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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.


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