Dr. Steve Watts is a full professor in the department of Biology where he is also the Graduate Program Director. Dr. Watts received his BS in Marine Sciences from Auburn University, his MA in Zoology and PhD in Biology from the University of South Florida. Dr. Watts has received several honors and awards and in 2007, he was the recipient of the Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Award for Scholarly Distinction.

Dr. Watts' current and former trainees were so enthusiastic about nominating him for the Mentorship Award, that they wrote 13 letters of nomination and sent approximately 100 photographs to be included with his bound volume of letters. What is evident in the letters and photos is the sense of camaraderie and collaboration his trainees share. Dr. Watts also underlines the importance of presenting research. One trainee explains, "Dr. Watts would often remind us that science is not conducted in a vacuum but through collaborations and interactions with colleagues. The network of colleagues and collaborators that I have today are in a large part due to the skills I learned as a graduate student with Dr. Watts. She goes on to add, "I remember as a graduate student every email from Dr. Watts ended with a quote by Louis Pasteur, 'Fortune favors the prepared mind.' Dr. Watts endowed us with good fortune by preparing our minds to always be open to new ideas and share our love of science with our colleagues and students."