Suely is a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was raised with three siblings by Jayme and Anna, dedicated parents and children of World War II Jewish refuges. Education was highly valued in the family, and Suely placed among the top few in her entering chemical engineering class at the prestigious Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). More interested in investigating relations in physical phenomena than in manipulating them for practical purposes, Suely worked on undergraduate research projects in inorganic chemistry, and later joined the M.S. in Chemistry program at UFRJ to study quantum chemistry. Fond memories of that time include punching computer cards, and keeping them in order to avoid having to rearrange hundreds of lines of computer code. While still pursuing her M.S. degree, Suely taught high school chemistry to students preparing for the tough university entrance exam, and was selected for an assistant position in physical chemistry at Universidade Federal Fluminense. A month-long workshop in Gainesville, FL, sponsored by the Quantum Theory Project (QTP), was enough to convince her to pursue her Ph.D. degree at the University of Florida. She is greatly indebted to Profs. U. Löwdin, R. Bartlett and M. Zerner for sharing their passion for their science with the graduate students in the program. It was also then that Suely embraced the saving grace of knowing Jesus Christ as the Way to the Father. After two years at QTP, while traveling back home to visit her parents, she met her future husband, Jason, who was also on his way to Rio following his passion for Bossa Nova. They married soon thereafter, and Suely transferred to Columbia University. There she worked under the direction of Prof. Rich Friesner, who miraculously offered her a funded position in his group only two weeks before the beginning of the semester. It was in Manhattan that Paulo, their son, was born. After Suely completed her degree, the family moved to Norfolk, VA, where she joined the chemistry department and the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State University. Three months later, Luísa was born. For Suely, it has been enjoyable and fulfilling to work alongside colleagues at NSU and from partner institutions, contribute to the education of NSU students, and to raise a family in Virginia Beach.
Education Hub Director, Center for Materials Research, 2003-2011
- Designed, established and directed the grant-supported Center for Materials Research (CMR) Education Hub.
- Implemented the Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in the Fall 2007, the first STEM doctoral program at Norfolk State University, and the second in the nation at an HBCU.
- Directed the Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering Program and the M.S. in Materials Science program.
- Designed and coordinated center-sponsored undergraduate scholarship and research programs, including summer undergraduate research program, recruiting efforts, and professional mentoring of students.
- Directed all formal and informal education activities sponsored by grants in the CMR, including partnership activities with other universities.
Associate Director of Diversity and Associate Director of Education for the NSF-STC on Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research (CMDITR) led by University of Washington, 2005-2012
- Coordinates cooperative efforts between the CMR and the other universities in the Center, including recruiting of undergraduate students for center programs, organizing participation of graduate students in the CMDITR's activities, development of graduate course in Nanotechnology with STC-MDITR faculty participation at NSU,
- Created the CMRwiki (http://cmrwiki.nsu.edu), which is maintained by NSU students,
- Created an infrastructure to allow graduate students to design and deploy science outreach activities to the community.
Member-at-large and Secretary of the Hampton Roads section of the ACS (2004-2006, 2007-2008)
- Received grant award to promote the enhancement of chemistry teaching in collaboration with middle school teachers in 2003.
- ACS Hampton Roads Section's coordinator of the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad since 1996.
- Revised the general chemistry I and II laboratories for science majors at NSU, with support from NSF-CCLI/ILI program, 1997-1999.
- Developed and implemented a new model of laboratory instruction to include cooperative, project-based activities, with emphasis on developing problem solving, and written and oral communication skills.
- Developed materials for instructors and students related to the course.
- Presented as the paper How we implemented and adapted a cooperative model in an urban setting during the 222nd ACS National Meeting, Chicago, IL, August 2001
- Coordinator, American Chemical Society Hampton Roads Section U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad, yearly event, 1996- Leader, “Get Your Hands on Some Science” program for middle and high school students at the Brambleton Community Center (with participation of the Cornell Center for Materials Research and NSU CMR, 100+ participants), 2008
- Leader, Campostella Elementary School STEM Carnival (with participation of NSU, Cornell U. and Purdue U. students, staff and faculty, 100+ attendees), 2011
- Leader, Campostella Elementary School ACS Green Chemistry Project (multi-week, led by NSU graduate students, 70 participants), 2010
- Judge, FIRST Robotics Regional Competition,, Norfolk, VA, 2010, 2011, 2012
Other Professional Contributions
- NSU Liaison for the Preparing Future Faculty Initiative at Old Dominion University, 2006-Advance Project by UVa – NSU Participant
- National Science Foundation Proposal and Project Reviewer