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After his OTF participation, César A. Bucheli Olaya wants to inspire future generations of earth scientists as he was inspired by his mentor.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

For me, the most impactful aspect of my OTF experience was becoming aware that your culture, background, and identity have the power to define your approach to Earth sciences and the way you use it to change the world. The disciplines, techniques, and solutions that Earth scientists provide to modern society are, in a way, an expression of their individual identity and their relationship with the community and environment surrounding them.

What do you remember most from GSA 2022?

I remember the excitement I had to learn what is going on in the world of igneous petrology and volcanology, and share results of my own research with people who share my passion for all things volcanic. I also remember the feeling that attending GSA Connects was a pivotal moment in my career: sharing my work and receiving feedback on it, attending different interesting presentations, and making new connections were experiences that inspired me to keep pursuing an academic career and develop knowledge that becomes instrumental for the well-being of societies coexisting with volcanoes.

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

My mentor was Dr. Liannie Velázquez Santana. We had interesting conversations about her experience as a Latina in academia and the path that led her to obtain a Ph.D. and, later, a postdoctoral fellowship. I also attended the presentation where she shared results of her research about Bolivian volcanoes. I would like to return to OTF and serve as a mentor: Liannie’s outstanding and passionate work inspired me and gave me confidence in my own abilities. My mentorship experience is something I will remember dearly, and I hope that I get an opportunity to inspire future generations of Earth scientists just as she inspired me.

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

Participating in OTF was an eye-opening experience. It taught me that diversity is a driving force in the Earth sciences, and that integrating different experiences, opinions, and techniques into our daily work strengthens the quality and extent of our impact in science and society.

Why should donors support programs like OTF?

Programs like OTF help students and early-career scientists break financial barriers that keep them from fully immersing into the Earth science academic community. The generous support from donors allows people like me to stop worrying about potential financial hardships and focus instead on sharing our science, learning new advances in our research area from people that share our interests, and making significant connections that can mark our current and future lives, both personally and professionally.


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