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Sherilyn Williams-Stroud - Atmospheric and Social Climate Change: Implications for the Future Geoscience Workforce

AAPG Distinguished Lecture Series, 2023-24 Season

AAPG Distinguished Lecture Series, 2023-24 Season


A Distinguished Lecture talk given by Sherilyn Williams-Stroud during 2023-24 AAPG DL Season.

Climate change is not only happening in the atmosphere but also in the anthroposphere; in some ways the former could drive or exacerbate the latter, with extreme weather excursions and extreme excursions from societal norms occurring all over the earth. Accomplishing geoscience for a common goal – whether that is for successful business activities, resource assessment for public planning, mitigating the impacts of geological hazards, or for the sheer love of furthering knowledge and understanding – can and should be done by a workforce that is equitably developed and supported. Difficulty arises when the value of institutional programs to increase equity and diversity is not realized.

The development of a robust geoscience workforce of the future can be addressed the same way scientific projects are addressed. A seismic monitoring program could be used as an analog, where the development and implementation could contain the following elements:

Characterize the area and the potential reservoir, collect data (including pre-injection data to form a baseline), analyze the data, develop a model of reservoir response, evaluate ongoing data collection and update where necessary, adjust monitoring program to mitigate potential risks indicated by the data and modeling.

The approach for successfully developing the geoscience workforce requires only a few changes to this “protocol”:

  • Characterize the climate and the demographic makeup of the institution, collect data (including K-12 educational data to form a baseline), analyze the data, develop a model of workforce recruitment and training, continuously evaluate success of methodologies and update where necessary, adjust recruitment and training program to improve success as indicated by the data.
  • Evaluating the success of such a project includes keeping abreast of future research opportunities and applications to geoscience. Forward-looking training will ensure that the geoscience profession remains relevant to society and can increase the numbers of geoscientists from all demographics, thereby strengthening and maintaining our field. This talk will describe some of the activities currently in progress that support equitable and diverse workforce development.

In the News

Distinguished Lecturer


Sherilyn Williams-Stroud

Research Scientist

Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

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