Watkins, Davita


A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Davita L. Watkins obtained her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Anthropology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. After working briefly as a Lead Chemical Analyst for a bioanalytical company, she obtained 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 molecules and polymeric materials, demonstrating potential applications in phase transfer catalysis, catalytic control, and drug delivery. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with Dr. Ronald K. Castellano, she developed novel self-assembling organic materials for photovoltaic applications. In 2014, she began her independent academic career at the University of Mississippi. She joined the faculty at The Ohio State University in the Summer of 2022 as a tenured Associate Professor of Chemistry with a joint appointment in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Her research interests focus on using noncovalent interactions to construct nanostructured polymeric materials. Her research has garnered numerous awards, such as the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Young Investigator Award from the Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) Division branch of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and a Rising Star Award from ACS Women Chemists Committee (WCC).