The number of Grants-in-Aid applications for this year’s cycle of awards once again was tremendous.
The Foundation is awarding $239,000 to 121 master’s and doctoral students studying various fields of geoscience – more than any year before in number of dollars granted.
The administration of the program wouldn’t be possible without a generous team of volunteers – the Grants-in-Aid Committee, and one fearless leader and committee chairman of the past three years, Andy Klein.
Over the past three years Klein has brought with him a high level of enthusiasm to his volunteer position, and it’s contagious to committee members and staff alike.
During Grants-in-Aid season, Klein treats his role like it’s a second full-time job. He swiftly responds to all questions about research application suitability and budget justification, rallies the committee and gets them excited about a new cycle of awards, graciously accepts constructive feedback from students and committee members alike, and always seeks ways to improve the program’s processes.
While he enjoys the program’s technical aspects, what enthuses him most is the program’s pay-it-forward component.
“I love giving away other people’s money for a worthy cause,” Klein said, “and thanks to the amazing generosity of the AAPG Foundation donors, I have been part of a group of people that has given away almost $3.5 million to 1,900 students over the past 20 years.”
If you ask him what his favorite part is, he’ll tell you – in true leadership style – that it’s looking for ways to be creative and improve the program to make it better and even more fun for all involved.
“One of my favorite parts about leading this committee is the off-season,” Klein said. “I can take a deep breath after a hectic scoring round and work with our program coordinator and vice chair to think of ways to make GIA better, easier and more fun. Every year we get feedback from students and committee members, and we try to incorporate as much of that as possible.”
Last year, to help students stay on track and ensure they were completing the application in a timely manner, Klein created a poster he thought geology students would find helpful. He turned the Grants-in-Aid program timeline to into a clever geological timescale. Students shared that it gave them a new perspective, and that they’d hung the poster in geology departments and student work areas to help them stay on track.
Klein has thoroughly enjoyed seeing the quality of research applications rise over the past three years.
“Though the students and their advisers get most of the credit for that, I hope we’re providing additional guidance to make the application process smoother,” he said. “It’s fascinating to see the breadth and depth of student research in the geosciences. Ranging from the old classics (field mapping in the Book Cliffs of Utah) to the cutting edge (3-D printing of rocks for petrophysical model testing), the work never gets old.”
Klein shared that another fun part of the job happens during ACE every year.
“Getting together at ACE is a wonderful opportunity to meet student awardees and Foundation donors,” he said, “and to watch them sit together – the bright future of our industry with the wisdom of experience – and get better acquainted.”
The AAPG Foundation’s Grants-in-Aid program has a long, respected history of promoting research within the geosciences. Since the program’s inception, grants have been awarded annually to graduate students who are currently enrolled in master’s or doctoral programs and whose thesis research has application to the search and development of petroleum and energy-mineral resources, and/or to related environmental geology issues.
The number of Grants-in-Aid student applications has continually risen over the years, and Klein and the many members of the Grants-in-Aid Committee have graciously stepped up to the challenge.
A complete list of 2015 award winners is included this month on page 47. We wish them all of the best with their projects, and thank them in advance for their contributions to advancing the geosciences.
If you are interested in learning more about setting up a named grant, please contact the Foundation at 1 (855) 302-2743 or by email.