headshot of Traci Porter

Traci Porter

Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of the Biology Department

Dr. Traci Porter started as an adjunct professor at Salem College in February 2001, and then served as a visiting assistant professor until joining the Salem faculty in August 2002. Salem awarded her tenure and promotion to the associate professor rank in March 2010. She grew up in Prairie Village, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri). Prior to coming to Salem College, Dr. Porter taught at the University of Maryland at College Park, the George Washington University, and Prince George’s Community College, and she was a teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Carleton College. Her research interests include mammalian reproduction, behavior, and conservation, particularly regarding bats.

Dr. Porter is a member of a variety of professional organizations, including the Association of Southeastern Biologists, the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network, the North Carolina Bat Working Group, and Beta Beta Beta, the Biological Honor Society.

Her husband’s hiring at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine brought her to Winston-Salem, and the adjunct teaching position brought her to Salem College. “Salem’s excellent academic program, superb faculty, and wonderful students made me work hard so I could stay,” she says.

She believes that women’s colleges help build women’s confidence and get students very familiar with seeing women in many leadership roles. She also thinks that women’s colleges offer opportunities to build professional and personal support networks among women, such that an “old girl” network may help them where an “old boy” network may otherwise peripheralize them.

Porter has had a variety of international experiences including a marine biology and Australian literature program in Queensland, Australia; family travel to France and Italy; field research in Trinidad and Mexico; a Brethern Colleges Abroad seminar in the Galapagos Islands and Quito, Ecuador; and January Term travel trips to Grenada and the Commonwealth of Dominica.

She teaches several biology courses at Salem College, including BIOL 101 Biodiversity, BIOL 180 Animal Behavior, BIOL 205 Biometry, and also PSYC 160 Human Sexuality and a First Year Experience course centered on environmental impacts on human health. Besides teaching, Porter has served as faculty adviser for Beta Beta Beta (the Biology Honor Society) and the Environmental Concerns Organization (ECO).

Advice to students: “Use your Salem education to look for tools to add to your toolbelt of skills and knowledge, rather than just looking for tasks that will suit the tools you already have.” 

Favorite Web Link: Tree of Life web project.

Favorite Quotation: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” - John Lennon

  • BA, Carleton College
  • PhD, University of Wisconsin