Fostering Community with TIGs and SIGs

I’m an introvert.

Now, that may not be your first impression when watching me at one of our conventions or other events. There you’ll likely find me among large groups of our members, smiling and engaging individuals in conversation, enjoying the energy of the crowd of people who are excited to be there. In fact, getting to know petroleum geoscientists from across the globe is one of the best aspects of serving in my role at AAPG.

But when I leave the reception I typically head back to my room for some quiet and solitude. As an introvert that is how I recharge.

My extrovert friends don’t get this at all. Their energy levels go up as they circulate in the crowd. When the party is over they want to head to the bar to maintain those energy levels. Come on, just one more round …

Whether you are an introvert or extrovert doesn’t really matter – it’s simply how you’re wired.

However, I’ve noticed that one aspect of my introversion leads to a tendency not to engage with people around me or to join groups, unless it’s something I’m really interested in. And yet at many turns we hear about the importance of community to us as humans and professionals.


In his presidential address at the 2011 Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston, then-president David Rensink talked about the fact that AAPG is a tribe, a tribe of geoscientists whose common focus is oil and natural gas.

Similarly last year, Randi Martinsen during her presidency emphasized the importance of community to each of us in this profession. It’s one of the chief reasons AAPG exists.

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I’m an introvert.

Now, that may not be your first impression when watching me at one of our conventions or other events. There you’ll likely find me among large groups of our members, smiling and engaging individuals in conversation, enjoying the energy of the crowd of people who are excited to be there. In fact, getting to know petroleum geoscientists from across the globe is one of the best aspects of serving in my role at AAPG.

But when I leave the reception I typically head back to my room for some quiet and solitude. As an introvert that is how I recharge.

My extrovert friends don’t get this at all. Their energy levels go up as they circulate in the crowd. When the party is over they want to head to the bar to maintain those energy levels. Come on, just one more round …

Whether you are an introvert or extrovert doesn’t really matter – it’s simply how you’re wired.

However, I’ve noticed that one aspect of my introversion leads to a tendency not to engage with people around me or to join groups, unless it’s something I’m really interested in. And yet at many turns we hear about the importance of community to us as humans and professionals.


In his presidential address at the 2011 Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston, then-president David Rensink talked about the fact that AAPG is a tribe, a tribe of geoscientists whose common focus is oil and natural gas.

Similarly last year, Randi Martinsen during her presidency emphasized the importance of community to each of us in this profession. It’s one of the chief reasons AAPG exists.

Whether referring to your family, tribe, association or nation, as humans we have organized ourselves in these various units to live and work. There are many benefits of being in community, which is why we develop them:

In community you learn the value of shared experience and expertise.

That’s certainly how AAPG seeks to advance the petroleum geosciences, by enabling you to learn from and teach other members of the community about what you know about finding oil and gas.

In community you learn the value of being less self-centered.

When you volunteer to do something that benefits the entire community you may receive a tangible or intangible benefit. But even if you do not, your efforts contribute to strengthening the community and that benefits everyone.

In community you learn that you are not alone.

That is particularly important in times like these, when many members of our community are finding themselves out of work due to the industry downturn. And as devastating as being caught in a lay-off can be, when you are connected to community you will have support to get back on track.


AAPG wants to foster community for its members. And at the 2015 Annual Convention and Exhibition in Denver, the AAPG House of Delegates voted to create a new classification of community: Technical Interest Groups (TIGs)afratcsduuwc and Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

These groups have a common purpose – to grow and deepen community with AAPG.

The TIGs will do this by focusing technical topics of interest and creating opportunities for AAPG members to engage with each other to address these topics. SIGs are similarly focused on fostering engagement of AAPG members on areas of common non-technical interest.

Last month the first two groups launched:

The Mega-Giant Field Classification TIG will be looking to develop criteria for a new classification of large natural gas fields based on developments in the Marcellus and Utica shales. It’s being chaired by AAPG members Greg Wrightstone and Bill Zagorski.

The Young Professionals Membership Committee, under the leadership of Meredith Faber and Jonathan Allen, will be transitioning to become the first SIG. Its focus, as the name suggests, is the needs of young professionals and early career geoscientists.

This SIG will help members in this group connect to each other and the broader AAPG community.

Susan Nash, AAPG’s director of Education and Professional Development, is coordinating this effort for us – and if you have a suggestion for a new TIG or SIG, please reach out to her through the AAPG website.

As Nash herself said, “together you have a chance to create something of lasting value – and also to share your insights and ideas.”

We’re already working to develop a series of processes and tools to help you get connected.

“The TIGs and SIGs,” Nash continued, “will have the opportunity to put together articles, create sessions, propose research conferences and create educational materials.”


So, what interests you?

It may be basin modeling or nano-scale fluid flow. Those could be new TIGs.

It may be golfing or fly-fishing. Those could be new SIGs.

Remember, the purpose is to weave ourselves into stronger community. It’s essential for each of us – introverts and extroverts – to be connected in community as we navigate the turbulent times we’re in.

Don’t try to do this alone.

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