This is a modified version of an article written by , Director of Engineering Communications.
On July 1, 2021, Dr. Sindee L. Simon, a recognized leader in the area of polymer physics and an experienced educational administrator, joined CBE to become the 10th head of the department.
Dr. Simon is a P.W. Horn Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech University and served as the Whitacre Department Chair from 2012 to 2019. With Simon as chair, the department saw a near doubling of its undergraduate enrollment, a 50 percent increase in doctoral student enrollments and 50 percent growth in research expenditures. Alumni gifts to the department increased substantially, and Simon established a student advisory council, a tutoring program and a mentoring program.
Simon earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Princeton University, both in chemical engineering. Prior to joining Texas Tech, she held a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a materials engineer with Beech Aircraft Corporation.
Her research interests include the physics of the glass transition, cure and properties of thermosetting materials, and properties and reactivity at the nanoscale.
Her honors and recognitions include the International Award, as well as the Research/Engineering Technology Award, from the Society of Plastics Engineers, and the Mettler Toledo Outstanding Achievement Award from the North American Thermal Analysis Society. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Physical Society, the Society of Plastics Engineers and the North American Thermal Analysis Society.
“Sindee is an accomplished researcher and higher-ed leader and was a tremendous choice for this important position,” said Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College of Engineering. “We are excited to have her join our faculty and have her build on the strengths of our Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.”
Simon has a passion for research, she said, and enjoys working with students and young faculty members to help provide them with the tools that they need to succeed.
“It’s wonderful when you see them blossom and see their horizons expand,” she said.
Dr. Peter Fedkiw, an Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor, began his service as the 9th department head in 2008 and remains a CBE faculty member. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, both in chemical engineering. His research interests include electrochemical reaction engineering, electrocatalysis, electrochemical energy conversion and environmental applications of electrochemistry.
“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Dr. Fedkiw for his outstanding service, commitment and leadership of the CBE Department for the last 13 years,” said Martin-Vega. “Peter’s selfless efforts on behalf of the faculty, students and staff of the department have been very significant and have positioned the department as a recognized leader among CBE departments nationwide.”
Simon commented that she appreciates the accomplishments of the department under Prof. Fedkiw’s leadership and looks forward to the challenge of filling his shoes and continuing the department’s forward momentum.