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Markita Landry

Markita Landry

2020 UI Young Alumni Award winner | Assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, Cal-Berkeley | Class of 2012

It’s looking less and less likely that 2020 Young Alumni Award winner Markita Landry will have an acceptance speech to deliver in person at October’s homecoming ceremonies.

Whenever she does, count on the Cal assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering devoting a segment to the UI professor who set her up for success like no other.

“My Ph.D. advisor, Yann Chemla, was an excellent mentor,” she says. “Additionally, as one of the first students to join the Chemla Lab in 2007, the experience enabled me to see what it was like to start a new lab from scratch — an experience that was invaluable when starting my own lab at UC Berkeley in 2016.

“Yann's thesis research ideas and his patience in guiding me through my thesis enabled me to learn the didactic and also the ‘soft skills’ needed to lead a successful research group."

On those rare days while in pursuit of her Ph.D. that her mind wasn’t on her studies, Landry could often be found dancing the night away downtown.

“Thursday Tango nights at Cowboy Monkey” were a favorite, she says. “I picked up tango dancing in my first year of graduate school and loved dropping by Cowboy Monkey for their tango and salsa dancing nights.

“Dancing was a great way to unwind during my Ph.D. studies.”