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Psychology Professor Wins CSU Wang Family Excellence Award

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Psychology professor Nancy Segal will receive the California State University’s Wang Family Excellence Award at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Segal, a world-renowned expert on twins and faculty member since 1991, is one of five selected to receive the CSU’s prestigious award this year. She is the 11th Cal State Fullerton recipient of the Wang Family Excellence Award and was chosen for the honor in the category of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Service.

“It is a great thrill to be recognized for a career and for accomplishments that I enjoy so much,” Segal said. “I am indebted to the administrators, faculty and staff who have consistently supported twin research and the Twin Studies Center at CSUF.”

The annual award recognizes four outstanding faculty members and one staff member who distinguish themselves among all employees at the 23 CSU campuses. The winners are selected because of their dedication, commitment and exemplary contributions and achievements, which enhance the state university system’s excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Each honoree receives a $20,000 award.

The Wang Award was established in 1998, when then-CSU Trustee Stanley Wang gave $1 million to recognize remarkable contributions of faculty and administrators over 10 years. Trustee Emeritus Wang reinstated the award with a $300,000 gift to provide the $20,000 awards to each of the honorees annually for three years, beginning in 2015.

“Dr. Nancy Segal’s accomplishments in teaching and research exemplify and embrace the high standards of our faculty,” said President Mildred García. “As a prolific writer with numerous publications, and as the founder of CSUF’s Twin Studies Center, her work has led to a greater understanding of how genetics shape human behavior. She is integral to our students’ academic and professional success, and we are proud to see her achievements recognized and honored by the CSU.”

Segal’s Twin Studies Center fosters twin research by faculty members and students and provides information. She lectures, mentors, presents and publishes on the topic of twins and informs twin-based legal cases and the news media.

She receved the 2013 William James Book Award from the American Psychological Association for her book “Born Together-Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study,” summarizing the origins, methods, findings and controversies of a pivotal project on separated twins.

Seagal has written other books on her studies of twins, including: “Invisible by Two: Lives of Extraordinary Twins” and “Someone Else’s Twin: The True Story of Babies Switched at Birth.”

Her work with two sets of identical twins separated at birth and raised as fraternal twins in Bogota was recounted in the New York Times Magazine last year.

Segal was among the Most Influential 2014 list published by the Orange County Register, for her work on twins that “helped advance knowledge on the importance of genetics in shaping human behavior.”

In 2014, Segal helped British-born twins reunite after 78 years apart — the longest such gap ever recorded. She also was featured in the memoir “Separated @ Birth” because she helped Korean-born twins learn about themselves.

She was interviewed in the 2015 film “Twinsters,” a documentary about reuniting twin sisters.