Enter the Young: Latin America Feels the Beat

Latin America is known for its young population, and the Latin America Region of AAPG is no exception.

As a result, the Region leadership team is capitalizing on its demographics by supporting activities for students and young professionals throughout the Region.

Imperial Barrel Award participation grew from one team in 2010 to 13 teams in 2013, and 15 universities from seven countries were represented at the Student Chapter Leadership Summit held at ICE Cartagena. In the past six months alone, four new student chapters formed and four chapters moved from inactive to active status.

But Region leadership does not want students’ AAPG involvement to end at graduation.

“It is gratifying to see so many students involved with AAPG,” said Victor Ramirez, AAPG Latin America Region president, “but our ultimate goal is to keep people involved with the Association throughout their careers. YP (Young Professional) chapters can help them make that transition from student to professional.”


At Leadership Days 2013, the Latin America Steering Committee worked with student and YP leaders to develop a Student-YP chapter leadership structure for the Region (see accompanying diagram). The structure reflects the Region’s goal of establishing an active YP chapter in each country that has AAPG student chapters.

Six months later, the Region is on its way to achieving that goal: Today, Peru, Colombia and Argentina have YP chapters with executive committees comprised mostly of individuals who became involved with AAPG as students and now work in the energy industry.

Alejandro Valásquez
Alejandro Valásquez

Antonio Velasquez, YP liaison for the Latin America Region, said local YP chapters represent a great step forward in helping individuals stay involved with AAPG.

“This is the beginning of the implementation of the strategy focused on spreading the leadership to a local level, which we hope will allow the student chapters to be closer to their YPs and to drive a significant growth of the YP population in the next few years,” he said.

Velasquez explained that, in addition to a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, each YP chapter executive committee has an education liaison tasked with providing guidance to student chapters and helping them to access lecturers and industry experts.

“Undoubtedly, the education liaison will foster the continuity of the leadership from the student chapters into YPs,” Velasquez said.

Education liaison Flover Rodriguez said working on the Colombia YP committee is a natural step for him after serving two years as student chapter president of the Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS).

“My time as a student chapter president has come to a close, but my AAPG experience has just begun,” Rodriguez said. “Why am I going to keep working with AAPG as an YP? For one reason – my work is not done.”

Melisa Galván
Melisa Galván
Juan Carlos Quinto
Juan Carlos Quinto

Peru YP chapter president Juan Carlos Quinto served as vice president of the National University of San Marcos Chapter in 2002-03, and Argentina chapter president Melisa Galván participated in La Universidad Nacional de La Plata’s IBA team in 2013.

“Geoscientists who were involved in student chapters are very grateful for the experiences AAPG gave them,” Ramirez said. “Working with YP chapters is a way for them to give back.”

Flover Rodriguez agrees.

“AAPG gives me the opportunity to keep learning, to keep meeting people, to keep growing as a person and a professional, all while enjoying every minute,” he said. “I am committed to finding new challenges and new projects, and to helping others benefit in the same ways I have.”

Velasquez said he expects continued YP chapter growth in 2014.

“We have identified several candidates from Brazil, and YPs from other countries have expressed interest in starting chapters as well,” he said.


Latin America YP activity also is catching the attention of the global [PFItemLinkShortcode|id:583|type:standard|anchorText:AAPG YP Committee|cssClass:asshRef|title:Learn more about the AAPG YP CommitteePFItemLinkShortcode]
, which promotes the formation of YP chapters across the world.

“The Young Professionals Committee strongly believes that delivering the right services is what will encourage geoscientists to join AAPG,” said Nick Lagrilliere, AAPG YP Committee chair. “We therefore see the further development of our YP chapter network internationally as a crucial step in bringing these services to the membership at a local level.

“It is very encouraging to see the YPs in Latin America rapidly building their Regional network.”

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Regions and Sections

Regions and Sections Column - Carol McGowen
Carol Cain McGowen is the development manager for AAPG's Regions and Sections. She may be contacted via email , or telephone at 1-918-560-9403.

Regions and Sections is a regular column in the EXPLORER offering news for and about AAPG's six international Regions and six U.S. Sections. News items, press releases and other information should be submitted via email or to: EXPLORER - Regions and Sections, P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, OK 74101. 

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