Texas Tech University

Chemical Engineering Professor Earns Prestigious Award From Society of Plastics Engineers

Amanda Bowman

January 23, 2019

Sindee Simon

Sindee Simon was selected as the recipient of the 2019 International Award and also is the first woman to receive the award in the society’s history.

Texas Tech University's Sindee Simon, the Whitacre Department Chair and a Horn Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering, was named the recipient of the 2019 International Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).

The International Award is the highest award offered by the SPE. It recognizes lifetime achievement in the fields of polymer science or polymer/plastics engineering, and Simon is the first woman to receive the award in its almost 40-year history.

"I feel very honored to be recognized," Simon said. "The people who have won it before me have all been great scientists, and to be the first woman to win the award is very humbling."

Simon was selected from more than 22,500 SPE members. Her research focuses on residual stress development in aerospace composites, among other things, and its impact not only in academia, but also in society.

"The SPE includes quite a few academics, but the majority of members are industrial people," she said. "The society cares about the impacts of research and whether your work is applicable to the industry and society."

Simon will accept her award at SPE's 2019 Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC) March 18-21 in Detroit, Michigan, where she will give a keynote speech titled, "Polymer Physics: Academic Research and Impacts."

Simon is the second chemical engineering faculty member at Texas Tech to receive this award. Greg McKenna, a Horn Professor and the John R. Bradford Chair in Engineering, won it in 2004.

"I am very pleased for Dr. Simon," said Al Sacco Jr., dean of the College of Engineering. "She is a world-renowned scientist and engineer in the area of soft materials. Her body of work is truly impressive, and she is much deserving. She brings honor to herself, her department and Texas Tech. She is a truly outstanding academic in every respect."

Simon also credits her success to her mentors throughout the years.

"You cannot do all this work without having mentors, and I really appreciate my first doctoral mentor at Princeton, Dr. John Gillham," Simon said. "I also worked really closely with Dr. Don Plazek, now retired, who was a professor at the University of Pittsburgh when I was an assistant professor there, and with Dr. Greg McKenna here at Texas Tech. All have inspired me by their meticulous approach to research and their passion for science.

"My success is due in part to how hard I have worked, but it also is due in part to all my mentors and collaborators and to the students who have done the work in the laboratory. I hope I can similarly mentor students and young faculty and help them in their careers."

This is the second award Simon has received from the SPE. She previously received the Research/Engineering Technology Award in 2014.

About the Society of Plastics Engineers

The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has more than 22,500 members from 84 countries and unites plastics professionals worldwide, helping them succeed and strengthen their skills through networking, events, training and knowledge sharing.

For more information, visit the SPE website