Nostalgia has a weird way of working into our lives.
For some, a smell might evoke a particular sentiment. A sound might cause a certain memory to bubble to the surface. Seeing a specific photo might transport some back to a point in their personal history.
A place can have nostalgic significance, too.
Field geologists have a certain affinity for the areas they study – and as much as I could count myself in that camp, my nostalgic place is far less exotic. I confess that I have affection for the giant, hulking, vaguely cruise ship-like George R. Brown Convention Center (GRBCC) in downtown Houston.
Those of you who have been to the GRBCC are probably scratching your collective heads at this point, but for me, it is a place of many firsts: In the early 1990s, my parents took me and my siblings to our very first trade show there. Much later, in 2006, I visited the GRBCC yet again for my very first AAPG ACE. I was interviewed and hired for my very first job in a GRBCC hall in 2011. Three years later, I participated in my very first technical committee as we planned ACE 2014, which was held in the GRBCC.
Finally, this past September, I had the privilege of serving as poster chair, my very first time in that role, for the 65th annual Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies convention, which was hosted by the Houston Geological Society (HGS) and organized in none other than the GRBCC.
GCAGS 2015 was itself a meeting of firsts.
- It was the first (but we hope, not last) time the organization partnered with the AAPG-SEG Student Expo.
- It was also the first time the AAPG Young Professionals (YP) Committee has ever sponsored video games and BBQ for the sake of networking.
On the meeting's first day, YPs and students gathered outside the opening session ballroom in the GRBCC for the Young Professionals' and Students' Meet and Greet, which was generously sponsored by Chevron. Participants enjoyed appetizers and conversation before adjourning to the ballroom for the GCAGS 2015 awards presentation.
The next day, YPs also had the opportunity to attend the GCAGS 2015 social event: BBQ, Beer and Bytes – An Evening at St. Arnold's Brewery. This sold-out event combined the old-school BBQ of local favorite Gatlin's, with old-school arcade games from local shop, Joystix Classic Games and Pinballs. Attendees also enjoyed a brewery tour, networking with fellow geoscientists and giveaways courtesy of Seitel.
YP and student attendance to the St. Arnold's event was bolstered by the HGS YP group, the NeoGeos, who sponsored 20. The NeoGeos also sponsored 20 YPs who had recently been laid off to participate in one of the many GCAGS 2015 short courses.
They similarly facilitated the attendance of 20 more to the Division of Professional Affairs Luncheon during the meeting, where speaker Charles Goodson (PetroQuest) gave his thoughts on "How to Survive and Thrive in Good Time and Bad."
The current industry downturn has made the job market a daunting place for new graduates and YPs, but meetings like GCAGS 2015 provide a venue for new opportunities and professional growth – and perhaps some came away with a new fondness for the GRBCC as well.
For more information on the YP Committee and how you can get involved with YP events in your area, visit our website at aapg.org/youngpros and contact your Region or Section YP lead.