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Outstanding Faculty Awards

Frances Williams

Associate Professor of Engineering
Norfolk State University

Frances R. Williams is an Associate Professor of Engineering and Interim Director of the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State University (NSU), where she has worked since 2004.

Since coming to NSU, Dr. Williams has made outstanding contributions in teaching, scholarship, and service and received NSU’s top distinguished faculty award, the University Award of Excellence, in 2010. In January 2012, she was selected as an “Emerging Scholar” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Dr. Williams has extensive research experience and peer-reviewed publications in the areas of acoustic microsensors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices and processes, and in-situ monitoring techniques of semiconductor manufacturing. She was awarded a patent (#7,784,346) in August 2010 for a micromachined sensor for monitoring electrochemical deposition. This technology is important to the semiconductor/electronics industry.

Dr. Williams is the Director of the Micro- and Nano-technology Center (MiNaC) cleanroom at NSU. The MiNaC is a $6.5 million, state-of-the-art user facility which is unique and beneficial to researchers at NSU and the Hampton Roads region. She is also the Diversity Director for the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) Engineering Research Center (ERC), which is a multi-university ERC led by the University of Arizona and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Williams has been awarded grants totaling more than $12 million as a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI. Moreover, she actively serves on and chairs many committees at the department, college, and university levels and is a member of five professional and honorary societies. In addition, Dr. Williams volunteers in her community where she participates in various programs that promote the STEM field to students from elementary to college age.

Dr. Williams received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical (A&T) State University in Greensboro, NC. She received the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA where she was an NSF Graduate Fellow, Office of Naval Research HBCU Future Engineering Faculty Fellow, Facilitating Academic Careers in Engineering and Science (FACES) Fellow, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Scholar.

View Nomination Packet

Francis Williams


"I desire to play a role in NSU being a top producer of well-prepared minority engineering students… My passion for my profession stems from my desire to plant, nurture and cultivate seeds of knowledge… Most importantly, I am able to water and nurture seeds of intellect, ideas, and dreams so that they will develop into beautifully grown trees of knowledge."