Award honors materials researcher for practicing, promoting safety

By Scott Lyon
July 16, 2019

The School of Engineering and Applied Science has awarded Rachel Selinksy its first annual Dale Grieb Safety Award, honoring her leadership in laboratory safety and health.

Selinksy, an associate research scholar in chemical and biological engineering, investigates materials for improving fuels cells in Professor Bruce Koel's lab. She doubles as the lab safety officer, the role that earned her the award. She was previously a researcher at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where the Department of Energy regulates safety procedures.

The award cites Selinsky's efforts to “create accurate chemical inventories, ensure safe chemical usage and storage, promote safe laboratory practices, and mentor undergraduate students.” Since joining the Koel research group in 2018, Selinsky has navigated ongoing upgrades to the lab's hydrogen storage systems and improved undergraduates' training in hazardous materials handling.

As part of the award, she will receive $2,500 to spend as she chooses. Selinsky plans to use some of that money researching the electromagnetic spectra of praying mantis wings, a personal interest she said stems from her background as a visual artist.

The award's namesake, Dale Grieb, worked for Princeton University for 41 years until her death from pancreatic cancer in 2012. She had a reputation for building productive teams, fostering good will through collaboration, and advocating tirelessly for improvements in lab conditions, including health, safety and training. She was director of engineering administration and services for the final eight years of her career. In 2011, she received a President's Achievement Award, the University's highest honor for staff members.