The Electrochemical Society

Thriving, Not Just Surviving

Alex Peroff on staying the course
11-Aug-2020 2:15 PM EDT, by The Electrochemical Society

In our series, The ECS Community Adapts and Advances, Alex Peroff spoke to us from his home office. Whereas travel used to be the largest part of his job, now he focuses on developing content and meaningful communication. Alex joined Pine Research Instrumentation, Inc. as an Electroanalytical Scientist in 2016 after completing a PhD at Northwestern University. His thesis work was on mechanistic studies of pyridinium electrochemistry. Alex serves as a member of the ECS Sponsorship Committee. Pine Research is an ECS Institutional Member at the Benefactor level.

Doing what you didn’t have time for before

Newswise — “Pine Research develops research products for the electrochemistry community such as electrode rotators, potentiostats, electrodes, and cells.  My work at Pine involves sales, developing documentation and marketing material, supporting engineers creating new instruments, providing technical support—and traveling a lot! COVID-19 pushed travel and face-to-face customer-related activities to the side. Now I focus on communicating with customers and developing marketing materials—documents, YouTube videos, and digital assets that answer customers’ questions.

Before the shutdown, I moved the equipment I need to shoot videos (cameras, lights, backdrops) and develop content to my home. My work computer is here because I need a powerful machine with software for video editing.

My supervisor told me, 'Any videos that you’ve been itching to make, now is the time to do it. Because when travel restrictions are lifted, we’re going out hard, visiting as many people as possible, and returning to trade shows. Anything you need to stay put to work on, now is the time. I write a lot of documents, too; for example, how to fix this electrode, or why does your potentiostat do this type of behavior—things that could be useful to the community. So I’m busy!”

Contact is key

“Today, the key to happy customers is keeping in touch. I use whichever mode of communication the customer prefers—Skype, phone, email. We back that up with social media to say, ’Hey, Pine is still here. We’re doing things. If you need assistance, contact us. We’re more than happy to help.’ If chemists and grad students have fundamental questions about science, they can ask me. It’s really good to talk to somebody if you’re not 100 percent sure about something.  

We engage by doing more digital workshops. For example, in the past we delivered our cyclic voltammetry and EIS (electrochemical impedance spectroscopy) boot camps in person. Now I do online bootcamps and share my screen to demonstrate fundamental ideas or concepts, and answer questions directly.

One good thing. In the past, grad students I’ve known and worked with for a while, when they defended their theses, they were too far away for me to attend. Now their thesis defense is on Zoom, and it’s open to the public. They send me the link to their defense and I get to hear and celebrate with them!

We all need some level of human interaction. We usually get it from being near each other physically, but we right now that’s not advisable. You would be surprised by the impact of maintaining communication. If you email a customer with whom you’re normally always brass-tacks trying to figure out the next thing, and ask ‘how are you doing,’ that little gesture goes a long way. Because if someone is really feeling bad, you can help them, whether they need a short 15-30-minute conversation or a two-hour conversation. It helps them and it helps you stay sane!”

Simple steps to staying sane

“Maintaining continuity, routine, and productivity in this new and different time is challenging. Although I can’t go to the gym, I still exercise from home. It’s easy to walk down the trail near where I live and stay six feet away from others. Getting time outdoors helps me feel good. Where I might normally have lunch with somebody once every week or two, now I have Zoom lunch meetings with that person.

Sticking to a regime is good. I write a list of the things I want to accomplish, even very simple things. I make the goals easy. Instead of reading a whole book, my goal may be to complete one chapter. Even making a start on a task helps. At the end of the day, knocking off that small task gives me a sense of accomplishment.

As scientists and electrochemists, the ECS community needs time to reflect, and this situation gives us that. Some of the most creative scientific ideas come when all we can do is think. Stay the course, stay focused, talk to people. Use this time as a gift, and you will not only survive, but you will thrive. When life returns to normal, you’re going to hit the lab hard, and you will have all these great ideas—but don’t burn yourself out!”

Stronger and closer on the other side

“It’s hard to say how it’s going to be going forward. Every few days or weeks, something new happens. If COVID cases start to decrease, it’s going to be a slow ramp-up back to some level of normalcy. With different states on different schedules, it’s going to be difficult to return to normal travel.

It’ll be good to see familiar faces and new faces at the next ECS meeting—whenever that is. I’ve stayed current with my clients’ activities through the pandemic thanks to ECS’s Twitter and Facebook updates. I look forward to congratulating whoever finished their thesis, won an award, or had a paper published since I last saw them. Also, since ECS is so international, I am looking forward to hearing what everyone’s experience has been through the pandemic. There is this sense of unity with people around the world since we are all going through the pandemic together. Ultimately, we will get through this hard time and be stronger and closer for the experience.”

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 3321
Newswise: 243389_web.jpg
Released: 18-Sep-2020 10:55 AM EDT
Potential new drug to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 infection consequences
University of Malaga

Scientists from the Department of Cell Biology of the University of Malaga (UMA) and the Andalusian Centre for Nanomedicine and Biotechnology (BIONAND) have made progress in finding new rapid implementation therapies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, identifying a new drug that could prevent or mitigate the consequences derived from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Newswise: 243400_web.jpg
Released: 18-Sep-2020 10:40 AM EDT
Most homemade masks are doing a great job, even when we sneeze, study finds
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Studies indicate that homemade masks help combat the spread of viruses like COVID-19 when combined with frequent hand-washing and physical distancing.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 23-Sep-2020 8:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 18-Sep-2020 10:00 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 23-Sep-2020 8:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 18-Sep-2020 8:30 AM EDT
Immunotherapy Drug Development Pipeline Continues Significant Growth in 2020 Despite Global Pandemic Impact
Cancer Research Institute

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe, there has been a resurgence of interest in immuno-oncology (I-O) preclinical and clinical development, bringing hope to cancer patients and physicians who treat them.

Released: 17-Sep-2020 5:50 PM EDT
AERA and OECD to Co-Host Webinar on Education Research Worldwide in a Covid and Post-Covid World
American Educational Research Association (AERA)

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will co-host a webinar on “Education Research Worldwide in a Covid and Post-Covid World” at 9:30-11:00 am EDT Wednesday, September 23.

Newswise: 243232_web.jpg
Released: 17-Sep-2020 4:20 PM EDT
Study shows first proof that a safer UV light effectively kills virus causing COVID-19
Hiroshima University

A study conducted by Hiroshima University researchers found that using Ultraviolet C light with a wavelength of 222 nanometers which is safer to use around humans effectively kills SARS-CoV-2 -- the first research in the world to prove its efficacy against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Newswise:Video Embedded american-academy-of-dermatology-honors-detroit-physician-iltefat-h-hamzavi-with-national-patient-care-hero-award
Released: 17-Sep-2020 4:00 PM EDT
American Academy of Dermatology honors Detroit physician Iltefat H. Hamzavi with national “Patient Care Hero” award
American Academy of Dermatology

The American Academy of Dermatology has named board-certified dermatologist Iltefat H. Hamzavi, MD, FAAD, a Patient Care Hero for his innovative use of light therapy to sanitize masks needed by frontline health care workers.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 22-Sep-2020 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 17-Sep-2020 3:20 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 22-Sep-2020 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 17-Sep-2020 3:05 PM EDT
New York State Department of Health Grants Emergency Use Authorization to Mount Sinai for Quantitative COVID-19 Antibody Test
Mount Sinai Health System

The Clinical Laboratories of The Mount Sinai Hospital has received emergency use authorization from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) for quantitative use of Mount Sinai’s COVID-19 antibody test, making Mount Sinai’s lab the first in the country to run an authorized, fully quantitative antibody test that can deliver a precise numeric measurement of the level of antibodies in a patient’s blood

Showing results

110 of 3321