Ask Tova Williams, Ph.D., to describe the Wilson College of Textiles in one word – and “home” immediately comes to mind. “As an undergraduate and graduate student, and later, postdoctoral researcher, I made many connections with professors and others,” she explains. “Every time I visit, I feel like I am home.”
Initially, Williams was attracted to Wilson College by its smaller environment. Then she discovered the Polymer and Color Chemistry program which combined her passion for chemistry and color. But the icing on the cake, as she acknowledges, was meeting Professor (now emeritus) Harold Freeman at an open house.
“I was intrigued not only by the demonstration he was conducting but the fact that he resembled me,” she noted. “This was the first time I had seen an African American scientist, and I could envision myself filling his shoes.”
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 2014, she returned to Wilson College to pursue her doctorate in Fiber and Polymer Science, which she earned in 2018.
Today, Williams is southeast reagent sales account manager for Tokyo Chemical Industry. “Even though I’m not currently working in a laboratory setting, I still get my chemistry ‘fix’ devising solutions that meet my customer’s chemical needs,” she said.
Williams credits Wilson College for preparing her for success – from the hands-on laboratory experience with equipment used in dyeing and finishing processes to Wilson’s “small but mighty” alumni community.
As for future career plans, Williams is keeping all options open. “I enjoy discovering the exciting work end users are involved in and helping advance science by supporting their efforts – but I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching and mentoring students and would like to continue doing so.”