Rowan taps physicist to lead its research division

Rowan taps physicist to lead its research division

Dr. Tabbetha A. Dobbins

Appreciated as a mentor and champion for students, faculty and her fellow researchers, Dr. Tabbetha A. Dobbins is a passionate educator and an internationally recognized expert in materials science and engineering. 

In her new position as interim vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, Dobbins is now charged with facilitating and enhancing research activities across Rowan University, a Carnegie-designated research institution. She will lead strategic growth in multidisciplinary research areas and will serve as Rowan’s representative on external research boards. 

Dobbins well knows how to attract funding and support for scientific inquiries. She is a 2009 recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award and has won more than $2 million in grants as principal investigator. 

A professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, Dobbins recently won NSF support to study and mitigate the effects of university closures due to COVID-19 on Black undergraduate students of physics. The project builds on her earlier efforts as part of the American Institute of Physics National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy, or TEAM-UP. 

Dobbins guides students in both graduate and undergraduate research projects and encourages the participation of students in synchrotron X-ray and neutron studies at national research laboratories. Her research programs are aimed at attracting and recruiting top students to the sciences. 

She earned a B.S. in physics at Lincoln University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State University respectively. She was awarded a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

Her research centers on applying synchrotron X-ray and neutron analysis to modern engineering problems in carbon nanotubes, gold nanoparticles, the hydrogen fuel economy and polymer self-assembly.