Meet Dr. Davita L. Watkins
Davita L. Watkins, Ph.D.
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Davita L. Watkins obtained her B.S. in Chemistry and Anthropology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. After working briefly for a bioanalytical company, she received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Memphis under the tutelage of Dr. Tomoko Fujiwara. As a doctoral candidate, she developed and established multi-step synthetic methods for a series of stimuli-responsive materials. In 2012, she accepted a postdoctoral position at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with Dr. Ronald K. Castellano where she developed novel self-assembling organic materials for photovoltaic applications. In 2014, she began her independent academic career at the University of Mississippi, focusing on design guidelines towards functional materials with tunable properties through molecular self-assembly. Her research strategies have afforded materials with applications that
range from solar-harvesting supramolecular polymers to nanosized diagnostic agents. Dr. Watkins is the recipient of several awards, including the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Ralph E. Powe Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Polymeric Materials: Science
and Engineering American Chemical Society Young Investigator Award and the Lloyd N. Ferguson Young Scientist Award. Alongside her research efforts, Dr. Watkins is an active voice for initiatives to increase minorities and women in STEM.