You Lead a Mean Trail

Barbara J. Collins

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You Lead a Mean Trail - Barbara J. Collins

Once, in the middle of a strenuous field trip, a student who was having difficulty keeping up with his botany professor, Dr. Barbara Collins, said: Dr. Collins, you sure do lead a mean trail. Indeed, Dr. Collins chose difficult trails. She climbed mountains, took students on field trips all over the world, climbed Mt. Whitney several times, and continued to teach way past retirement age. Her journey has been a long and crazy one, but filled with fun and laughter. But more than that, it is a story of cracking the glass ceiling again and again. Dr. Collins did not follow the expected route for women of the time. She was the first person at the University of Illinois to receive a Ph.D. in geology. After living two years in Germany, she returned to the University of Illinois to study botany. Life as a female professor in the 1960s, teaching full time with five young children and no such thing as maternity leave, was challenging in itself.