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Active Membership Has Its Privileges

Did you know that if you have Student or Associate status in AAPG, then you aren’t technically a “full member” of AAPG?

Most young professionals in AAPG fall within the Associate category, although they likely qualify for Active membership as a practicing geoscientist. In fact, there are currently over 5,000 Associates who qualify to become full-fledged Active members!

Unfortunately, many students transition to Associate status but, for one reason or another, do not follow through to Active membership.

One of the commitments of the AAPG Young Professionals Committee is to guide our Student members to Associate status upon entry to the professional world – and ultimately on to Active membership. As a growing number of students and young professionals make their way into Associate status in AAPG, it is timely to clarify the path to Active membership and its benefits.

AAPG currently has five membership classes: Active, Associate and Student members, plus awarded Honorary and Emeritus memberships.

Of note for students and young professionals:

  • Activemembers must be vetted according to the Code of Ethics and Bylaws. All applicants must meet the following qualifications: hold a degree in geological science; have one year of experience in the practice or teaching of geological science; the support of three sponsors; your name in print as a candidate for Active membership in the EXPLORER; and final approval by the AAPG Executive Committee.
  • Associatestatus was originally created for those who do not qualify for Active membership. However, it is now the classification for all non-degreed industry professionals, those who work in related fields and those who do not have the required one year of experience.

Applicants must be a university graduate or have adequate professional experience/professional standing. Dues are the same as Active membership.

  • Studentsare offered a reduced-rate dues program that is available to all students majoring in geology or a related field. This status ends after termination of academic enrollment.
Moving On Up

The transition from Student to Active membership is becoming easier to navigate and is worth pursuing.

Until this June, the experience requirement for Active membership applicants was three years of professional experience as a practicing geoscientist – but the AAPG House of Delegates, at the Denver annual convention, voted to change the AAPG Bylaws to require only one year of professional experience.

This update streamlines the timing for the application process and is a milestone all new professionals can work toward and look forward to when entering their career.

The path to Active membership starts with Students moving to Associate status as they become young professionals.

After the year of professional experience, new professionals are eligible to apply for Active membership. This requires an evaluation process based on adherence to AAPG’s strong Code of Ethics as outlined in the AAPG Bylaws and Constitution.

For example, any Active member has 60 days to object to the admission of an applicant once the applicant’s name and sponsors are published in the AAPG EXPLORER.

Ultimately the Executive Committee has final say on acceptance of all new Active members.

It Matters

Why should you care if you’re an Active or Associate member?

Here’s what you stand to gain from becoming an Active member of AAPG:

  • Recognition from your peers as an ethical, practicing geoscientist.
  • Voting rights to participate in AAPG elections – democracy in action.
  • The opportunity to serve within AAPG and give back to your profession.
  • Full involvement – with your own voice – in Association matters.
  • The potential to better open doors in your career.
  • Shaping the present and future face of AAPG – on many levels.

Progressing students and young professionals to Active membership also is undoubtedly beneficial to the AAPG community:

  • We gain the voice of an increasing demographic of young professionals.
  • We increase participation from less-experienced professionals and, therefore, more opportunities for interaction across a range of experience levels.
  • We gain earlier personal investment in AAPG by future decision makers.
  • We reduce the numbers in the “in-between” category of Associate.

The difference between Active and Associate status does not involve dues – and since the Bylaws have changed to a graduated dues system, becoming an Active member is easy and equitable.

The process of vetting candidates to Active membership takes time to complete – up to five months in some cases – but there has been effective steps taken to streamline the process. For starters, the Active membership application is now available online.

As Scott Tinker often said during his AAPG presidency, the young professionals are not just the future face of our industry – they are the present face of the industry as well. Student and Associate status should be considered transitional stages on the path to Active membership and the opportunity to influence the present face of our industry.

The time to make the jump to fully vested Active membership is now!

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Amy Moss-Russell is a graduate student at the Colorado School of Mines and a new hire at Chevron North America in Houston.

William Drake is a geologist with Pioneer Natural Resources in Denver.