On 29 November, #GivingTuesday, the GSA Foundation launches our year-end efforts to support field camp opportunities for students. You can help aspiring geoscientists attend field camp in 2023! Read about the life-changing experiences of this year’s student recipients on the Foundation blog with new stories posted weekly.
Unforgettable, pivotal, crucial, invaluable, transformative. These are just a few of the words the 2022 J. David Lowell Field Camp Scholarship recipients used to describe to their field camp experience.Thanks to your support, this year we were able to provide funding for a record thirty J. David Lowell Field Camp Scholarships, ten more than when the program was solely funded by a corporate sponsor. With your help, lack of funding doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge for students to participate in the experience of field camp.
Make a gift of any size between Giving Tuesday and 31 December to help provide support for students to attend field camp in 2023.
Interview with Alec Siurek
Where did you attend field camp?
I attended field camp at the Judson Mead Indiana University Geologic Field Station out in the Tobacco Root Mountains of southwestern Montana.
What did receiving the J. David Lowell Field Camp Scholarship mean to you?
For me, receiving the J. David Lowell Field Camp Scholarship meant that I was able to offset the cost of field camp by approximately 40%, and was the deciding factor for me in attending the IU Field Camp. Receiving this scholarship was huge for me, as it meant I was able to save a significant amount of the little money I make as a college student, and being able to attend field camp without the worry of having to pay back the loan I would have needed was a wonderful feeling.
What did that experience teach you about the geosciences, yourself, and your future career?
My experience at field camp only solidified my desire to embed myself in the geosciences. The course at the IU Geologic Field Station challenged my skills in fieldwork, note-taking, and structural geology, which I was always excited to face. Field camp certainly taught me how to take proper notes in the field, how to read the lithology of an area and use it in a more regional context, and overall gave me the necessary foundation to be a good field geologist. Field camp was tough, both physically and mentally challenging, but it was a challenge that got me out of my bunk every morning, as I found every day brought new experiences that I find myself missing more and more as time goes on. As for my career, I would love to continue research, especially in a place such as southwest Montana with its pristine exposures of rock and fascinating geological history. As of right now, I am torn between going on to get my Master’s degree and work with my state’s geologic survey, or getting my Ph.D. and teaching, as I have found that I love to help others to appreciate the wonders of the geosciences as I do.
What opportunities did attending field camp provide that you wouldn’t have had otherwise?
Attending field camp provided me with a way to prove to myself that my skills as a geologist are as sharp as they can be. Coming from northwest Indiana where the tallest feature around is Holocene sand dunes and overall lacking any good exposures of bedrock, getting to attend field camp in Montana was a unique experience that gave me more classical training than any field camp locally would have provided for me.
In your opinion, how important is field camp for geoscience students?
I think that field camp is absolutely necessary for geoscience students. While departments may make field camp attendance a requirement, I believe that it is necessary because of the experience that it gives you. Everyone in the geosciences always talks about how great of an experience field camp is and how life-changing it is, and after attending myself I couldn’t agree more with them.
Why should individuals support field camp opportunities for students?
Simply put, when you support field camp opportunities for students, you are supporting the next generation of geoscientists that will go on to do extraordinary things in their careers, especially in a time when understanding our interactions and impacts on our planet is crucial. Supporting field camp opportunities for students provides them with an incredible experience while helping to make this experience much more affordable.