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Abstract

Dr. Isabella Abbott, the first Hawaiian to receive a PhD as well as the first woman lecturer at Stanford University, is a well-known researcher and specialist in algae and ethnobotany. Throughout her academic career, she has published multiple books concerning topics such as the cultural relation of plants to Hawaiian culture and the algae diversity in California. In addition to her achievement in the field of academia, Abbott has also served as an influential advocate for Hawaiian culture and the preservation of traditional cultural plants. This bibliographical study aims to document Dr. Isabella Abbott’s impact on the courses offered at the University of Hawaii with particular regard to how her ethnobotany course has facilitated a sense of revival and greater appreciation for Hawaiian culture within her students. The study will also demonstrate the influence Dr. Abbott had on opening up the field of upper level science to women, and how her actions as a biology professor at Stanford enabled a future of opportunity for females in academia. This study will use past interviews conducted with Dr. Abbott as well as current studies in order to better understand how her taxonomic research endeavors has set the foundation for future inquiry and investigation. Current UH professor, Dr. Celia Smith, one of Dr. Abbott’s former graduate students at Stanford, was also interviewed to discuss her thoughts upon the relationship she shared with Dr. Abbott and the impact Dr. Abbott had in science and minority representation. The present paper will comprehensively examine the imprint Dr. Isabella Abbott has left upon the world today and how current society can learn from Dr. Abbott’s viewpoints and actions. The study aims to demonstrate the widespread impact Dr. Abbott had across multiple disciples and to connect the professional and intellectual genealogy of some of today’s prominent scientists and Hawaiian researchers to Dr. Abbott.

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