In a recent publication in ZooKeys, which also received news coverage from BBC, six new native U.S. ant species were described. BGC Postgraduate Associate Maisha Lucas wrote about and named one of the new species and explains below the significance of what this meant to her as an early career Black female scientist:
“This species is named in honor of the brilliant entomologist and civil rights advocate Dr. Margaret S. Collins who through her science and activism helped change impediments she faced for future scientists. Since the beginning of U.S. history, countless barriers have been placed on Black people that have consequently stunted the progress and advancement of our society. It is important to celebrate those who have created a lasting impact despite these barriers, and resultantly made it easier for others to follow in their path. While sciences have more recently attempted to promote diversity in their fields, there are still major systemic issues that prevent Black Americans from pursuing the sciences. For this reason, we must continue to advocate for racial and gender equality and continue to identify and work to remove remaining barriers —and in small part do so through the naming of this new ant in honor of Dr. Collins”.
Dr. Collins serves as a role model for what is possible for Maisha and finally seeing Dr. Collins honored in a scientific field dominated by men is a first step towards positive change.
Read the BBC news article here: https://www.discoverwildlife.com/news/new-species-in-2021/