This year AAPG’s International Conference and Exhibition returned to Latin America, but set for the first time in Colombia – and a perfect phrase to describe the Cartagena meeting is that it featured a “massive and passionate participation of young people.”
In fact, an unprecedented number of activities for Young Professionals and students proved to be a huge success, delivering an unforgettable conference experience to both groups.
Here is the summary of the main activities carried out during ICE:
The ICE Meet-N-Greet took place in room packed by 200-plus participants (the largest group ever) and more than 40 professionals (mentors), including big names in the oil and gas industry.
The event started with welcomes from AAPG President Lee Krystinik, ICE general chair Victor Vega, AAPG Latin America Region president Víctor Ramirez, AAPG member services manager Vickie Beighle and yours truly.
YPs, students and mentors actively interacted during the hour-long event, sharing experiences on topics such as professional growth and employment opportunities while enjoying refreshments and t-shirts provided by event sponsor Shell.
Attendees also learned about the ICE Networking Challenge – and most participated enthusiastically throughout the week.
Art of Interviewing and Career Path.
This activity was featured for the first time at an ICE, facilitated by Regional IBA lead Carlos Santacruz, Latin America Region past president Miguel Ramírez, student liaison Ignacio Iregui and, once again, yours truly.
The event in some ways resembled the Meet-N-Greet, and even involved most of the same mentors, including past AAPG presidents Paul Weimer and Scott Tinker and Javier Gutierrez, among others.
However, the session also targeted geoscience students and featured a “speed dating” format in which mentors spent 10 minutes per table, rotating frequently to be able to speak with as many people as possible.
The original event was limited to 100 people, but more than 200 individuals attended, and all were allowed to participate.
Throughout the session, students and YPs (of which there were at least one per table) asked mentors questions about their career plans and how recruiters hire people in the real world.
The Student Chapter Leadership Summit (SCLS).
This was a last-minute addition to the ICE program, but like the other YP/student-oriented activities it was packed with attendees. More than 60 students representing 15 student chapters from throughout Latin America attended the event led by AAPG secretary, and former Student Chapter Committee chair Richard Ball.
The organizers used both games and lectures to address leadership dynamics, career planning and guidance for creating and maintaining AAPG Student Chapters – and SCLS participants appreciated having a leadership activity designed specifically for them.
Following a popular ICE tradition, the ICE student reception was held the last night of the conference. AAPG and Latin America Region leadership attended the event, and reception organizers presented awards to the winners of the ICE Networking Challenge, as well as for the best poster and oral presentation in the student category.
Food and beverages were provided by sponsor ExxonMobil.
Undoubtedly, the impact of this ICE on a generation of young geoscientists will be far-reaching. The excitement surrounding the Cartagena meeting and increased attention from the Region on the value of belonging to AAPG have resulted in renewed interest in AAPG activities from YPs and students.
Post-ICE, taking advantage of this momentum is the main strategy for keeping YP and student initiatives on track. Increased activity from both YPs and students led to the decision to split the YP/Student liaison role into two separate positions, and to create more local YP chapters (see diagram).
With continued commitment to YP and student programs, the future of the AAPG in Latin America looks very promising.