Carson Bonner, Campus Carrier news editor
Berry College Dean of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences Alice Suroviec has officially been given the title of Fellow in The Electrochemical Society, a high honor that comes with prestige and recognition in the science community.
Suroviec has been a part of the Berry community since 2007 but was granted status of a full professor in 2019 and has been a dean since 2020. She teaches a BCC First Year Seminar class for freshmen, chemistry for non-majors and general chemistry.
“I want to teach people that there is chemistry everywhere,” Suroviec said. “I want to make it less scary. I love teaching non-majors chemistry. I just want to move the needle from scary to appreciative, even if they don’t like it. I love introducing freshmen to Berry as well. You develop deep mentor-mentee connections. I like seeing the first year students come in and find their way, as well as keeping them as advisors just to see how they continue their journey and help them along the way.”
According to The Electrochemistry Society website, Fellow of The Electrochemical Society was created in 1989 to award contributions in the field of electrochemical and solid state science and technology as well as activity as a member of the society.
According to Suroviec, The Electrochemistry Society is a group of individuals with shared interests and studies. It is made up of approximately 8000 members. Not only is she a member and now a Fellow, Suroviec runs their education committee and is an editor for the journal for their diversity, inclusion and belonging division. Her research itself is in electrodes that can detect the concentrations of substances in solutions.
“It’s such a privilege to be able to learn alongside the other members,” Suroviec said. “Part of being in the society is just being active within the society itself and another part is having technical knowledge and development. One woman makes synthetic skins that you put over a wound that can measure healing and progress. It’s super cool. I am not that technical.”
The Fellow application process is extensive. It is decided both on technical contributions and involvement in the society. Members are nominated by existing Fellows who write letters of recommendations, the member applying submits their resume, and then a committee of fellows look at the application. After this board votes, the President of the society votes on the induction. Up to 15 members are made fellows a year, making it a prestigious and exclusive award.
Former student Abby Haughn (23c) was a research student under Suroviec. According to Haughn, Suroviec was a busy but supportive mentor, always willing to give assistance when needed and a very innovative thinker. Haughn was an apprentice on research on multi-walled carbon nano-tubes (MWCNT) and gold nanoparticles, observing how well choline oxidase interacted with the gold nanoparticles on the electrodes.
“I did research trying to create a biosensor that would help detect choline in the body in real time,” Haughn said. “Choline is a precursor to a neurotransmitter in the brain that deals with memory and muscle control so if we have a decline of it, it could lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Having a device that could detect a decline as it was happening could be really useful. I layered my biosensor with gold nanoparticles and choline oxidase and tested it in different concentrations of choline to see if it can detect it and it did pretty well.”
According to Haughn, Suroviec’s help was vital for her research and she would not have been able to accomplish what she did without her guidance.
“Suroviec was a great person to work with,” Haughn said. “She was my research professor and advisor so she oversaw all my work and helped me. She is very kind, very patient, and always very open to teach and give guidance. I worked with her from 2021 till I graduated, around a year and a half to two years. It was a really great learning experience for me and I’m grateful. I am so proud of her for becoming a Fellow and she deserves it.”
Suroviec is the first member from Berry, or even a school like Berry, to be made a Fellow, further exemplifying what a prestigious honor it is. According to Suroviec, her position as a member of the Electrochemistry Society, especially as a Fellow, is a rarity for schools like Berry who are more teaching focused schools rather than research focused. Her position as a fellow adds credibility to the Mathematical and Natural Science Department and Berry as a whole.
“My major falls into the natural science school and I’m excited that the department is led by somebody who has so much experience and knowledge,” freshman and environmental science student Rachel Solomon said. “I love my major and the classes I’ve been able to take and am hopefully going to take a class with Dr. Suroviec. I think it’s a really impressive honor that she’s gotten and it definitely makes me more confident in the natural science department.”
Suroviec is optimistic in her future at Berry and plans to continue her research into electrodes for The Electrochemistry Society, furthering innovation and invention.
“I’m honored and excited by the award and the extra ribbon I get on my name tag when the society meets,” Suroviec said. “I look forward to doing more work for them and learning more from my fellow researchers.”