Friday, October 28, 2016

Introducing Keisha Walters to the CBME Team


The School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering welcomed its newest member, Keisha Walters, to the faculty starting this fall. The South Carolina native, the first of her family to graduate from college, grew up near Greenville and graduated with her B.S. degree from Clemson University. For a few years, she worked in industry as a chemist in the area of polymer additives alongside other chemists and chemical engineers in research and development labs and pilot plants before deciding to return to Clemson to complete her graduate degree.

Walters originally intended to study for her master's degree, but discovered she had “a passion for creative, open-ended research and innovation.” She chose instead to get her doctorate in chemical engineering because “it was interesting, combined my interest in chemistry and polymer materials, was challenging, and would allow me to work in a large number of different fields.” She intended to return to industry once completing her Ph.D. but instead found herself considering academia, joining the faculty in the Swalm School of Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University and serving from 2005-2016 as the director of PolySEL: Polymer Science and Engineering Laboratory.

Walters' research covers a broad range of topics in polymer- and nano-based materials engineering, and transport modeling. Her research has been published in more than 80 refereed technical manuscripts and presented at numerous national and international conferences. Walters’ work also has been sponsored by government agencies including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense and by industry partners.

Walters has served in several leadership positions including associate dean for Strategic Initiatives for the MSU College of Engineering, the focus area lead for several multi-institution research grants, and principal investigator for a number of research and equipment grants. She also serves as a board director for the Society of Plastics Engineers, Bioplastics Special Interest Group and has served as secretary of the Women in Engineering Division of the American Society of Engineering Education.

In addition to research, Walters’ commitment to a strong undergraduate and graduate teaching mission is part and parcel of who she is as both an educator and leader. She has received several awards highlighting her success at engaging students, and is heavily involved in STEM 'out-reach' to K-12 and community college students and ‘in-reach’ centered around undergraduate research and strategic professional development. In recognition of her efforts, Walters received the MSU Outstanding Woman Faculty Award (2012), Fahien Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (2012), and induction into MSU's engineering college Academy of Distinguished Teachers (2010). She currently is the Conoco-Dupont Professor of Chemical Engineering within the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering.

Walters is an avid reader and gardener who is settling into Norman life after her move from Mississippi with her three children and husband Keith Walters, a faculty member in the OU School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Walters spends her free time outdoors playing tennis, running and having fun with her family.

Welcome to the School of Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering Dr. Keisha Walters!

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