Need a Job? YPs Help Make the Connections

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

For young geologists about to start their career, choosing an employer – or getting chosen by an employer, perhaps – and determining a career path can be a daunting task.

Questions regarding this topic abound:

  • How important is an internship?
  • To work in the oil and gas industry, does my thesis need to be petroleum-related (or do I need a thesis at all)?
  • How should I prepare for an interview, and what are employers looking for?
  • What can I expect for salary and benefits when I start? What about training?
  • How do I go from a new hire to where I want to be in 10 years (and beyond)?

However, the two most pressing questions young geologists face are:

  • How do I get my foot in the door?
  • After that … what then?

From 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, the Dallas Geological Society (DGS) will hold a panel discussion to address these questions and help put young geologists at ease.

The discussion will be moderated by DGS president Joe Davis, and the panel will comprise individuals from a range of backgrounds:

  • Eric Potter, the Bureau of Economic Geology.
  • James Quick, dean of graduate studies at Southern Methodist University.
  • Rick Davis of Stanton Chase (executive level search and recruitment).
  • Louis Goldstein, VP of corporate geoscience and chief geologist for Pioneer Natural Resources.
  • John Wagner, chief geologist for Venari Resources and a research professor at SMU.

While the panel discussion itself is primarily geared toward young geologists, veteran geologists – especially those with a desire to provide answers and mentorship, or those just curious to see what today’s crop of young geoscientists bring to the table – also are strongly encouraged to attend.

The panel discussion will be preceded by a social hour to enable students and YPs to meet with panelists and veteran geologists in an informal setting. Also, a handful of students from local universities will exhibit posters displaying their graduate research during the social hour.

Panelist bios and registration for the event can be found on the Dallas Geological Society website,

Students and YPs wishing to submit a question for the panel or those interested in presenting a poster during the social hour may email .

The Dallas Geological Society boasts an active YP group that continues to build steam.

This fall DGS instituted its local YPs (DGS YP) to operate under the “umbrella” of Southwest Section YP at a scale that can directly serve our local YPs. The Careers in Geology Panel Discussion will be the third Dallas-area YP event held this season.

In August, DGS YP held its inaugural membership drive social, which was attended by more than 50 YPs. In October, the AAPG Division of Professional Affairs hosted a DGS YP event featuring speaker Bob Shoup of Subsurface Consultants & Associates that also was well-attended and well-received.

Events in the works for this winter and spring include additional YP socials, a “pro-am” format (pairing veteran members with YPs) at our annual society golf tournament and community service events in cooperation with area AAPG student chapters and geology clubs.

In our experience, local YP groups benefit local societies – not just YPs – by encouraging YP attendance at society luncheons and seminars, and by providing leadership roles to YPs.

I assume other member organizations face the same dilemma as DGS: How do you prepare younger geologists to fill officer roles within the society?

I believe the answer to this is in bridging veteran members and YPs.

A local YP committee serves both aspects: YP committee members develop and demonstrate leadership by planning, organizing and obtaining sponsorship for YP events, and they receive exposure and recognition for their work through the society website and by presenting event proposals to the society board.

So, how does one kick-start a local YP group?

The first step in starting a local YP group is alerting your local society officers and your AAPG Region/Section YP lead that there is a need for a local YP group.

The DGS officers and Nikki Morris, our Section YP lead, were instrumental in getting the ball rolling by assisting with organizational structure, initial funding and the promotion of DGS YP events. I also can assure you the enthusiasm for our local YP group is as high with veteran DGS members and SWS AAPG as it is with our YPs!

And the enthusiasm seems to be contagious, as the West Texas Geological Society also recently initiated a local YP group in Midland, Texas.

So keep a close eye on the Southwest Section YPs. We’re expanding – and big things are yet to come.

Interested in starting or joining a local YP group in your area? Visit our website at and contact your Section/Region representative.

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ProTracks - Joe Bauman

Joe Bauman is the Southwest Section YP for 2013-14.


“ProTracks” is an ongoing feature of the EXPLORER, offering news and information pertinent to getting started or getting better in your career.

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