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A look back over the extraordinary career of ISU's Donald Lewis

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

When Donald Lewis went to college, his plan was to earn a degree in agriculture then go back and work on the family dairy farm, but a biology class at Wilmington College in Ohio, taught by an entomologist, changed his life forever.

Lewis earned his Ph.D. in Entomology from Ohio State University and got a job with Iowa State University Extension in 1977. Iowa State University turned out to be a career destination — not just a stop along the way. For 45 years he has worked as an ISU Extension entomologist and a professor. Lewis has taught thousands of students over the years, and for the past 36 years, he has been a regular guest on Horticulture Day — first on WOI radio and later on Iowa Public Radio. On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to Donald Lewis about his career and retirement.

Later in the podcast, Eric Kontowicz tells us about his research in mapping Lyme disease through search engines and social media.


  • Donald Lewis, former professor of Entomology at Iowa State University
  • Eric Kontowicz, post-doctoral research associate at Purdue University
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa