Since the dramatic expansion of AAPG/AAPG Foundation’s Visiting Geoscientist programs in the fall of 2014, thousands of students around the globe have benefited from it.
More than 6,000 students participated in spring 2015 and more than 3,500 have participated already since July.
VGs are required to visit at least one university per year to maintain their status in the program, which is a respectable commitment in itself; but there are some who have far exceeded even that commendable standard since joining the program.
Fred Schroeder is one of the most popular VGs and has traveled to 14 universities throughout the last year, with additional trips scheduled. He is a consultant based in Houston, but he makes the effort anywhere he can combine business or vacation, particularly in the northeastern and southeastern United States and in Canada.
Trey Kramer of the University of New Orleans, said of Schroeder’s Nov. 17 visit, “Great teaching ability … passion for the subject matter. Would love to have Fred back sometime! I have attended numerous AAPG and SEG short courses, this was in the top three best!”
Piotr Krzywiec, who works with the Institute of Geological Sciences in Warsaw, Poland, has given talks in Poland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the United States – seven talks over the last year. His talks on geological and geophysical integration are popular at universities especially as they apply to unconventional hydrocarbon resources.
Ray Leonard, with Houston-based HydroDynamics Corp, gave an historic first-ever VG lecture in South Africa. His nine visits over the last year have been combined with his global business travels.
He has spoken in Oslo, Kiev; Coventry, England; Gubkin Russian State University in Moscow; Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary; Geneva; LaSalle Polytechnic in Paris as well as the French Petroleum Institute; and at the University of Arizona. His presentation is about oil in the 21st Century and what changes can be expected.
Dwandari Ralanarko is the new VG co-coordinator alongside Herman Darman for the Asia Pacific Region; both work for Shell Oil. He began his year with an historic tour of five Chinese universities in Beijing, Wuhan, Chengdu and Qingdao (starting a new student chapter along the way). His fluency in four languages including Mandarin contributed to the success of this tour.
Last year Ralanarko visited Trisakti University in Jakarta, Lampung University and Diponegoro University in Semarang, Indonesia, and his attendance numbers broke records: His total student contact for the last 12 months was 2,350 students.
David Weinberg, a consultant from Albuquerque, N.M., gives technical talks on frac’ing and other aspects of the industry, as well as workshops on resume writing at New Mexico State, New Mexico Tech, University of Texas at El Paso and Texas A&M, College Station, Texas. This fall, Weinberg also made time during his vacation in Scotland to visit Heriot Watt in Edinburgh.
Sherilyn Williams-Stroud with California Resources Corporation in Bakersfield, Calif., recently joined the VG program. She has helped cover the Pacific Section, which has a bundle of student chapters and few VGs. She also takes time from business trips and vacations to speak in Texas and Colorado.
Michelle Judson, the VGP coordinator for the Pacific Section has initiated several efforts to better serve geology students on the west coast of the United States.
Other coordinators for the U.S. sections include Ione Taylor of the Eastern Section, Mary Broussard of the Gulf Coast, Doug Davis of the Mid-Continent Section, Dave Entzminger of the Southwest Section and Laura Mauro Johnson of the Rocky Mountain Section.
Samuel Akande and David Blanchard coordinate the program in Africa, Noelle-Joy Purcell and Janos Csizmeg handle Europe, Miguel de Armas (with assistance from Emily Llinás) coordinate the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Sa’id Hajiri coordinates the Middle East Region and Monika Mojelski and Frank Ryan coordinate the Canada Region.
Expanding the Visiting Geoscientist program was a major vision shared by AAPG President John Hogg, and AAPG past President Randi Martinsen. They recruited me to bring my experience from worldwide travels as AAPG president to co-chair with Andras Nemeth, who was not only chairing the program but building a presence in Eastern Europe. Within six months we recruited key people to be coordinators and recruited over 100 new VGs in all Sections and Regions.
Hogg was instrumental in helping fund the expansion program by requesting the AAPG Foundation Trustees consider providing additional funding to help reach universities which are off-the beaten-track for normal business travel.
Historically, VGs and/or their companies cover their own expenses to make visits, which is definitely a labor of love and devotion to geoscience students. This precluded many universities (most with AAPG Student Chapters) from realizing a visit from a professional energy geoscientist.
With this new (though limited) funding, each Section and Region has the ability to help with expenses for off-the-beaten-path travel. With more than 350 student chapters worldwide, 150 VGs are still not enough to sufficiently cover the globe each year, but we continue to recruit, and we continue raising awareness and knowledge about the program in universities.
AAPG members who enjoy visiting universities and speaking to students can participate by either becoming a Visiting Geoscientist or by reporting their visits to me and Nemeth as a “flash visit.”
For more information, visit www.aapg.org/career/training/in-person/visiting-geoscientists.
Editor’s Note: Robbie Gries is an AAPG past president and a Michel T. Halbouty Award winner. She is also co-chair of the Foundation’s Visiting Geoscientist Program Committee.