Geo 'Firsts' - Remember When?

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Chances are if you’ve always been innately passionate about earth science, you probably remember one or more of your geological “firsts.”

Do you remember the first time you picked up a rock and wondered what it was made of, and where did it originate? Do you remember from this first initial spark, the other firsts that led you to where you are today? You may remember after graduating and landing your first job being pleased as punch (or happy as a lark) to work in a field that you’d trained for doing something that you loved.

Every day across the world geoscience students experience similar firsts. Students today are able to utilize research and technology in fantastic new ways, largely thanks to the exploration accomplished and chronicled by geoscientists like you.

Some of the challenges along their path, however, remain the same. University level students continue to be confronted with funding obstacles due to increasing costs of tuition and research expenses, and are often faced with the reality of limited-to-no access to the tools critical for success.

Reducing Financial Burdens

Tuition expenses continue to rise disproportionately to the salaries available for geoscientists who are planning to enter the workforce. Rising costs continue to put an undue burden on students eager to gain a foothold in their respective industries and academic fields. With the help of many generous supporters, the Foundation aims to help manage the challenges that these costs present, and promote the talents of young professionals so they may focus their efforts on their interest and skill set – enhancing earth sciences.

Keys to Success

In an effort to remove challenges and afford opportunities to aspiring geoscientists, the Foundation has established and maintained programs that support undergraduate and graduate level research. Interested in helping champion the cause? Donors can support university departments and graduate level geoscience students one of two ways:

  • Funding a Grants-in-Aid research scholarship.
  • Funding a scholarship through the Military Veterans Scholarship Program.

The Grants-in-Aid program has long been heralded as one of the Foundation’s most respected and valuable programs. Since 1967, the program has advanced geoscience education by funding students who are the best and brightest in their fields. The first named Grants-in-Aid fund was initiated in the early ’70s when friends of the late Hugh D. Miser established a fund to give an annual grant in his name. They designated the award, requesting it be given to a qualified student working on the geology of Oklahoma and/or Arkansas. They did so to honor Miser’s favorite part of the country – he happened to have been instrumental in producing the first geologic maps of both Arkansas and Oklahoma.

A known pillar of educational support, the Foundation now manages 91 named grant funds, many of which bear the names of pioneers in the energy industry.

In the spring of 2014, the Foundation awarded $207,750 in funds for research projects around the globe. These funds provide much needed support to students pursuing masters and doctoral level geoscience research, empowering students to conduct thesis-based field work during the summer between their academic years. The demand for assistance, however, exceeded our ability to award funds – receiving 373 applications and only able to grant awards to 24 percent. While the program grows steadily, there are still many students in need of research dollars.

A Grants-in-Aid fund may be established by a company, an institution, an individual or a group. The fund may be designated with a one-time contribution of $25,000, enabling AAPG-F to award $1,000 annually. Established funds may be augmented with an additional gift of $12,500, allowing the Foundation to award $500 more grant dollars each year. Grants given range from $1,000 to $3,000 annually.

Military Veterans Scholarship Program

Understanding the physical environment of the Earth is often second nature to veterans of the armed forces. Following their generous gift of service to the United States, men and women of the armed forces are primed for a successful transition from service to being ready to fine tune their new knowledge of geoscience. Those transitioning from service to civilian life naturally excel in subjects involving field surveying and ground-level investigation. The brand new Military Veterans Scholarship Program (MVSP) aims to make transitioning from service to civilian life easier for veterans, enabling them to pursue and finish degrees, paving a smoother path towards securing employment in fields of Earth sciences.

To further appreciate the value of this scholarship program, it is important to note that veterans are currently underrepresented in the workforce. They are more likely to begin college than the general public, but less likely to finish. Supporting this program will ensure that men and women of the armed forces will have the chance to transfer their valuable experience from the field to the classroom, and later to gainful employment.

Donors interested in funding this program may create a named scholarship by making a one-time gift of $50,000. This gift will afford AAPG-F the opportunity to distribute $2,000 in funds annually to deserving veterans to offset college expenses, covering college tuition, books and fees. Thanks to many generous supporters, the Foundation hopes to reach and exceed its $500,000 threshold this year to open the program to applicants in need early in 2015.

Why It Matters

The common denominator between those who have advanced successfully into Earth science careers and those who are aspiring to reach that achievement is a love of the Earth and all of its wonders. Geoscience exploration at the university level is a tie that binds – it is a passing of a torch from those who are excelling in their careers to those who aspire to join their ranks, all in the spirit of advancing the science.

To name a scholarship for graduate level research or for veteran students, please , or call toll free 1 (855) 302-2743. Students today need names that they can look up to – it is our hope that one of those names is yours.

Learn more about our programs by visiting our website at Again, know that every gift of any size is always appreciated and may be applied to a fund of your choice.

Together we can further the AAPG Foundation’s standing success and lessen financial challenges for the best and brightest future geoscientists. We are thankful for all that you do!

Students today are able to utilize research and technology in fantastic new ways, largely thanks to the exploration accomplished and chronicled by geoscientists like you.

Comments (1)

Oil Finders
I first met Ted Bear at UCLA in 1965, and he recruited me to be an oil finder, instead of a sedimentary petrologist. I spent years in Alaska, helpin... Read more
8/1/2014 11:02 AM
Gary "Dirt Doctor" Player

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Foundation Update

Foundation Update - April Stuart

April Stuart is the AAPG Foundation Program Coordinator.

Foundation Update

Foundation Update is a regular column in the EXPLORER offering news about the AAPG Foundation’s latest activities. For more information about the AAPG Foundation, visit the Foundation website, email, or call (918) 560-2644.

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