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 GSA Connects.

OTF group in 2018.

OTF participants at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.



  • To enable a cohort of diverse students to attend their first GSA Connects.
  • 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 75 students annually and has supported 647 students attending their first GSA Connects.
  • The average award is $516 with awards ranging from $50–$1,000.
  • 74% of students are First Generation students (the first in their families to attend college); 47% are from groups underrepresented in the geosciences (American Indian/Alaskan Native, African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander); 9% veterans; and 37% are non-traditional students.
  • 60% of students are undergraduates; 32% graduates; and 8% other.
OTF one-on-one mentoring session.

Mentors provide crucial support and advice to OTF participants during the GSA Annual Meeting.