Abbey Hayes ’16: The Entomologist Who Almost Wasn’t

As a child, this future scientist was discouraged by teachers from playing with bugs. But a professor of Biology at Saint Mary’s opened up that world of wonder once again.

by Office of Alumni Engagement & Events and Emily Sandall, PhD, Entomology Today | March 6, 2024

Abbey Hayes ’16, PhD, is an entomologist and postdoctoral research associate at the University of Virginia.

Known as Arthropod Abbey, they were recently featured in Entomology Today for their work with K-12 students to find and follow their passion in sciences. 

As a child, young Abbey was discouraged from catching and playing with bugs by teachers. But they rediscovered their love for insects and arthropods thanks to their mentor, Professor of Biology Michael Marchetti.

Abbey Hayes holds a small terrarium with insects

Hayes now participates in K-12 outreach to help others that might have been discouraged in their pasts. 

“I am very passionate about inclusive outreach and education, and I believe anyone should have the freedom to pursue entomology regardless of their personal identities,” says Hayes. “We all have a place in the field of entomology.”

 “My liberal arts education at Saint Mary's uniquely prepared me to succeed in graduate school.”

Hayes credits much of their success to Saint Mary's. In a message to the Alumni office, they said: “My liberal arts education at Saint Mary's uniquely prepared me to succeed in graduate school. I was very used to reading things that felt unfamiliar, analyzing complex ideas, and using textual support for hypotheses thanks to classes like Seminar.” 


WATCH: Women in Science

As a Saint Mary's undergraduate, Abbey Hayes was featured in a video series about Women in Science.