Nancy Wallin

Associate Professor of Biology College of Natural, Applied, and Health Sciences School of Natural Sciences
Carver HallRoom 126B400 E. Main St.Frankfort, KY 40601(502) 597-6095(502) 597-6826 (fax)


Nancy Reagan Wallin, Associate Professor of Biology, grew up in Park Ridge, IL on the Northwest side of Chicago near O’Hare airport. She is an alumna of Maine Township High School South, as is former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Dr. Wallin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, IN) where she was named Outstanding Biology Major as a senior and cheered on Joe Montana as he quarterbacked the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team to a National Championship. She earned a Master of Science degree in Biology from Western Carolina University (Cullowhee, NC) while enjoying the amazing biological diversity, beauty, and delightful climate of the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina. Next, Dr. Wallin was privileged to receive admittance and full funding to attend The University of Chicago where she earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology and Evolution while living about a half mile from President Barack Obama’s Hyde Park home.

Dr. Wallin’s master’s thesis examined aspects of the biology of the two-lined salamander (Eurycea wilderae) including larval life histories and mating behavior, with particular regard to the two male morphs that occur in this species. For her doctoral dissertation, she examined the evolution of reproductive isolation (necessary for speciation!) and hybridization in many populations of two species of woodland salamanders of the genus Plethodon. This research required many nights wandering the woods of western North Carolina in search of specimens (and avoiding bears), followed by 1-2 months of late nights watching and recording the courtship and mating activity of over 10,000 pairs of salamanders (under red light, no less). Dr. Wallin’s other areas of research interest are life history of fishes, and many aspects of the biology of spiders including life history, reproductive behavior, and the quantitative genetics of spider genitalia.

Just prior to wrapping up her dissertation work, Dr. Wallin began work as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky. Her postdoctoral work involved watching and recording sexual behavior (again!), but of cockroaches not salamanders. (The roaches were from eastern Africa, exhibit male dominance hierarchies, and rely on male produced pheromones for determining dominance and attractiveness to females.) In addition to the behavioral work, she examined the actual pheromones from individual males using gas chromatography. Dr. Wallin found the roaches to be less than ideal subjects for courtship analysis (many refused to mate), and became horribly allergic to the little beasties (as do most people who spend any amount of time around cockroaches). On the up side, the postdoctoral work resulted in several publications – including one in Nature, one of the two premiere scientific journals in the world.

Dr. Wallin has been a member of the faculty of Kentucky State University since the fall of 1994 and has been listed in each edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers published during her time at KSU. For several years, she additionally has been listed in Who’s Who in America. She has taught Anatomy and Physiology I and II for nursing students; Principles of Biology, Freshman Seminar, General Zoology, Ecology, Genetics, and instructor of record for Special Problems for biology majors; Life Sciences and Modern Topics for non-majors; and Animal Behavior as a biology elective. She serves as the instructor of record for the Biology Internship course and for BIO 399 Undergraduate Teaching Experience, and has directly supervised 6 students in BIO 399. She previously was one of the Biology faculty members teaching Life Sciences in the “Academics with Attitude” program.

Dr. Wallin also has many non-teaching duties at KSU. These have included serving as a member of the Faculty Senate from the fall of 1995 through the summer of 2004. She has served as a Senate Executive Committee member, as Senate Vice President, and as chair of the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Curriculum Committee. Dr. Wallin twice chaired the Faculty Appeals Committee and is one of the original twelve members of the Advising Council working to better the experiences of first year students. She has served as the Biology Area Coordinator since 1995 and began serving as one of the two Pre-Health Professions Advisors in 2013.

When not working, Dr. Wallin enjoys spending time with her friends and family, including her two cats (tabby Angus and calico Tuppence) and her two Welsh corgi dogs (Walter and Maggie Mae). Her parents moved to Lexington when she settled at KSU – and she is extremely glad to have them and their dogs, Sugar and Rusty, close by. She appreciates Italian opera, “oldies” rock and roll and country and big band music, and has always had a fondness for mystery novels, romance/comedy/action-adventure movies, cooking complicated concoctions, and the great outdoors. She finds medical and forensic shows fascinating, likes to watch Iron Chefs battle, and enjoys productions on the Hallmark channel and PBS– especially English mysteries!