Wilkins named Featured Faculty Scholar

Dr. Dawn Wilkins, a professor in the University of Tennessee at Martin Department of Biological Sciences, has been named the university’s 2021 spring semester Featured Faculty Scholar. She was honored April 15 with a reception in the Paul Meek Library, and her name will be added to a plaque bearing the names of past recipients that is permanently displayed in the library. Examples of her research can be seen in a case near the library’s main entrance.

The Featured Faculty Scholar award, instituted during the 1996-97 academic year, recognizes faculty members whose research and creative works are judged to be among the most prestigious of those produced by individuals in the UT Martin academic community.

Wilkins began her career at UT Martin in fall 2004 as an assistant professor. She was promoted to associate professor in 2008 and then to professor in 2013. Wilkins holds a bachelor’s degree from UT Martin, a master’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University and a doctoral degree from Mississippi State University.

“As a student at UT Martin, I participated in an undergraduate research project and was hired as a summer research technician working at Reelfoot Lake,” said Wilkins. “These experiences sparked my passion for birds and led me to pursue opportunities that allow me to incorporate this passion into my career.”

Wilkins is a woodpecker biologist who has pursued projects with students investigating the ecology of various species including barred owls, osprey, herons and even the microbes that live in the digestive track of sapsuckers.

“As a student at UT Martin, I participated in an undergraduate research project and was hired as a summer research technician working at Reelfoot Lake,” said Wilkins. “These experiences sparked my passion for birds and led me to pursue opportunities that allow me to incorporate this passion into my career. My hope for the UT Martin students that I mentor is that they find their passion through participating in active research projects and attending scientific meetings.”

Outside of the classroom, Wilkins has served on many university committees and has been active in public service. “She is often invited as a speaker at other university and professional gatherings,” said Dr. Nancy Buschhaus, a professor and biological sciences interim chair. “She also serves as scientific judge, scientific advisor, moderator and scientific committee member for multiple professional scientific meetings and societies both within the state and within the region.”

Her professional memberships include the American Ornithological Society, the Association of Southeastern Biologists, the Tennessee Ornithological Society and the Tennessee Academy of Sciences. Wilkins was previously honored for teaching and scholarship when she received one of two Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Awards in spring 2016 by UT Martin.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615.

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