Kelli Dawkins

Starkville High School chemistry teacher Kelli Dawkins, second from left, helps students Kayla Brewer, Jeleelius Johnson and Jada O’Neal with a lab Thursday morning. Dawkins was named high school chemistry teacher of the year by the Mississippi Section of the American Chemical Society. 

A longtime Starkville High School teacher has been recognized for her work in the classroom by her discipline’s professional association.

Kelli Dawkins has taught chemistry at SHS for 26 years. Last week, she was announced as the Mississippi Section of the American Chemical Society High School Teacher of the Year. Dawkins was nominated by Mississippi State University associate professor of chemistry Keith Hollis, who she has worked with on a National Science Foundation research grant during the past few summers. Dawkins received her award at a banquet in Jackson last week.

“I was very honored and surprised to win this award, just very honored to be recognized,” Dawkins said.

Dawkins said she had no plans to teach chemistry when she was a student at Mississippi State University. However, she had a change of heart.

“After taking a few classes, I just decided that was what I wanted to do because I come from a family of teachers,” Dawkins said. “I haven’t looked back since.”

Dawkins said she enjoys working with high school students and over the years, many of her students have gone on to pursue STEM careers.

The research grant she has been a part of is titled “Feeding and Powering the World.” It involves researchers at MSU, The University of Mississippi and Tulane University, among others.

“I think I’m the most proud of my students and their successes that they’ve gone on to and their endeavors in their life,” Dawkins said. I’m just a small part of their youth, and sometimes I make a big impact on what they do for the future.”


For more on this story, read Friday's Starkville Daily News. 


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