Alumna Rachel Segalman Named Chair of UCSB Department of Chemical Engineering

Alumna Rachel Segalman named chair of UCSB Chemical Engineering DeparmentWhen Rachel Segalman, Texas ChE (B.S. ’98) and University of California Santa Barbara alumna, returned to the UCSB campus as a professor of chemical engineering and materials last year, it seemed like a new and exciting place compared to the late 90s when she was a chemical engineering graduate student. At the time, Segalman helped a newly-hired Professor Edward Kramer build his lab. She was the first Ph.D. student to graduate from his group in 2002.

Many things have changed on campus since Segalman was a UCSB student, she commented. “There are a handful of faculty members who are still here, but there’s been an enormous amount of growth on campus – in the buildings, in the faculty, and in the people. It’s really exciting.”

She spent the following decade or so building her career as an internationally renowned expert in polymer science and engineering, a field that intersects multiple disciplines. Segalman was appointed an assistant professor in chemical engineering at UC Berkeley and a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in the Materials Science Division, later to serve as the acting director of the division. Remaining involved with her alma mater, Segalman is a member of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering External Advisory Council at The University of Texas. She has received numerous awards for scientific achievement, including an NSF CAREER Award, a Presidential Early Career Award, the Dillon Medal of the American Physical Society, and most recently the 2015 Journal of Polymer Science Innovation Award. She has been selected as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and one of the MIT Technology Review’s TR35: Top Innovators Under 35.

Today at UCSB, Segalman is a professor of chemical engineering and the Edward N. Kramer Endowed Chair in Materials, a legacy of the late Professor Kramer. Effective July 1, 2015, Segalman has now been appointed Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCSB, filling the shoes of outgoing chair Professor Frank Doyle, who has led the department for the past two years.

Link to Alumna Rachel Segalman video

“Professor Segalman will be the first alumnus of the department to step into the role as department chair; this brings a nice perspective on strategic matters as the department prepares for its 50th anniversary,” commented Doyle.

“It is great to be back and see the passion for science and collaboration that inspired me still going strong, but in a much-changed department,” said Segalman. “I’m thrilled to be leading the chemical engineering department. The faculty is an extremely cohesive group of amazing researchers who also care                                                                                                passionately about education and mentorship on all levels.”

Regarding plans for department growth over the next few years, Segalman said, “We will be doing some significant recruiting of new faculty and I look forward with excitement to the new scientific opportunity while working to maintain the department’s collegial, fundamentally rigorous culture.” She appointed Professor Scott Shell to be the department’s new vice chair for graduate affairs while Todd Squires will remain vice chair for undergraduate affairs.

“Professor Segalman will represent her colleague and the department with insight and expertise,” said Rod Alferness, Dean of the College of Engineering. “We are fortunate to have her leadership.”


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