Dr. Robert A. Washington-Allen was born in Northampton, England of a Jamaican mother and a North Carolinian. He grew up between Columbus, Ohio and Jamaica and received his BS in Zoology from The Ohio State University where his undergraduate advisor was the late Dr. Walter Rothenbuhler, named by the Ecological Society of America: “The Father of Behavioral Genetics”. He was also a 2 time letterman in both cross country and athletics where he ran the 3-k steeplechase and is a former school record holder. Upon graduation he joined the US Peace Corps and served as a Science Teacher at Sacred Heart HS in St. Monica, Lesotho for 3-years.
He met his wife, a rural engineer (and now sociologist) in Lesotho and they have a boy (BS in Politics Stanford, pursuing MS Env. Engineering at University of Texas-Austin) and girl (BS in Chemistry and East Asian Studies, Vanderbilt) both of whom are graduates from Oak Ridge HS, TN. He then spent an additional 3-years working as a lecturer in Agricultural Resource Management for a USAID contractor at the Lesotho Agricultural College in Leribe. He then received a MS from Utah State University in Logan, Utah working with Dr. Brien E. Norton conducting some of the first remote sensing studies on agropastoral communities on the Bolivian Altiplano as well as social surveys of Navajo Communities in the New Lands of Arizona.
His PhD was with Professor Neil E. West at USU, an academic descendant of F. Clements, where he developed the use of time series of satellite imagery to look at the sustainability of drylands. He continued this research interest for 10-years in the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1-year postdoctoral at USU, 2-years as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia in the Dept. of Environmental Sciences, and 5-years in the Department of Ecosystem Science & Management at Texas A&M University (TAMU).
At TAMU he and his students have been pioneering the use of terrestrial laser scanning and ground penetrating radar for above- and below-ground estimates of biomass and carbon in dryland and tropical ecosystems.
Dr. Washington-Allen has over 70 published peer-reviewed papers (23), technical reports, abstracts, posters, reviews, and book chapters. With colleagues, he has career grants of $12 million from agencies including EPA, NASA, DoD, USDA-USFS, and NSF. He currently chairs 1 PhD and 2 MS students at TAMU and is on the committees of 2 PhDs (TAMU) and 2 MS (UT-K and IPICYT in Mexico). He currently supervises 2 undergraduate researchers at TAMU and has supervised 14 NSF REU students. He has graduated 2 MS students.