Cheryl B. Travis grew up in California and received her PhD from the University of California, Davis in 1971. She started teaching at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (UTK) in 1973. Travis is a full professor who has been serving as the associate department head of psychology and separately serving as the chair of the women's studies program. Barbara Strudler Wallston, PhD, was her first mentor. Travis was the first woman to serve at UTK's psychology department in a tenure-track position, where she has been serving for 41 years. In those 41 years, she assisted in grass-rooting the academic field of the psychology of women, which earned her the highest national award in Div. 35. She is a fellow of four APA divisions: Div. 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues), Div. 34 (Society for Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology), Div. 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women) and Div. 38 (Health Psychology). She has served as the president of Div. 35, as chair of the APA Board of Scientific Affairs and as a member on APA's Board of Educational Affairs; she also has served two terms on the APA Finance Committee. She currently is a member of the APA Committee on Women in Psychology. Her research has primarily focused on women and health care disparities, as well as on sexuality, feminism, sexual assault and gender equality. Travis' work is featured in the "Handbook of Gender Research in Psychology"; the "Handbook of Girls' and Women's Psychological Health, Psychology of Women"; and Psychology of Women Quarterly; "Sexuality, Society, and Feminism”; and “Evolution, Gender, and Rape."
Travis' time and service to the University of Tennessee and to the American Psychological Association has not gone unrecognized, as she has received a number of awards recognizing her accomplishments, including the Chancellor's Angie Warren Perkins Award for Excellence, the Carolyn Wood Sherif Award and the Sue Rosenberg Zalk Award for Distinguished Service to the Society for the Psychology of Women. In spare time, Travis and her husband Curtis are avid hikers. Travis is currently transitioning to professor emerita, and featuring her in the Great Leader's Series is APA's way of recognizing her and her accomplishments.