UC Santa Barbara’s Rachel Segalman Is the 2022 Acrivos Professional Progress Award Recipient

Dr. Rachel Segalman (UC, Santa Barbara), winner of the 2022 Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering

The Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering is endowed by the AIChE Foundation in the name of fluid-dynamics pioneer Andreas Acrivos of the City College of New York. The prize recognizes outstanding progress in chemical engineering by a member of AIChE in their early career.

The recipient of the 2022 Acrivos Award for Professional Progress is Dr. Rachel Segalman, the Warren K. Schlinger Chair of Chemical Engineering and the Edward Noble Kramer Chair of Materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Dr. Segalman is being recognized for pioneering studies of functional soft materials, including semiconducting block polymers, polymeric ionic liquids, and hybrid thermoelectric materials.

Segalman and the other Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients will be honored at the 2022 AIChE Annual Meeting, November 13–18 in Phoenix, Arizona.

My favorite part of my job has always been collaborating – particularly with graduate students and postdocs as well as other colleagues. Together, we generate insights and explore directions I never would have dreamed of alone.”

Segalman’s group at UC Santa Barbara works on controlling the structure and thermodynamics of functional polymers for energy applications, including polymeric ionic liquids and semiconducting and bio-inspired polymers. 

She was a post doctoral fellow at the Université Louis Pasteur before starting her career in academia at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. During a portion of this time, she also served as the Materials Science Division Director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories.

In 2014, Segalman joined the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and in 2018 she became the Schlinger Distinguished Chair of Chemical Engineering and the Associate Director of UCSB’s Center for Materials for Water and Energy Systems – one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Frontier Research Centers. She is also the co-editor of the Annual Reviews of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and an associate editor of ACS Macro Letters.

A Fellow of AIChE and the American Physical Society, Segalman is also an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and a Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

She earned her BS from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Dr.Segalman says that receiving the Acrivos Professional Progress Award is particularly meaningful to her because “rather than recognizing a singular breakthrough, it recognizes my very long-term interest and investment in designing the molecular and mesoscale structure of polymers so that they can transport electronic and ionic charge for energy and water applications.”

Reflection on her work, Segalman says that “while it is tempting to look at science in terms of individual papers, talks, or theses, I am grateful for the sustained funding and support by the community that allowed us to make these advances.” 

She adds: “My favorite part of my job has always been collaborating – particularly with graduate students and postdocs as well as other colleagues. Together, we generate insights and explore directions I never would have dreamed of alone. This award is a cumulative recognition of all of the brilliant people I’ve had a chance to work with.”

This fall, ChEnected is presenting profiles of all the 2022 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients. Visit ChEnected regularly to meet this year’s honorees.