A closer network
Alice Suroviec, associate professor of bioanalytical chemistry and department chair at Berry College, remembers her first ECS meeting vividly.
“The Electrochemical Society is great about allowing new people to present their research. That’s how I got started.”
“My PhD advisor was an active member of ECS, and he started taking us to meetings to give our presentations. What’s great about ECS meetings is that they allowed us to present, even as graduate students,” said Suroviec.
“So my first time giving a presentation was at an ECS meeting—the 204th ECS Meeting in Orlando, Florida. I remember I was super nervous, but everybody was so supportive. There wasn’t anyone in the crowd heckling. There was no one going, ‘Get her off the stage. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about,’” laughed Suroviec, (who stopped by Disney’s Magic Kingdom afterwards—another very memorable experience and perk of the meeting.)
In fact, she said the response she received was quite the opposite.
“Everybody was like, ‘This is really great,’ and they had actual constructive ideas about what could be done differently and the different directions I could take. I then realized there was no reason for me to be so nervous,” said Suroviec.
Which is why today, she too takes her undergraduate students to ECS’s biannual meetings.
“They can always do an oral presentation or a poster presentation without worrying that we’re going to get rejected for time or space. The Electrochemical Society is great about allowing new people to present their research. That’s how I got started,” said Suroviec, who today is an associate editor of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society.
“It’s more than just networking. It’s almost like a family.”
Another aspect of ECS’s meetings that keeps Suroviec coming back is the small, inviting, and engaging ambiance it offers.
“It’s almost like a family atmosphere in that the same people always return to ECS meetings because the people involved with ECS tend to be lifetime members,” said Suroviec.
“So you can rely on seeing the same people at fall and spring meetings, catching up with them, forming kind of a bond. It’s more than just networking. It’s almost like a family,” which hit home for Suroviec and lead her to become an ECS member in 2002.
“ECS offers all these benefits to their members that are increasing, like the career board and open access waivers,” added Suroviec.
She says something prospective ECS members might overlook when considering joining is the importance of the community the Society offers.
“When I’m stuck on a problem, I can just email anybody I’ve met at an ECS meeting, and they always respond. I find that a tangible benefit.”
“Memberships for societies, in general, are approximately the same dollar amount, but I think what you get out of The Electrochemical Society is a closer network of people than you would in one of these larger organizations,” said Suroviec. “Everybody is approachable. There’s nobody who won’t sit and talk to you about their role, and they’re generally excited about the same topics as you are. And, when I’m stuck on a problem, I can just email anybody I’ve met, and they always respond. I find that a tangible benefit.”