Women in Science and Engineering

Daniel F. and Josephine Breeden Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Auburn University

Dr. Virginia A. Davis

Dr. Virginia Davis is the Daniel F. and Josephine Breeden Professor in Auburn University’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Her interest in STEM started with doing science and engineering fair projects. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Rice University in 2006 under the guidance of Professor Matteo Pasquali and the late Nobel Laureate Richard E. Smalley. She received her bachelor of science in engineering and masters of engineering from Tulane University’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Between her BSE and PhD degrees, she worked for eleven years in Shell Chemicals’ polymer businesses in the US and Europe.  

At Auburn, Dr. Davis conducts fundamental and applied research on producing useful structures with unique properties from nanomaterial and polymer dispersions. Dr. Davis has seven patents, and her 50 peer reviewed articles have been cited over 4500 times. She is actively involved in collaborative research and outreach efforts aimed at helping middle and high school students see how engineers help their communities and the world. Virginia was a member of Auburn’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Steering Committee from 2007-2013, including a term as chair. She was also the founding advisor for the Auburn Student Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. In addition, she was the first faculty liaison for the 100+ Women Strong organization for recruiting, retaining and rewarding female engineers. These and other activities contributed to her department receiving the 2015 Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Award for Increasing Diversity in Graduate Education. Her national awards include the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum’s Young Investigator Award (2012), a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2010), and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2009). Her Auburn University awards include the 2019 Award for Inclusive Excellence and Diversity, the Provost's Award for Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring (2018), the Auburn Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach (2015), and the Auburn Engineering Alumni Council Awards for Senior (2013) and Junior (2009) Faculty Research.