Geoscience Exhibition and Competition held by Malaysian student chapter UTP gallery

The AAPG Foundation has announced the first recipients of the financial aid through its new U.S. Military Veterans Scholarship Program.

Ten veterans who are returning to school to pursue a geosciences education will be receiving $2,000 scholarships to help support them and their families in their efforts to transition to life beyond the military.

With this support, Foundation leadership is hoping the veteran students will be better able to complete geology degrees less encumbered by the financial burden of tuition, which often leads veterans and civilians alike to stall on their studies or pass over opportunities to finish their degrees.

U.S. Army Specialist James Campbell, a recipient of the AAPG Foundation’s Military Veterans
Scholarship. Photo courtesy of Campbell.
U.S. Army Specialist James Campbell, a recipient of the AAPG Foundation’s Military Veterans Scholarship. Photo courtesy of Campbell.

As one can imagine, undergraduate veterans interested in geology are poised to excel in the subject, as their skillsets translate easily to hands-on, applied careers in the geosciences. Veterans possess character traits that lend themselves to the industry, including a strong sense of mission, adaptability, resiliency and leadership.

All of those qualities not only make them excellent candidates to finish degree programs, but also excellent employees upon program completion.

The MVSP Committee, chaired by retired Air Force Lt. Col. and AAPG Foundation Trustee Associate Don O’Nesky, announced that $20,000 in scholarship funds would be given to the 10 veterans in 2015. O’Nesky guided a selection committee of volunteers in its first year and reflected positively on the experience.

“Working with the MVSP in its inaugural year and reading the applications we received gave me faith in this young generation. They are outstanding young men and women,” he said. “One thing stood out in letters of recommendation by professors and military supervisors, and that is these young warriors were the leaders in their classes and in their military units.”

The 2015 MVSP Committee included AAPG members Heather Anderson, Rick Fritz, Jesse Gilman, Meg Kremer, Matt McKay, Clint Moore, Carl Smith and Earl Wells.

This year the committee spent significant time scoring many outstanding applications. O’Nesky’s leadership paved a smooth course for this first-time process, as did the generously gifted time and talents invested by the committee members.

Time to Grow

The depth of gratitude felt by participating veterans is best summarized in the words of U.S. Army Specialist James Campbell:

“It is with great thanks that I accept this scholarship as part of the 2015 U.S. Military Veterans Scholarship Program. To invest in military veterans is the safest bet one can ever make. We are the hardest working and most driven individuals who succeed at anything we put our mind to. Your willingness to extend a little help along the way to a college education is a commendable act that will only motivate me further toward my goals.”

“I know that once I have earned my degree and have entered the professional community of the earth sciences that I will make a significant contribution to this pioneering sector of our society. It is abundantly clear that energy and natural resource exploration and management will drive future economies and I can’t wait to be part of that prosperous future.”

O’Nesky is hopeful that others will consider making a contribution to help expand this valuable program.

“There are more outstanding applicants than we had funds to support,” he said. “We need to grow this fund so I would encourage members and companies to contribute to the AAPG Foundation MVSP. Yes, ‘companies’ – the future employers of these outstanding young men and women.”

Every dollar counts. A gift of $50,000 will enable the Foundation to annually award a $2,000 scholarship named on your behalf to a veteran in need for years to come.

Contact the Foundation to learn more about how you can help support this valuable program at (918) 560-2664.

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