Born in Malatya, Turkey, in 1889, Senekerim Dohanian survived the massacres of 1895-96 that claimed the lives of his father, grandfather, and 200,000 others. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1903, not speaking any English. Within twelve years, he had earned a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a master’s degree from Harvard.
Dohanian served as a pioneering entomologist with the USDA from 1915 to 1959. Throughout his career, he was at the forefront of biological control of insect pests. His work has left a lasting legacy on both science and society.
This is an inspiring story of a remarkable man, but one that, until now, was unknown, as he never married or discussed his work with family members in any detail. Extensive research has brought his moving story to life.
Dohanian’s great-great-nephew, Robert Coulter (age 12 at the time), researched, wrote, and produced a 10-minute documentary film about him. The film, "Senekerim Dohanian: Uncle Sam's Ace Insect Hunter," won the 2009 National History Day contest. Through historic photographs, images, and contemporary interviews, Senekerim Dohanian's extraordinary achievements are presented in an easy-to-understand and engaging manner.