Meet Emerge Scholar Alec Bigness '19

Apr 24, 2020

by Communications Staff

Alumnus Alec Bigness '19 credits much of his success in the field of chemistry to his professors' support during all four years of his college career. Alec graduated last year at the top of his class and was named the recipient of the 2019 President's Scholar Medal, in recognition of his academic record. His work has earned the respect and praise of all of his professors in the chemistry department.

"Alec is one of the most talented and creative students I have had the privilege to work with.  He is an independent thinker capable of bridging several areas of chemistry and science in general," said Professor of Chemistry Dr. Carmen Gauthier.

In collaboration and partnership with science professors, Alec gained traction in his research very early on.

During his freshman and sophomore years, he worked with Dr. Jason Montgomery on computational chemistry which resulted in a peer-reviewed publication and an oral presentation at a regional meeting. The research was on the design and optimization of plasmonic crystals for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Using his findings, Alec disseminated his research at various local, regional, national, international conferences and multiple poster presentations.

Alec not only conducted research at FSC, but was also selected to participate in two REUs at Florida State University and Toulouse Universite Paul Sabatier in Tallahassee and France during the summers of 2017 and 2018,respectively.

In the spring of his junior year, he joined Dr. Gauthier's research group to develop his honors thesis, blending his computational experience to optimize metal organic materials (MOMs) with the aim to seek applications on drug delivery. Together, they worked to test the ability of these compounds as drug delivery agents. Then, around the time of his graduation last year, he presented his work at the American Chemical Society National Meeting.

"I have had many mentors in my journey starting from Florida Southern all the way to the south of France. My most influential mentors have been Drs. Gauthier and Montgomery who have watch my trajectory of the four years."

Alec advises students interested in the STEM field to be as involved as possible during their college career, especially for those interested in research-related fields.

"It's important to start early. A lot of opportunities one can take advantage of are predicted on previous experience, letters of recommendation, and a prolific track of volunteering and shadowing."

All the learning and hands-on experience paid off — today, Alec is a medical student at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.