OTF provided a space for students like Angela Fiorito to meet other students who are critically underrepresented in geoscience and connect with each other. Meeting these students helped Angela know that even though they are in the minority, they can still make an impact in geoscience.
What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?
The most impactful aspect of my OTF experience was being able to attend GSA for the first time in-person. It was incredible to see such a broad scope of poster topics when I walked through the poster exhibit. The other oral presentations were informative, and I liked watching talks for topics that I have never studied. The OTF activities were great because I was able to meet so many fellow students and learn about their research.
What do you remember most from GSA 2021?
What I remember most from GSA 2021 is when I presented an oral report on my research, “Preliminary Conodont Biodiversity Data from the Givetian–Frasnian ‘Frasnes Event’ Interval in the northern Antelope Range Nevada, USA.” That was the first time I have ever given an oral report at such a large venue, and I was quite nervous. Knowing that I had some fellow OTF recipients in the audience made it easier to present, and I enjoyed watching their presentations as well.
What was your mentorship experience like?
The mentor program was my favorite part of OTF. My mentor was quite helpful and personable. I told him about how I want to transition from geology to GIS and he explained the different types of jobs available in GIS. He also gave networking tips and introduced me to some of his colleagues who were at the meeting.
How do you see OTF influencing or impacting your future?
The OTF program was a great opportunity for me to attend GSA and present my research. I met a bunch of fellow graduate students from different schools and my mentor was very helpful in giving me job-hunting tips. After completing the OTF program, I feel more confident in my ability to start my career after graduation.
What would you like to say to donors thinking about supporting programs like OTF?
OTF is an incredible opportunity for minority students who are critically underrepresented in geoscience to connect with each other, and know that even though we are in the minority, we can still make an impact in our field. If not for OTF, many students would not have had the funding to present at GSA. If possible, please consider donating to OTF and similar programs.