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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Drawing of Invertebrates

A drawing of animals in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology 

Tyjuana Nickens
Museum Specialist, Data Manager
Image of Tyjuana Nickens

Tyjuana Nickens, a highly respected and much beloved member of the Invertebrate Zoology staff, passed away on December 13, 2012 after a prolonged illness. She is survived by her son, four brothers and six sisters. Tyjuana was hired by the Smithsonian Oceanographic Sorting Center in 1975 after completing her undergraduate degree in museum studies at the Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross. She worked at the Sorting Center under the supervision of Frank Ferrari, and her duties ranged from identifying plankton samples to preparation of collection reports. Tyjauna was detailed to the Department of Invertebrate Zoology after the Sorting Center closed in 1992. During her early IZ years she worked in the “Mollusks Division” and for some time served as Joe Houbrick’s research assistant. She later became a data manager and integral member of the department’s collections management team under the supervision of Cheryl Bright. In addition to her diligent and highly dedicated service to the Department, Tyjuana participated in numerous outreach activities, particularly involving local schools, which she considered to be one of her most rewarding experiences.

Tyjuana had a quiet, reserved demeanor which belied a thoughtful personality and playful sense of humor. She was a woman of great strength and character who bravely endured much hardship owing to devastating disease. Tyjuana will be sorely missed…

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