Because of you, lives are being changed and the future of geosciences is being affirmed daily during this exceptionally busy period for the AAPG Foundation.
The next few months will witness an extraordinary amount of activity – by dozens of Foundation committee volunteers as well as staff professionals from AAPG’s programs team – all focused on educational opportunities and geoscience excellence.
Throughout the year, people around the world contribute to the AAPG Foundation to support its mission to ensure educational and scientific activities in the geosciences. The funds have arrived; now the evaluations on how to effectively use those gifts are being made.
“This is probably the most important stretch of the year for us, because we’re making decisions that reflect our direct investments in the future of geosciences,” said AAPG Foundation Chair Jim McGhay.
“We know that many donors contribute to the Foundation specifically to support students who are making their first, crucial steps toward being a professional geoscientist,” McGhay said, “and right now we’re carefully identifying those who have demonstrated excellence and continue to show exciting potential.”
A History of Geoscience Education Support
Since its creation nearly six decades ago, the Foundation has sought not only to reward and support creative educational programming and initiatives, but also to place grants directly into the hands of university geoscience students.
Last year, for example, the Foundation was able to provide more than $400,000 in grants to more than 300 graduate and undergraduate geoscience students around the world, including via the relatively new Deana and Paul Strunk Military Veterans Scholarship Program.
Add to that the annual support for the Teacher of the Year initiative and the Inspirational Geoscience Educator Award, and the Foundation’s commitment to geoscience education becomes obvious.
“And right now, our good people are gathering the grant applications, reviewing the candidates and making the sometimes-difficult decisions about where our annual investments will go,” McGhay said.
“And as we’ve seen for years,” he added, “investments in today’s students and research will pay dividends for years to come – and help us meet tomorrow’s energy and environmental challenges.
“I encourage all AAPG members and the geoscience community to review what your Foundation is doing – and I hope you will become part of these efforts,” he said.
Most recently, the applications window ended for this year’s prominent Grants-in-Aid program, and those submissions are being reviewed by committee members.
Foundation GIAs provide financial assistance to graduate students who thesis research has application to the search for and development of petroleum and energy-mineral resources, and/or to related environmental geology issues.
The grants range from $500 to $3,000 to cover expenses directly related to the student’s thesis work, including field work, laboratory analyses and related costs.
Grants are awarded based on merit and, in part, on the applicant’s financial needs. Last year, 132 students from around the world received GIAs.
This initiative, like many Foundation projects, is administered by the AAPG programs team. Grant recipients are expected to be announced in early April.
But GIAs are only a part of the current Foundation activity. Applications also are being accepted for:
● L. Austin Weeks (LAW) Undergraduate grants, which are awarded to undergraduate geoscience students and student-led geoscience associations.
Students studying geoscience fulltime at a four-year college or university can apply, then use their portion of the grant to buy equipment, attend conferences, take field trips or secure other exploration-related materials. Student Chapters and other associations can use their grant to support student geoscience activities.
LAW applications are being accepted through April 15, with decisions announced in May.
● The Deana and Paul Strunk Military Veterans Scholarship Program provides grants up to $5,000 to assist U.S. veterans who are returning to school to pursue undergraduate degrees in geoscience.
The grants also are available for spouses and children of veterans, including personnel who are deceased, disabled or active.
Applications are being accepted through May 15.
● The Teacher of the Year award annually recognizes K-12 teaching excellence and gives $6,000 to a teacher (to share evenly with the school) within the United States who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of geoscience education.
The TOTY program, one of the Foundation’s most popular educational connections, has recognized and honored 25 teachers for their impactful and often creative approach to geoscience education.
TOTY applications and nominations are being accepted through March 31.
● The Inspirational Geoscience Educator Award honors college and university professors who have shown outstanding leadership and creative geoscience instruction.
As with TOTY, the selected professor receives $6,000 to share evenly with their school. Anyone who has experienced a geoscience professor “who has inspired students to love geoscience and motivated them to pursue geological careers” can make a nomination.
IGEA nominations will be accepted through March 31.
Information on these and all Foundation programs – including details on both applying for and donating in support of – can be found on the Foundation’s website, at foundation.appg.org.