On To the Future Fund*

On To the Future (OTF) celebrates the growing diversity of the GSA community and the importance of GSA’s student membership through inviting, supporting, and mentoring an increased number of students from diverse backgrounds to their first GSA meeting. This community is designed to provide a place for OTF students to gain exposure to the wide array of geoscience research and career options available. It facilitates effective mentoring relationships and networking opportunities to help OTF students become engaged leaders in the scientific and professional community.

Initiated in 2013 by the GSA Diversity in the Geosciences Committee with strong support from the GSA President, Council, and Foundation, the program addresses the organization’s overall strategic commitment to building a diverse geoscience community. With funding from individual members and donors, corporate sponsors, and GSA’s Sections, Divisions and Associated Societies, OTF continues to support underrepresented students to attend the GSA Annual Meeting.

photo of 2014 OTF cohort

The 2014 OTF cohort in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.



  • To enable a cohort of diverse students to attend their first GSA Annual Meeting.
  • To provide students with information, activities, and opportunities in career and leadership development to increase the pool of participants in the global geoscience workforce.
  • To build and sustain relationships among all OTF students through ongoing opportunities for community service and career development.


  • OTF aims to award 125 students annually and has supported 242 students attending their first GSA Annual Meeting.
  • OTF aims not only for diversity of our students but in the geographic areas they come from: 24% from GSA’s Cordilleran Section; 17% North-Central Section; 15% Northeast Section; 12% Rocky Mountain Section; 17% South-Central Section; and 15% Southeast Section.
  • The average award is $507 with awards ranging from $50-$1,000.
  • 51% of students are First Generation students (the first in their families to attend college); 64% non-Caucasian; 7% veterans; and 4% students with disabilities.
  • 65% of students are undergraduates; 20% Master’s students; 11% Ph.D. students; and 2% high school students.
photo of four OTF participants

2014 On To the Future participants.

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