Barbara Abraham, Of Spiders and Bees

From an “Ecologist Directory” maintained by the ESA Education Office about 2004-2011. Profile circa 2004.

Associate Professor, Biology Department, Hampton University, Hampton, VA
1980 PhD, Utah State University, Logan. Biology/Ecology.
1972 M.S., Iowa State University, Ames. Zoology (Animal Behavior).
1969 B.S., Iowa State University, Ames. Major: Zoology. Minors: Botany, Genetics.

Ecologist Profile

barbara-abrahamThe summer between my freshman and sophomore years at Iowa State, I took Entomology. Dr. Jean Laffoon, an insect taxonomist, was my first mentor. His course made me fall in love with insects and with field biology. During my M.S. in Ethology at Iowa State, I continued field work under Ken Shaw. My research centered around singing behavior of long-horned grasshoppers. My doctoral studies in ecology at Utah State, under Jim MacMahon, were on temporal and spatial patterns in spider communities.

My position is Associate Professor of Biology at Hampton University, where faculty teach, conduct research, advise students, serve on committees, write grant proposals, etc.

When I first went to college, I wanted to become either an English teacher or a veterinarian. After choosing veterinary medicine, I was told I couldn’t work with horses, as I wished, “because I wasn’t strong enough to pull a foal”, so I gave up the idea. I next became interested in Wildlife Biology, but was told there weren’t any jobs for women, so I ended up as a straight Zoology major. I minored in botany and Genetics. I have been a faculty member at Eastern Kentucky University and adjunct faculty in Europe with the University of Maryland, Big Bend Community College, and the City Colleges of Chicago. I have also been adjunct faculty with Saint Leo College at Langley AFB.

Don’t let anybody talk you out of what you want to do–find a way to get there! (But listen to advice and plan carefully.)

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