News & Events

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

Camala GarzioneCamala Garzione, Professor and Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology, wants students to know that she is pulling for them and feels an urgent need to help as they struggle with the disruption to their livelihood and education.

How did you first get involved in GSA?

My first experience with GSA was attending a GSA Section Meeting as a master’s student. I presented my first research talk. The community was warm and welcoming and provided great feedback on my master’s research.

What inspired you to give to GSA CARES?

I’ve seen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education and financial stability of our students at Rochester Institute of Technology. Every bit of support has helped to keep students connected and progressing in their educational goals. We discussed this opportunity to support students in the geosciences at the spring GSA Council meeting. Many Council members and I felt an urgency to help get this support out to students who were struggling with the disruption in their livelihood and education. We stepped up to help define a process for applying, make donations, and support the processing of applications.

What would you like to say to students affected by COVID-19?

We are all pulling for you. I know it is a very difficult time, but things will get better. Please stay connected with the GSA community, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice from our community members. Like all crises, this will pass, and you will be stronger and more resilient from having gone through this.

What would you like to say to others who want to help during this time?

Think back to your time as a student, whether it was an easy time or full of challenges. Imagine what it would be like to go through that time under the current circumstances. Donating to student support efforts will help ensure that the next generation can reach their educational goals and succeed. Their future is GSA’s future as an organization.

 

photo of Jeff RubinJeff Rubin, GSA Councilor, semi-retired emergency manager, and consultant, shares how it was a relief to be able to provide tangible assistance to students he knows are struggling and offers a reminder to dig in for the long haul.

How did you first get involved in GSA?

I joined after starting grad school (Early Holocene) to get more involved in the profession. I retained my membership even long after I stopped working as a practicing geologist. I was able to apply my geology background to public safety, valued GSA as a way to maintain a link, and I was always able to find a place in the organization. I started to get involved in GSA service in field safety and science policy, which fit segments of my career path. It stuck.

What inspired you to give to GSA CARES?

I’ve been working on our state’s COVID-19 response for a few months; although Oregon had somewhat of a glancing blow at first, the overall effects across the U.S. and the world have been brutal, and it’s not going away soon. Being able to jump into something offering tangible assistance was almost a relief. I was fortunate to have people take an interest in me during and after grad school, and I’ve tried to do the same with students over the years, so it wasn’t even a question for me.

What would you like to say to students affected by COVID-19?

I’ll skip the “hang in there,” #__Strong, and other platitudes. It’s hard enough being a student or recent graduate without a pandemic, relying on an internship, summer job, or TA position just to make ends meet, much less carry on research. I don’t think anyone could read the applications for assistance and not be affected—even for those who don’t get sick this is clearly an existential event. GSA CARES is a lifeline, not a lifeboat, but it’s a tangible demonstration of how important this is to the Foundation, GSA, and its members. We went way beyond what we projected in donations and thus what we were able to provide to student members—that matters.

What would you like to say to others who want to help during this time?

Do what you can: time, money, and just not adding to the problem. Limit your gatherings, wear a mask when you’re out among others, and dig in for the long haul. Look out for your students, support staff, and everyone else.

 

close-up of Joan Fryxell boating

Dr. Joan E. Fryxell, Professor of Geology, California State University, San Bernardino, shares how her students are tough and dedicated, but with the added burden of COVID-19 she knew it was her duty to help them.

How did you first get involved in GSA?

I joined GSA in 1977, when I graduated from college, to keep in contact with the geological community while I pursued a master’s degree in another field, and because it seemed like the professional thing to do. I got involved with GSA through the Cordilleran Section, as a local organizing committee member, and from there GSA started asking me to participate in other activities.

What inspired you to give to GSA CARES?

I teach at a regional comprehensive university whose students are overwhelmingly first-generation students working their way through college. I see their struggles to accomplish their goal of a college degree when the economy is “good” or at least the way it has been, juggling school, work, and home commitments, and I applaud the lengths they go to. Adding quarantine is a serious burden, and anything I can do to help is my duty to them.

What would you like to say to students affected by COVID-19?

Wash your hands. Wear a mask. We all need to get used to this mode until an effective vaccine is widely available, so hang in there. I am looking forward to the day when I can hug my students at a commencement ceremony!

What would you like to say to others who want to help during this time?

I am fortunate to be able to work at home, so my income is stable. If you are in a similar position, please consider contributing to a program that supports students. Our students are tough and dedicated, but they need our support.

photo of Steve WellsWhy I Give: GSA CARES

During an unprecedented time, the GSA Foundation Board of Trustees and the GSA Council undertook an unprecedented measure: the conception of GSA CARES, the GSA COVID-19 Assistance and Relief Effort for Students.

In response, GSA members and donors rallied together in the true sense of community that is GSA and showed our students how much we care about them and their wellbeing, their futures, and their vital role as our next generation of geoscientists.

Over the next few weeks, we will share testimonials from some of the many donors who were inspired to give of their resources to help students negatively impacted by COVID-19.

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Steve Wells, GSA Foundation Trustee and President of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, shares how his lifelong work with students inspired him to suggest the idea for GSA CARES.

What inspired you to suggest the idea for GSA CARES?

The idea for GSA CARES came from a fundraising effort developed at our university, New Mexico Tech, by our Office for Advancement and Alumni Relations. It was established as our university was witnessing an increase in giving to help people during this crisis.

As an academician for 40 years and a GSA member for more than 40 years, I care for students in our profession, I want to see them succeed, and I want our Society to support students as much as possible. Knowing that the students at our university were negatively impacted by the pandemic, it was obvious that the students in our Society were feeling the same pressures and challenges. As a Society and a profession, these students are our future.

What would you like to say to students affected by COVID-19?

As fellow geologists, time is so important in all we consider. Given this unique point in time that appears to have so much uncertainty, I think I would offer a view of time through the words of Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and philosopher:

Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.

This pandemic will be swept away, primarily through the implementation of science, medicine, and working collaboratively as a global community. This pandemic challenge will pass, and all of you will be stronger and more resilient because you have endured the challenge.

What would you like to say to others who want to help during this time?

The opportunity that each of us has during this crisis is not only to show we care for the future but we are willing to step up and invest in the future. Our future is our students.

 

 

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.

 

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