Dr. Margaret S. Collins (1922-1996), a renowned expert on termite ecology and distribution, taught as a professor and administrator at Howard University, Florida A&M University, and Federal City College (now University of The District of Columbia) for over 35 years. Upon her retirement from teaching, Collins continued her work on termites at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as a research associate from 1983 to 1996.
Over the course of her career, Collins published more than forty articles spanning the biogeography, physiology, chemical defenses, and taxonomy of termites. Collins also collected specimens in the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Barbados, Belize, Suriname, the Cayman Islands, Guyana, Guatemala, and Panama. When she contracted dengue fever on an expedition in Guyana in 1983-1984 and was forced into a long hiatus from field work, she turned her focus to updating and preserving the termite specimens at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Eventually Collins returned to field research in 1994 when she once again traveled to Guyana to collect termites. In April 1996, Collins died while conducting field work in the Cayman Islands.