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Shad Ashton at Angels Landing, ZionAt GSA Connects 2022, Shad Ashton had the opportunity to hear from professionals in the geosciences and bolter his conviction that a successful career was within his reach.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

I really appreciated the Saturday workshop where we were able to hear our mentors’ stories. When I think about people that have been in their careers for a while, I mostly think about the success that got them there. Many people don’t like to talk about their struggles or how they have made it this far in their careers. I appreciated the humility it took for our presenters to be willing to share with us their struggles and to remind us that everyone struggles with one thing or another. Even though the experiences were diverse, I was able to link an experience that happened to me among the ones that they were willing to share.

What do you remember most from GSA 2022?

I remember the friendliness of people that attended. They were willing to connect with me and help me feel more comfortable. Even though it was busy with people trying to get to and from lectures they would stop to help point someone in the direction of a classroom that they were looking for. I loved how much authors of projects embraced their work and shared as much as they could about the project that they were currently working on and/or just finished. It helped me feel more comfortable and willing to listen when those authors were enthusiastic. I also remember some of those authors pointing out certain booths for organizations or schools that could potentially help me further deepen my knowledge and skills on the subject.

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

At the time, my current supervisor was willing to reach out to a past colleague and have me email her before the conference to set up a time to meet at the conference. I was able to meet my mentor and she was willing to give me input on questions I asked for my career of what I could pursue and what lectures may interest me at GSA. She was also able to introduce me to a colleague or two. Which helped me build me network. I would consider returning to serve as a mentor at GSA and help others to build their skills, network, and confidence in their professions.


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