Professor David Sholl, the John F. Brock III School Chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE), has announced his plan to step down from his chair position in summer 2021 and return to serve as a ChBE faculty member.
Sholl is transitioning to a joint appointment with Georgia Tech and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). At ORNL, Sholl will be the director of the Laboratory's new Transformational Decarbonization Initiative.
“It has been an enormous privilege to be in this role for eight years,” Sholl said. “The ChBE community is an amazing group of people who support the School's world-class research and educational mission in many different ways.”
During his tenure as school chair, ChBE has seen many successes. For example, ChBE’s undergraduate ranking in U.S. News and World Report rose from seventh to second, and the program’s graduate ranking similarly improved, climbing from tenth to fifth.
ChBE also recently reached a milestone to diversify the student body, which now includes equal numbers of women and men undergraduates. ChBE’s Transfer Student Association, formed in 2013, rapidly became a model for what is now a campus-wide organization.
Under Sholl’s leadership, ChBE faculty members have won a wide range of prestigious awards, including five National Science Foundation CAREER awards presented to assistant professors in 2020-2021.
Additionally, in 2020, ChBE launched a graduate certificate in Data Science for the Chemical Industry, Georgia Tech’s first fully online graduate certificate.
Working with Georgia Tech’s Office of Development, ChBE raised more than $47M in the Campaign for Georgia Tech that concluded in 2017. Since then, Sholl has continued to be successful in raising funds for future student needs and innovations in ChBE.
“Under David’s leadership, the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering has seen great success, including diversity in student demographics, the launch of an online master’s certificate, and greater funding to ensure student innovation,” said Raheem Beyah, dean and Southern Company chair for the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. “We are grateful to have had David as a leader for the past eight years, and I look forward to working with him as a faculty member.”
Sholl’s active contributions to the professional community include his current service on the Board of Directors of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Sholl was elected as a Fellow of AIChE in 2019 and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2020.
During his years as school chair, he also served as a senior editor for the American Chemical Society journal Langmuir and chaired two different Gordon Research Conferences.
Active in developing research agenda reports for the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Academy of Engineering, Sholl played an instrumental role in creating RAPID (Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment), a Manufacturing Institute led by AIChE with $70M in funding from the DOE and more than $100M in matching funding from RAPID’s partners.
He is a deputy director of the Center for Understanding and Control of Acid Gas-Induced Evolution of Materials for Energy (UNCAGE-ME), an Energy Frontier Research Center that has received $20 million in funding from the DOE since its inception.
Sholl first arrived at Georgia Tech in 2008 as the Michael E. Tennenbaum Chair and GRA Eminent Scholar in Energy Sustainability, and his primary research interests are acid-gas interactions with materials, molecular modeling, and porous materials.
During his tenure as school chair, Sholl has maintained an active research program, graduating 25 Ph.D. students who now hold positions in academia, national labs, and industry; and his research group published more than 150 papers that have already been cited more than 5,000 times.
Overall, he has published more than 370 papers with over 20,000 citations, and he has given more than 280 invited talks and seminars. Sholl’s latest book, “Success and Creativity in Scientific Research: Amaze Your Friends and Surprise Yourself,” will be released by CRC Press in March 2021.