Auburn chemical engineer recognized with top NSF honor

Published: May 27, 2009 3:29:00 PM
Media Contact: Sally Credille,, 334.844.3447

Virginia Davis

Virginia Davis

Virginia Davis, assistant professor in Auburn University's Department of Chemical Engineering, has been recognized as the university's latest National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Development CAREER award winner. The CAREER award is NSF's most prestigious honor, recognizing outstanding junior faculty members and supporting their research and outreach activities with funding for five years.

Davis has been granted $400,000 by the agency for her research, "Microstructure and Processing of Cylindrical Nanomaterial Dispersions." She will explore how nanomaterials can be assembled into newer, more advanced materials, including macroelectronic devices, sensors, electro-optical devices and antimicrobial coatings.

"We are so pleased to have Virginia's work recognized with this important award," said Chris Roberts, Uthlaut Professor and chair of Auburn's Department of Chemical Engineering. "It speaks directly to the quality of fundamental science and engineering contributions that will be derived from her work, as well as their far-reaching impact."

As part of her CAREER award, Davis will continue to mentor and educate future scientists and engineers through outreach activities such as "nanocamps" for middle school girls and international research opportunities for chemical engineering undergraduate and graduate students.

"The goals of her CAREER plan are integral to the continued growth of our department," adds Roberts. "She is playing a vital role in future developments of research and education initiatives, undergraduate and graduate programs and how they move forward from here."

Davis is Auburn's third female CAREER award recipient. She has worked closely with Auburn's Women in Sciences and Engineering (WISE) Institute and Women's Resource Center, which encourage the advancement and retention of women in science, mathematics and engineering fields, from kindergarten to advanced researchers. WISE is part of the women's initiatives unit in Auburn's Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

"With help from all across campus, we have created a supportive environment for Auburn women, including talented and hardworking young faculty like Virginia," said Donna Sollie, assistant provost for women's advancement. "Awards like this one, and the faculty members who earn them, continue to increase interest in these fields and help young women become excited about participating in science, technology, engineering and math, now as well as later in their careers."

For additional information related to research conducted in the Department of Chemical Engineering or the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University please visit