AAPG ‘Youth Movement’ Shows Strength

My son Ian recently turned 18 and it has been interesting watching the development of his attitudes and forays in (and sometimes out) of maturity.

As a result many of our father-to-son talks have changed. For example, since he bought his car we have many more in depth discussions on finance.


I just returned from the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) in New Orleans, where I had the opportunity to spend time with several groups of students and young professionals.

There is an old saying that “youth is wasted on the young,” but in my opinion these young people have a lot going on. Several of them had just finished making presentations at the AAPG Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) contest, and I was impressed with their maturity and knowledge.

I also was amazed at how many students had worked in industry while getting their degrees. This was not the case when I was in school, but now through intern programs and summer hires many have experience in the industry.

I think this is a good trend for AAPG as a professional association. In the past, about 20 percent of student members joined AAPG immediately after school. Now more companies have hired young people out of school, and we are starting to see an increase in the percentage of young professionals coming into the Association.

AAPG has a number of programs to support student and young professional development:

  • The student sponsorship program, funded initially by Halliburton and for the last three years by Chevron, has increased student membership dramatically (see chart).
  • The number of student chapters also is increasing with the increase in student membership.
  • To support the students directly, the AAPG Foundation provides approximately $200,000 each year in student grants-in-aid.
  • The Imperial Barrel Award is now one of the premier student programs at AAPG. Steve Veal, chair of the IBA Committee, said over 60 schools participated in the IBA program this year and more than 500 students are touched by the program in some manner.

When asked about the program, the most common student response is how important it was for them to learn to work as a team in integrating geology, geophysics and engineering into the project. This is a great program, and the announcement of the IBA teams and winners at the annual student reception at ACE is a truly electrifying event.

Also, this year I noticed an increase in young professionals active in committees. Particularly active is the Young Professionals Committee, led by chair Natasha Rigg.

The committee’s mission is to help students transition to their professional careers. In New Orleans the AAPG Executive Committee approved a proposal by the Young Professionals Committee to develop a Young Professionals Leadership Summit. The goals of the summit are to:

  • Increase the number of young professionals in AAPG.
  • Provide a template that can be applied to other young professional programs.
  • Provide Section and Region chairs with new contacts.
  • Develop a sustainable effective leadership structure.
  • Facilitate a more structured AAPG Young Professional program.
  • Allow for real-time sharing of best practices and lessons learned

A Young Professionals Leadership Summit is being considered for early FY 2011.


In regards to a discussion on youth, American baseball legend Satchel Paige once mused, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?”

My sentiments exactly!

No matter what your age, if you are interested in working with students and young professionals there are many great opportunities to develop new leadership and foster new science in AAPG.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - Rick Fritz
Richard D. “Rick” Fritz, an AAPG member since 1984 and a member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and the Division of Professional Affairs, served as AAPG Executive Director from 1999 to 2011.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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