Kaila Mattson was born and raised in Hartland, Wisconsin. She attended the University of South Alabama on a full academic scholarship and graduated with honors, earning a B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in Business, in May 2011. Throughout her undergraduate tenure, she worked with Dr. James H. Davis, Jr. developing a novel class of ionic liquids. She completed her Honors thesis elucidating structure-property relationships of lipid-inspired ionic liquids. She also travelled to Germany to participate in two summer research internships; the first at Ruhr-Universität Bochum under Professor Dr. Anja Verena-Mudring and the second at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen – Nürnberg under Professor Dr. Peter Wasserscheid. In 2011, Kaila was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Kaila began her doctoral work in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara under Professor Craig J. Hawker in the fall of 2011.
Kaila is working at the interface of organic and polymer chemistry to develop design principles for the synthesis of sequence-controlled and structurally-defined macromolecular architectures.