The scientific community has been shaken by the recent murder of University of Georgia professor Marianne Shockley.
Shockley, 43, worked in the Department of Entomology and was an ardent supporter of entomophagy, the human consumption of insects. She had become an international leader in that industry and an academic mentor for students in the field.
"Science has lost a champion," said Joseph Yoon, founder of Brooklyn Bugs, an organization that promotes entomophagy. Yoon participated in an insect ag conference that Shockley organized in Athens, Ga. last fall.
“She could talk to Ph.D.s and kindergartners to communicate and win over their interest and change their opinion,” Yoon said. “When talking about entomophagy, a new field in the Western world, Marianne — with her Southern charm and enthusiasm — was able to bring a whole new riff on how we might focus on sustainability for the future. She was one of the leaders of our industry.”
Officials have charged Marcus Lillard, a car salesman, in Shockley's death as the investigation continues.
The beloved professor was found dead on Mother’s Day at the home of a friend in a central Georgia, who killed himself a short time after Shockley’s death, police said. Lillard, her boyfriend, was also at the home. An autopsy revealed Shockley was strangled to death.
“We’re in shock. It’s so horrific,” said Ryan Goldin of Entomo Farms in Ontario, Canada.
As an insect breeder, Goldin is one of numerous insect farmers and food entrepreneurs who worked in Shockley’s circle.
"She was making a huge impact. Marianne gave the industry a lot of credibility. With FDA, the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). Insects are a much newer phenomenon in North America. We look to experts like Marianne to help with food safety, the normalization of the edible insect industry. Marianne was a trailblazer and pioneer."
Marcus Lillard is accused of strangling his girlfriend, Univ. of Georgia professor Marianne Shockley. He told deputies she drowned in a hot tub. A 3rd person at the scene committed suicide in a case the sheriff called "bizarre:" https://t.co/JtRh5tOZnn @HeavySan— Erin Laviola (@ErinLaviola) May 14, 2019
This week we are deeply saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Dr. Marianne Shockley. Her enthusiasm and vitality have always been an inspiration to our team.— Tiny Farms (@tiny_farms) May 15, 2019
To everyone who knew her personally or through her work, the family has a GoFundMe:https://t.co/fwCocy8MgA
Besides her position as a professor of entomology, Shockley served as the director for the North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA).
Shockley described the organization as the “voices” for insect agriculture in our part of the world.
“If we want chefs to pick this up, we need to be the ones to educate them,” she said in an interview with the AJC last August.
Shockley had been involved in the bug ag movement professionally for more than a decade. Her contributions to her field extended beyond North America. Through her involvement with NACIA, she collaborated with international entomophagy groups, including the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed, Asia Food and Feed Insect Association and the Insect Protein Association of Australia.
It is with heaviest of hearts that we share news about the passing of our beloved colleague and friend Marianne Shockley. Marianne was a bright light in our entomological field, always sharing her passion for insect science. We will miss you, Marianne!https://t.co/lECxgVwJpU— Yasmin J. Cardoza (@YasminJCardoza) May 15, 2019
A beautiful tribute to Dr. Marianne Shockley, @DrBugAppetit , who influenced countless @universityofga students and entomology colleagues, as well as Athens area children, with the love of bugs. Rest in peace. https://t.co/yXTsdpHcI5— Dr. Janet Frick (@jfrickuga) May 15, 2019
Nancy Miorelli was one of Shockley’s earliest graduate students at UGA. After earning her master’s degree in entomology, Miorelli moved to Ecuador, where she has lived for the past three years, operating a tour company that educates visitors on that country’s insects.
>> Related: UGA professor killed in bizarre murder suicide
“She took me in when I was looking to quit grad school,” Miorelli said. “She gave me so many opportunities – to participate in course design, the freedom to grow as a teacher. She gave me the strength to go down this crazy path. I’m in Ecuador because of her. If you were within a 100-foot radius of her, you were excited that bugs were on this planet.”
RIP Marianne - our hearts are breaking with Sandra and John and the entire Shockley family. https://t.co/3IEWiozLMq— Jeanne Dufort (@dufort_jeanne) May 15, 2019
Roswell resident Lindsay Lockery came to know Shockley through a youth bug camp that Shockley ran each summer on the UGA campus. The Lund Bug Camp is named for Lockery’s grandfather, Horace Lund, former head of the Department of Entomology at UGA. Lockery’s son and daughter, along with their cousins, participated for years.
“She really grew this little summer camp,” Lockery said. “The kids got to look at and talk (about) bugs. It was such a cool experience.”
Lockery described the camp's last day each year when the campers would have a party that featured cookies, brownies and other foods made with bugs. "She had a real passion," Lockery said. "She brought it to the next generation."
Survey Shines Light on Beekeepers' Efforts to Manage Varroa Mites https://t.co/VQDCXGtybx via @EntsocAmerica— Marianne Shockley (@DrBugAppetit) May 11, 2019
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