“To whom it may concern:
I am very pleased to offer my comments and recommendations regarding the artistic skills and general
work ethics of Ms. Biruta Akerbergs Hansen. I have known Biruta since 1975 at which time I
employed her as a scientific illustrator and research assistant at the National Museum of Natural
History, Smithsonian Institution. During the eight years she worked with us she exhibited a broad range
of skills, including performing microscopic dissections and slide preparations of minute insect
specimens, as well as illustrating those dissections for publication in several scientific journals. As my
colleagues often commented, her precision and techniques in illustrating these minute morphological
structures were among the finest and most accurate that they had seen. As a result, her work helped to
raise the standards in our field for these kinds of illustrations. Also during this period, she assisted us by
participating on two expeditions to South Africa and Chile. On these trips she was a vital team member
in helping us to collect and prepare, often under rather primitive conditions, thousands of valuable
insect specimens for the National Museum. I am certain that her previous experience in working with
the Peace Corps in West Africa prepared her well for working under various conditions.
Since leaving the micro world of illustrating insects, Biruta has expanded her artistic horizons in more
ways than we could have imagined. Her artistic skills now extend from depicting the tiniest organisms
to wall-size murals showing entire natural landscapes. Whatever the media or scale, her great attention
for detail is evident in the excellent results.
We all found Biruta to be a great colleague to work with. Her constantly positive attitude and
concentration to complete every task to be done were tremendous assets to our mission.
I would be more than happy to answer any queries you may have concerning Biruta.
Don R. Davis, Ph.D.
Entomology NHB 105
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC, USA