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Deborah A Lewis

Deborah A. Lewis

  • Curator III

Contact Info

342 Bessey


  • M.A., Botany, University of North Carolina, 1984
  • B.S., Biology, Arkansas Tech University, 1981

More Information

Area of Expertise: 

Iowa Floristics




I have been the Curator of the Ada Hayden Herbarium since 1984. During my 35+ years here, I have had opportunities to continue research in plant systematics, including both revisionary and floristic studies. I have also added new areas of interest by developing improved curatorial techniques, doing research in botanical history, and co-founding the Iowa Native Plant Society. I enjoy the diversity of my job responsibilities -- combining the science of botany with the art of curation. I also appreciate the variety of activities that are part of my position -- the different tasks involved with taking care of the collection; research; and assisting other researchers (professional and non-professional), students, and the general public. I frequently have opportunities to lead fieldtrips and tours, to learn new information about plants, and to meet wonderful people who share my interests. When I started my career at ISU more than 30 years ago, I never thought that I would be here this long, envisioning that I would return to grad school for a PhD. At that time, I didn't know that I had landed in my "dream job."

The Ada Hayden Herbarium (ISC) contains more than 660,000 specimens and is 12th largest among US university herbaria. Recent grant- and ISU-supported projects have upgraded the facility, improved curation and created space for future growth and to allow the University of Iowa's Herbarium to be transferred to ISC. Other recent and current grant funding is supporting ongoing digitization, making ISC's specimen images and data available on the Web. Visit for more information.