YP initiatives reached new heights this past August as young professionals met in Snowbird, Utah, for the fifth annual Young Professionals Leadership Summit (YPLS).
The two-day event, which immediately preceded AAPG Leadership Days, brought together 20 YPs from various Sections and Regions and a variety of companies to discuss how to improve student retention after graduation and how to keep students and YPs engaged in AAPG.
The attendees, who were a mix of Region and Section YP leads and local YP chapter members, were tasked by YPLS facilitators Jonathan Allen (Chevron) and myself, and the committee co-chairs with identifying not only what AAPG currently offers to YPs, but also what YPs really want from the Association.
In addition to networking, conventions, educational resources and career services – which were identified at past summits as the core elements of AAPG’s value proposition – the attendees listed as the principal benefits AAPG delivers to YPs as being:
- Leadership skills.
- A diverse knowledge base.
- Company influence.
In terms of addressing needs and the services that would make AAPG more attractive to YPs – and which would provide steps toward development of a “YP identity” within AAPG – the attendees named:
- Professional development courses.
- Mentorship and career counseling.
- The formation of a YP Special Interest Group (SIG).
- YP involvement in education courses.
- An expansion of educational opportunities internationally (such as through the Visiting Geoscientist Program).
- YP discounts on Continuing Education courses.
The main outcome of these discussions was the fact that we, as YPs, need to articulate the value proposition of being a member of AAPG and emphasize that it has changed.
To improve retention, the Association needs to change too.
The YPs also focused on developing strategies to address issues specific to the Sections and Regions in a freeform discussion with members of Section and Region leadership.
This exchange segued into the final session of YPLS – a joint meeting convened by the Student Focus Chairman’s Committee. In this session, the YPs met with the Student Chapter liaisons attending the Global Student Chapter Leadership Summit (SCLS) and members of AAPG leadership to evaluate and brainstorm ways to improve the Visiting Geoscientist Program, the Grants-in-Aid Program and the Imperial Barrel Award Program.
However, the YPs’ stay in Snowbird wasn’t all work and no play – the YPs participated in several events, including a sundowner social where they made s’mores; a stargazing party where they admired the supermoon; and the many activities the Snowbird Resort has to offer. The highlight of the weekend was a hike to Cecret Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon’s Albion Basin, led by Ron A. Harris of Brigham Young University.
The YPC would like to formally thank the attendees, AAPG leadership and AAPG staff for making the 2014 YPLS possible.
Since August, the YPC already has been working hard to begin implementing initiatives based on YPLS input:
- We’ve updated our website – and hope to add more features soon.
- We’re working with the Education Committee on a YP teaching assistant concept and a teaching techniques short course for new instructors.
- We’re currently seeking approval to distribute another YP survey to gauge how well our programs are reaching the YP demographic.
- We’re collaborating with the Visiting Geoscientist Program Committee to encourage YPs to participate.
- We’re assisting AAPG’s GEO-DC office in getting YPs involved with the Geoscience and Energy Policy Office and its activities.
- We’re meeting with the DPA to offer a YP perspective on professionalism.
- We’re promoting the idea of a YP SIG – and discussing the possibility with the House of Delegates.
The success of this year’s YPLS has generated considerable enthusiasm for YP programs, and the YPC hopes to use that momentum to make next year the best we’ve ever had.
See you in 2015!