National Academy of Engineering Elects Alumna, Dr. Rachel Segalman

February 26, 2021

Rachel Segalman received her B.S. from the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, and her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Segalman is the Edward Noble Kramer Professor and chair of the UC Santa Barbara Chemical Engineering Department.

She was recognized by the NAE “for contributions to semiconducting block polymers, polymeric ionic liquids and hybrid thermoelectric materials.” Her research focuses on controlling the structure and thermodynamics of functional polymers, including semiconducting and bioinspired polymers.

With particular interests in energy, efficiency, sustainability, and materials and interfaces, Segalman’s research focuses on controlling self-assembly, structure, and the properties in functional polymers. Structural control over soft matter at microscopic length scales is an essential tool to optimize properties for applications ranging from solar and thermal energy to biomaterials. Her work paves the way for the development of sophisticated materials for energy application such as photovoltaics, fuel cells, and thermoelectrics.

“Rachel has had a tremendous influence in the polymer research community, mentoring countless researchers who are now themselves leading and educating the next generation,” said Dr. Delia Milliron, Chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering.

Segalman’s work has led to three U.S. patents for inventions that span semiconductor doping technology to energy generation and storage devices. A recipient of multiple honors throughout her career, Segalman is an elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and the American Physical Society (APS). Additional awards include the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to early-career scientists and engineers; the National Science Foundation’s Early CAREER Award, the Dillon Medal from APS, as well as the recipient of the Journal of Polymer Science Innovation Award and the Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award. She is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Chemical Engineers in the Cockrell School’s McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering.

Individuals in the newly elected class will be formally inducted during the NAE’s annual meeting on October 3, 2021.

Special thanks to UCSB College of Engineering for their contributions to this article.