Rising Technical Contributor Award

Stephanie Barbon, Ph.D.


For being a highly productive and collaborative chemical researcher; for technical achievements in polymer synthesis and service-minded community engagement; and for creating programs to ease new researchers into their profession.

Stephanie Barbon, Ph.D., senior research specialist, joined Dow in 2019 to become part of the synthesis group of chemical science. She has experience in polymer synthesis and characterization, materials science, and synthetic chemistry.

An early-career polymer chemist in Dow’s Core Research and Development (R&D) organization, she has demonstrated outstanding technical acumen and leadership abilities in her first few years. Dr. Barbon is a contributing team member of nine project teams in technology areas ranging from silicone to polyethylene chemistry and applications spanning biodegradability to thermal stability. She quickly established herself as an innovative industrial scientist who works effectively across diverse teams and takes a careful, comprehensive approach to her work.

Her first project in Dow was a significant two-year effort in support of Dow Consumer Solutions, specifically regarding a fundamental study of anionic ring opening polymerization of siloxanes. While Dr. Barbon is skilled in polymer synthesis, this project required her to become well-versed in monitoring polymerization kinetics, while at the same time execute this for a family of materials she had not worked with before.

Dr. Barbon joined Dow after completing a two-year fellowship at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and preceded by the completion of a doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. While at UCSB, Dr. Barbon performed groundbreaking work on the synthesis and subsequent X-ray scattering of block copolymers that demonstrated unprecedented phase assembly. Despite having a background as a synthetic chemist, Dr. Barbon partnered seamlessly with another professor to acquire the polymer physics and engineering expertise necessary to interpret the scattering data that she collected. This collaborative work resulted in a seminal publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019. It has subsequently been highlighted by four news outlets and cited nearly 100 times. The publication was just one of 11 from her postdoctoral work.

Along the way, Dr. Barbon has mentored seven incoming students and developed research projects for incoming teams that resulted in publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and Macromolecules, among others. To date she has 33 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 14 of which she is first author.

Dr. Barbon has maintained a deep and consistent commitment to community service. While an undergraduate at the University of Western Ontario, she worked with high school students in Science Olympics and National Chemistry Week, offering hands-on experience in chemistry labs and sharing the opportunities available in STEM work. Dr. Barbon continues to volunteer with Let’s Talk Science, an organization focused on science education and outreach for youth in Canada. She is a member of the Dow Young Researchers Committee, developing programs, seminars, and social events to help transition new researchers into their professional careers and provide a community for those who were hired during the pandemic and had to work remotely.

She holds a B.S. in chemistry with honors and a Ph.D. in chemistry funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada grant, both from the University of Western Ontario. In her spare time, Dr. Barbon loves to travel, hike, go camping, and stay active. She also loves hanging out at home with her husband, infant son, and pets.