Dr. Margaret Collins (1922-1996) was a termite expert and field biologist. Graduating high school at fourteen years old, she continued her education at West Virginia State, completing her bachelor’s degree in biology with minors in physics and German in 1943. Dr. Collins was the first Black woman to earn a PhD in entomology when she graduated from the University of Chicago in 1949. Until her death in 1996, Dr. Collins held a senior research position at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, where the collection of termite diversity of the Caribbean Islands and Guyana is dedicated to her. The “Termite Lady” lives on as a pioneer for other Black scientists in zoology.
The Entomological Society of America has written a wonderful memoir about Dr. Collins (link below).