training numerous students in diverse areas of biology including, botany, plant physiology and entomology. She also developed the Entomology Research Laboratory on the campus of SC State.

“I have always strived to ensure that students have an excellent foundation in the core areas of science with specialized knowledge in their area of expertise. I make sure that the training I provide will mold future generations to be aware of problems within society that need to be addressed scientifically and with human compassion,” Mahroof said. She was also successful in securing almost $10 million in external funding from various government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, along with funds from private agencies.

The SC State professor has published 40 scholarly articles. Some of her writing has been published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, which is one of the highest-ranking journals in entomology. She has delivered over 142 presentations at local, state, national and international conferences.

Mahroof is also heavily involved in outreach projects locally and globally. She served as the president of the South Carolina Entomological Society and is an active member of the Entomological Society of America.

Additionally, she serves as the Co-Principal Investigator for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss project in Ethiopia. She is working alongside representatives from several universities on the project, including, Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska and the University of Illinois.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, a Master of Philosophy in entomology from the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, U.K. and a doctorate in entomology from Kansas State University.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized by Gov. Henry McMaster for the work I have done. I believe that by awarding such recognition to a faculty member at a predominantly undergraduate institution, the state demonstrates its faith in scientists to continue making discoveries that solve existing problems,” Mahroof said.

For more information, please contact Dr. Rizana Mahroof at (803) 536-8174 or