News & Events

Please visit this page regularly for fund updates and to find out about new fund efforts.

All of us at the GSA Foundation sincerely hope that you and your families remain healthy and well during this unprecedented time. In awareness of the current and evolving situation, we also wish to sustain the hope of days ahead and the promise of developing careers and livelihoods, including those in the ever-vital geosciences. During this time, we would like to help our geoscience community continue to prepare geoscientists of the future, and we offer a positive way to invest in the future of our field.

We have a meaningful opportunity to double the impact of your support. A longtime GSA Foundation donor is issuing a matching gift challenge. Between now and 30 June, the donor will match 1:1 gifts made to GSA’s diversity initiative, On To the Future (OTF), for a total of up to $11,000.

The goal of OTF is to help students from traditionally underrepresented groups become part of the geoscientists of the future. Recipients of OTF scholarships are provided a year’s membership to GSA along with full meeting registration and travel support to attend their first GSA Annual Meeting.* They are also paired with a mentor who helps them navigate the meeting, make decisions about future education opportunities, and prepare for their future geoscience careers.

Click the “DONATE” button above and make a gift today to On To the Future and double your impact on the geoscientists of the future.

*Keeping in mind the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, gifts made to the OTF fund at this time will be applied to the OTF Program based on the status of GSA programming over the coming months. Your gift may help provide registration and mentorship for in-person or virtual GSA meetings, or expand the fund so that future student participants can be supported at a greater level.

OTF group at GSA 2020

 

The GSA Foundation has selected Dr. Christopher Grant Maples, as the next GSAF President. He replaces Dr. John W. (Jack) Hess, who has been the President of The Foundation since January 2015.

Dr. Maples earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Indiana University and his B.S. at West Georgia College. He has held senior leadership positions at both geoscience centers (Department Chair, Geological Sciences, Indiana University; executive vice president for research, Desert Research Institute) and technology-focused universities (president, Oregon Institute of Technology; interim chancellor, Missouri University of Science and Technology). Currently, he is the interim president at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). He also has served at the National Science Foundation and the Kansas Geological Survey. In addition, he has some 16 years of continual advanced leadership training at several prestigious institutions. He is a GSA Fellow and a Fellow of the Paleontological Society.

The Foundation Board feels that he has excellent skills as both a manager and fundraiser and will help us expand our ranks of friends and donors to the Society.

Dr. Maples will join GSAF in July of this year. The Foundation gives its most sincere thanks to Jack Hess for many years of thoughtful, bold, and very successful leadership and we welcome Chris Maples into our family.

Richard Burns, Celina A. Suarez, and Yasuko Smith at GSA 2019Left to right: Richard Burns, professor of geology, College of the Desert, California (Yasuko’s college adviser); Celina A. Suarez, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Geosciences, University of Arkansas (Yasuko’s OTF mentor); Yasuko Smith.

Yasuko Susana Smith (Yasuko Hirata), College of the Desert, Palm Desert, California; founder and current club president of the Geology Club on campus; and volunteer with Friends of the Desert—a non-profit organization that manages the Sand to Snow National Monument creating work/field experience opportunities for students to gain while volunteering—shares how her mentor helped make sense of the overwhelming number of options available to her at GSA 2019, helping Yasuko make the most of her freshman experience.

Pre–GSA 2019 Questions

What are your expectations for the annual meeting and OTF (On To the Future)?

I hope to meet others who share similar interests, and to expand my knowledge and experience in my field and to network with others in the geoscience education community.

What do you want to get out of the program?

I want to make myself a more well-rounded student and to further advance my interests in my academic and career goals. I would love to learn about undergraduate research opportunities, internships related to geoscience education and the National Parks department, and any related scholarships.

What are you most looking forward to?

I am really looking forward to discovering more about the role geoscience education plays in the parks department and what role I can play in the future. I am very excited to view all the exhibits and see what research topics are currently being explored.

What would you like your mentor to help with during the meeting?

To help me focus and define my goals. Being a non-traditional student, I’m anxious to earn my degree and begin applying it toward my professional goals. Being focused and having well-defined goals will help me to achieve these goals more efficiently.

 How do you see OTF helping you in the future?

The experiences and knowledge gained will help me in assisting others. I have a deep interest in geoscience and the parks department, rivaled only by my passion in educating people about these topics. I hope to be able to bring these two personal interests together and not stop with educating students, but ignite a passion in them toward appreciation and volunteerism.

Post–GSA 2019 Questions

Did OTF meet your expectations?

Attending the 2019 GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix was an incredibly rewarding experience. As a first-time attendee, I was initially overwhelmed by the vast amounts of information. Part of the OTF program includes a mentorship opportunity, which I found to be extremely beneficial. The knowledge shared was invaluable and will help me in my future endeavors. Honestly, I attended the meeting not knowing what to expect, but was in no way disappointed.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

The poster hall afforded me a glimpse of what will be expected from me in the future, and provided me with an abundance of examples and ideas as to how research posters are presented. The opportunity to meet all the research students and professionals currently working in the field provided me with insight, which I have yet to experience in my academic path. This was very impactful and has motivated me to make it a personal goal to work on a project that I can present at a future GSA conference.

What do you remember most from the annual meeting?

The On To the Future morning sessions were incredibly beneficial as they offered an opportunity for new attendees to be introduced to various key figures in the geo-community, and we were presented with a number of scholarship opportunities, internships, and other programs that would further our personal geo-goals.

What was your mentorship experience like? Would you consider returning to serve as a mentor?

Meeting my mentor was incredibly beneficial to me as she was able to provide invaluable insight into how the various meetings ran and which of the different events were best to choose to optimize my freshman experience. I would definitely consider becoming a mentor in the future to share what others have shared with me.

After your OTF experience, how do you see OTF influencing or impacting your future?

In the near future, I plan to continue my education at a four-year university and pursue a graduate degree in the field of geology or environmental education. Specifically, I’m looking to becoming a community college professor in geology and/or to working for the parks department, creating environmental conservancy programs for interpretive educational tours and lectures. I feel that every experience and every opportunity that cross my path are tools I can use to further my educational goals and to mentor others; to help others as others have helped me. As a homeschooling parent and a volunteer at my local conservancy, continuing my education not only benefits me, but my children and others like me interested in preserving our world. We cannot simply wait for global problems to resolve themselves. We have to be active participants in finding solutions in order to preserve our children’s future. It was a privilege to receive assistance to attend the GSA 2019 Annual Meeting, which assisted me in learning new ways to connect to the community and the environment.

Brian Swilley, graduate, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, currently enrolled in an M.S. in construction management at Arizona State University, shares how much value the On To the Future (OTF) program added to his GSA 2019 experience.

Pre–GSA 2019 Questions

What are your expectations for the annual meeting and OTF?

To gain a better understanding of the workings of the GSA and the way they keep providing their members with quality events such as this meeting.

What do you want to get out of the program?

To network with other members of the GSA community and see what opportunities are available to a recent graduate in both academic and professional fields.

What are you most looking forward to?

The chance to see the different perspectives of the presenters in their various presentations and engaging with the information they are offering.

How do you see OTF helping you in the future?

OTF will allow for me to receive guidance directly from those in the geological field about such things as employment, furthering my education, and learning about the many projects being conducted in this field.

Post–GSA 2019 Questions

Did OTF meet your expectations?

GSA and OTF more than exceeded my expectations! The networking at the OTF morning meeting was a great start to our day and the mentoring and résumé workshops were extremely valuable. The meet-and-greet made the whole trip worthwhile.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

I gained a lot from the industry people who were willing to give insight into the professional aspects of work after graduation and to offer tips on how to make the best impression on future employers.

What do you remember most from the annual meeting?

Getting accepted into a master’s program at ASU! I also enjoyed a talk on Wednesday pertaining to sand migration in Lake Superior. I have reached out to the presenter to get more information on that topic.

What was your mentorship experience like?  Would you consider returning to serve as a mentor?

I did not have a mentor for this event, but I spoke with many of the mentors who were there. I would be honored to be a mentor at a future event. I learned by watching and listening how helpful mentors could be, and I regret not getting a mentor and would strongly advise all who are first-time attendees to participate in that offered service.

After your OTF experience, how do you see OTF influencing or impacting your future?

The experience and knowledge I gained from my involvement with OTF and GSA will allow me to better educate others on the lack of diversity in the geological environment, and to help bring more awareness not only to the lack of diversity in our field, but throughout much of academia.

 

Mariana Yolotzin Alcántara-Torres in the poster hallMariana Yolotzin Alcántara-Torres, National University of Mexico, is finishing up her thesis for her undergraduate degree and will be starting graduate school as soon as it is complete. She attended GSA 2019 as an On To the Future (OTF) student and shares how her mentor introduced her to many people who shared her geologic interests, supplied much-appreciated career advice, and provided feedback on her poster—her first in another language.

Pre–GSA 2019 Questions

What are your expectations for the annual meeting and OTF?

I have never participated in a geology meeting. I chose the GSA Annual Meeting as my first because it is one of the most important geological meetings around the world.

What do you want to get out of the program?

My expectations are to learn and receive recommendations, advice, and knowledge from expert geoscientists in order to support me as I start my career in geology. I would like feedback on my research project, so that I can improve my future research methods.

What are you most looking forward to?

I hope to share good experiences with established geologists to learn from them. I believe that I will enjoy and value my time with the OTF team as I share the values of not discriminating according to nationality, race, or beliefs. I think that the OTF program is an excellent opportunity for me to connect and network with the international geoscience community for the first time.

What would you like your mentor to help with during the meeting?

I would like my mentor to share her experience and knowledge working as a geologist. I’d also like to learn from her how I can be most effective in meeting and networking with others working in geology. Furthermore, I would like my mentor to guide me in deciding the best sessions, workshops, and poster presentations to attend according to my particular interests within the field of geology.

How do you see OTF helping you in the future?

I think that the OTF program will give me the knowledge and guidance needed to launch my career in geological science research.

Post–Annual Meeting Questions

Did OTF meet your expectations?

Yes it did; I think that OTF was more than I expected. It was a new and pleasant experience.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

It was the early career workshop about how to contact people we want to work with and how to apply to grad school. In my opinion, this workshop was very important to start my early career as a geologist. For me it was very important to meet other students with the same interests and situations, because we received feedback that will help in my future applications. And I think that it was a good idea to have the mentors at this workshop, because they had more experience in their geology careers, and they gave me many tips and recommendations about making the best applications.

What do you remember most from the annual meeting?

One experience I had helped me more than I thought. I was looking for a talk about the same research that I am doing in my undergraduate and I found a study that is really similar to my project. After the talk, I wanted to speak with the professor, but he was busy talking to other people. I decided not to interrupt and I left the hall. Then I went to the exhibitors’ hall and I stopped at the Alabama University booth, because I remembered that he was from there. When I spoke with the students at the booth, I told them that I would like to meet him; suddenly, the professor walked up behind us, and one of the students told me, “you can meet him now.” I was so nervous to talk with him, but he remembered me. He said sorry because it was very busy after the talk, but then we started a good conversation about my research and his research project. He gave me his email and recommended me to write him as soon as possible and keep in touch for tips in my research and future grad school interests.

What was your mentorship experience like?  Would you consider returning to serve as a mentor?

My mentorship experience was fruitful because my mentor helped me to meet people I could network with. She gave me a lot of advice about my poster presentation because I was very nervous (it was my first time presenting my research work in another language). And she introduced me to some of her contacts.

I would like to be a mentor eventually, but I would like to prepare more by attending at least a couple more meetings.

After your OTF experience, how do you see OTF influencing or impacting your future?

At the meeting and as an OTF student I made many connections with students and professors who are working in the research I am interested in. I learned about many grad programs where I can apply in the future, and even different jobs that I am interested in. In my poster presentation, I received good feedback. I also received instruction on how to make a good résumé and application letter.

GSA President Don Siegel with award recipient Trista McKenzieTrista McKenzie, graduate research assistant at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, focusing on groundwater contamination through the use and development of geochemical tracer techniques, as well as investigating sea-level rise impacts to coastal wastewater infrastructure.

Trista stayed busy at GSA 2019 presenting research and attending On To the Future (OTF) meetings, technical sessions, and evening receptions. They share how the OTF meetings helped them learn more about the many opportunities available to them at GSA and how their mentor provided helpful advice for their future career path.

Trista was also recognized at the GSA Foundation Penrose Circle, Campaign for GSA’s Future, and Student Awards Dinner, where they received the Outstanding Student Research Award.

Pre–GSA 2019 Questions

What are your expectations for the annual meeting and OTF?

For the annual meeting, I am hoping my presentation goes well and that I get the opportunity to chat with a lot of people about their research. I will be looking for a post-doc in a few years and it’s never too early to start building those connections. For OTF, I am excited about meeting a diverse group of people and learning more about their experiences as geologists.

What are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to learning about new research and expanding my network.

What would you like your mentor to help with during the meeting?

Discussing navigating potential challenges during one’s career as an underrepresented minority.

Post–GSA 2019 Questions

Did OTF meet your expectations?

OTF definitely met and exceeded my expectations. I was very impressed by the program’s goals of increasing diversity at all levels of GSA, including leadership positions. The GSA Annual Meeting was not the first conference I’ve attended, but the tools, workshops, mentoring, and opportunities discussed through the OTF program were a huge benefit and I enjoyed learning more about the many opportunities within GSA.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

First and foremost, the OTF program provided the opportunity for me to attend the GSA Annual Meeting. I think the most impactful aspect of my OTF experience was having the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people as well as meeting with my mentor.

What do you remember most from the annual meeting?

My schedule was pretty packed, from the morning OTF meetings, to attending the technical sessions, and then going to evening receptions or dinners—it’s amazing that I slept at all in Phoenix! I also felt the GSA Annual Meeting provided excellent opportunities for networking, both within and outside of my specific field of interest.

What was your mentorship experience like? Would you consider returning to serve as a mentor?

I had a great experience with my mentor. My mentor was able to offer a unique perspective on diversity in geosciences as well as provide advice for my future career path. I would definitely consider returning to serve as a mentor in the future.

After your OTF experience, how do you see OTF influencing or impacting your future?

I thought it was so cool to have the opportunity to be a part of such a diverse group of people through the OTF program. I would love to be able to participate with the OTF program in the future as a mentor, as well as seek out a student leadership position within GSA.

 

Jeeban Panthi working in the field

Jeeban Panthi, graduate research assistant at University of Rhode Island, Department of Geosciences, takes a break from hydrogeophysical modeling to share how he received important guidance on his career path during his On To the Future (OTF) experience.

Pre–GSA 2019 Questions

What are your expectations for the annual meeting and OTF?

My expectation for the annual meeting is to present my research among the geoscience community, learn about others’ work, and establish a good relationship with the hydrogeology community members. I’m expecting to make connections with other OTF students so that we can share our research activities in the future and potentially collaborate on research projects.

What do you want to get out of the program?

I would like to get constructive comments on my research project and connect with experts in my field (at least one expert each day, five experts from the conference).

What are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to the early career events. The most interesting to me will be the job-related workshop organized to support OTF students.

What would you like your mentor to help with during the meeting?

I would like my mentor to make comments on my poster (my presenting style, poster design, and technical presentation), review my research statement, and my CV. I would also like to hear their personal story about job hunting and their ideas for me about how to find a postdoc position after I graduate from my university.

Post–GSA 2019 Questions

Did OTF meet your expectations?

Yes. OTF provided me with knowledge, networking, and fun.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

The most impactful aspect of my OTF experience was a career event organized for young researchers and OTF students. I enjoyed learning the basic skills of writing a cover letter and résumé for internships and how to fill out job and fellowship applications.

What do you remember most from the annual meeting?

The thing I remember most from the annual meeting is my networking opportunities. I met about ten professors and experts from the hydrogeology sector and I’m still in close contact with them. They could be my potential employers in the future.

What was your mentorship experience like?  Would you consider returning to serve as a mentor?

I got constructive comments on my poster and career pathways from my mentors. My mentors are also offering their help throughout my career pathway, like job hunting, applying, and interviewing. Yes, I’ll be happy to transfer my mentorship experience as a mentor in the future.

After your OTF experience, how do you see OTF influencing or impacting your future?

It is motivating to me. OTF not only supports students financially but also helps for career development and networking. I will never forget my experience as an OTF student.

Jazzy Graham-DavisThere are many recipients of GSA’s Community of Support. You recently read several stories from recipients of GSA’s Field Camp scholarship. To kick off the New Year, we will be sharing stories from participants of GSA’s On To the Future (OTF) program. We had the opportunity to interview five OTF participants about their expectations before GSA 2019 and then how their experience compared with those expectations. We hope these stories take you back to your experiences as a first-time GSA Annual Meeting attendee.

**********************

Jazzy Graham-Davis (they/them/theirs), graduate, Portland State University, recently relocated to Sacramento and is looking to start their career in industry. They are currently working as a “mad scientist” teaching young children the foundations of science. Jazzy shares how OTF exceeded their expectations—providing mentorship and networking opportunities, which are essential for students and early career professionals.

Pre–GSA 2019 Questions

What are your expectations for the annual meeting and OTF?

I am going in to the experience with an open mind and not expecting too much, except to be somewhat overwhelmed by all the different presentations, people, and events that will be going on. This also excites me and will push me beyond my comfort zone.

What do you want to get out of the program?

I hope to meet other people who don’t represent the traditional geologist and to learn about their backgrounds. I would love if we were to navigate the meeting as a group rather than just by myself. I also hope to meet people that I will be able to work with in the future to promote diversity within geology, as this is one of my long term professional goals.

What are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to the atmosphere of being at the meeting. It amazes me to be around so many smart and talented people who all appreciate geology and want to further the field. Even better would be to appreciate this all with a diverse group of people with goals similar to my own as I mentioned above.

How do you see OTF helping you in the future?

I hope that OTF connects me to people now and in the future that I can look to for advice should I encounter any issues, and who will support me as a geologist regardless of who I am. It is so important to find people who support you for being you, and I hope that I can provide that support to others as well, and find a community of people similar to me.  I would love to support OTF in the future as a professional to help up-and-coming geologists find their place within the field.

Post–GSA 2019 Questions

Did OTF meet your expectations?

OTF exceeded my expectations! I wasn’t sure how useful all of the speakers and events would be for me since I am a recent graduate. Even if some of the information I got isn’t something I need right now, it will all be very helpful when I pursue graduate school.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

It was amazing to hear from lifelong members of GSA that people like us OTF scholars are the future of GSA. It made a huge impact on my goals for future GSA meetings and the ways that I would like to be involved. I definitely will be active in GSA throughout my career and would like to do what I can to further improve diversity at these events.

What do you remember most from the annual meeting?

I remember how inclusive and receptive everyone in OTF was. Just seeing the people around me and the different backgrounds that we all came from was very comforting. I instantly felt safe sharing my own struggles within geology and GSA meetings and discussing how we as a community can improve.

What was your mentorship experience like?  Would you consider returning to serve as a mentor?

I was able to get feedback about my résumé, cover letter, and career path from many mentors. I can’t tell you how much the mentoring helped my writing and confidence when applying to jobs. It is important to me to make sure that I am on track to have the type of career that I want, and it was so helpful to talk to people who have taken many different paths to where they are today. I would love to come back and serve as a mentor in the future. I think mentoring is key for students and early career professionals to network and make lasting connections.

After your OTF experience, how do you see OTF influencing or impacting your future?

I will use my connections to OTF and the people I met through the program to make nontraditional geologists feel welcome at GSA meetings. One idea that I already have talked to some about is a transgender/nonbinary genders social. I would also like to see more work done on making geology accessible to people with disabilities and providing a community for those people.

 

Dominic Aluia in the fieldDominic Aluia’s field camp experience changed his life, reaffirming his interest in environmental consulting and leading to his first job in the industry.

Where did you attend field camp?

I attended field camp in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with the Western Michigan University Hydrogeological Field Camp.

What did receiving the field camp scholarship mean to you?

I am honored to be one of the recipients of the GSA Field Camp Award. Receiving this prestigious award meant a great deal to me. When I was in a lecture and completing field demonstrations, I was able to focus on mastering the content instead of worrying about how to finance the experience.

What did that experience teach you about the geosciences, yourself, and your future career?

My biggest takeaway from this program is that there is a real need for talented geoscientists who are ready to join teams that promote environmental stewardship and who have a solid understanding of Earth’s interacting systems.

What opportunities did attending field camp provide that you wouldn’t have had otherwise?

This camp affirmed my interest in environmental consulting, and I am happy to say I secured my first job in the industry by highlighting my groundwater field camp experiences. This camp provided me with hands-on experience using equipment and software most commonly used in the environmental consulting field that I was not exposed to in my undergraduate program.

In your opinion, how important is field camp for geoscience students?

Field camp is a must for geology students. Not only for the knowledge and skills learned but also for the tremendous networking opportunities with faculty and industry professionals, in addition to other future geologists and environmental scientists. It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many other students that shared my passion for groundwater sustainability and environmental health.

Why should individuals support field camp opportunities for students?

Benefactors of this scholarship should know that their donations are helping to connect some of the brightest and most promising geology students to fantastic resources that will ensure that the next generation of geologists and geoscientists is equipped with the necessary skills and open-mindedness to lead our discipline to new heights.

 

Keith at field camp in AlaskaCody Keith’s field camp experience in Alaska was a valuable opportunity for his geoscience career. He shares how it served as the capstone for his geology studies—solidifying the geoscience he was learning in the classroom and increasing his confidence in understanding geologic principles.

Where did you attend field camp?

I attended field camp in Alaska. We spent one week mapping near Healy, two weeks mapping in Denali National Park, and three weeks mapping in the Talkeetna Mountains.

What did receiving the field camp scholarship mean to you?

Receiving the field camp scholarship was very valuable in helping me “stay afloat” with college expenses. Our 8-week field course was quite expensive in and of itself, and since the course was a full-time commitment for the summer, it was difficult to obtain employment over the summer to help pay for other college semesters. The field camp scholarship helped to bridge this gap, allowing me to enjoy the field camp experience with less economic stress. It was also very meaningful to be recognized by GSA for this award.

What did that experience teach you about the geosciences, yourself, and your future career?

Field camp served as a capstone experience for my geology studies. It is one thing to learn about a geologic phenomenon in the classroom, but actually having to identify it in the field is an exercise that solidifies concepts. I feel much more confident in my understanding of geologic principles, such as identifying which structures may be related to similar stress regimes or how the characteristics of sedimentary packages can be used to interpret depositional environments. Not only do I leave field camp more confident in my technical abilities, but I also leave with a feeling of greater independence. There is something about spending a total of six weeks in a tent in the Alaskan wilderness that puts into perspective “essentials” versus “comfort items.”

What opportunities did attending field camp provide that you wouldn’t have had otherwise?

Field camp gave me the opportunity to enjoy the Alaskan wilderness for longer amounts of time. In Healy, we visited the Usibelli Coal Mine as part of our mapping effort, gaining a pretty in-depth tour of the mining operation. We got to spend two whole weeks in Denali National Park, one of the most pristine and dramatic landscapes in the world, and we were even able to see some of the dinosaur tracks in the Cantwell Formation. We were flown into the Talkeetna Mountain study area on small aircraft and lived for three weeks out in the Alaskan bush with occasional deliveries from the aircraft.

In your opinion, how important is field camp for geoscience students?

Field camp is absolutely essential to a well-rounded geoscience education. It serves as a capstone experience, giving students the opportunity to apply years of classroom study to real-world geologic scenarios. Field camp especially helps develop skills in creating and interpreting geologic maps, fundamental exercises for many branches of the geosciences.

Why should individuals support field camp opportunities for students?

Field camp is an important component in achieving an education in geology. The experience reinforces classroom learning, develops interpretation skills, and cultivates a greater sense of independence. The economic commitment for the student is daunting but worthwhile, and support from outside individuals and organizations can help make this valuable opportunity possible for students.

Template Information

The information below explains the type, use and design process for this template

Template Name:

Description:

Template Design:
This is an interpolated template. The design of the site will be applied to this template. There may be design revisions available, but this template will now follow an approval process.