Grants Provides Educational Opportunities for Undergrads

The AAPG Foundation’s L. Austin Weeks Undergraduate Grant program annually awards deserving geoscience students and geoscience student organizations across the world with $500 in grant funds. These international grants support the educational expenses of undergraduate geoscience students and their associated student organizations.

Pictured: The Geoscience Student Club at the ENSEGID School of Bordeaux. Photo courtesy of ENSEGID School of Bordeaux. In 2015 the program was expanded to accept applications from individual students, student-led geoscience associations and clubs in addition to applications from AAPG student chapters.

The response was tremendous.

The applications far exceeded the total number of awards available. The Foundation received more than 350 applications–255 from students and 95 from student organizations. This year the number of awards available totaled 152 grants. The proportion of awards was split equally between individual students and student organizations.

This year the student and organization applications were reviewed by a selection panel composed of AAPG trustee associates including Denise Cox, Jim McGhay, Ron Nelson, Steve Laubach and Valary Schulz-West. The award criteria focused on students and student organizations’ scholastic performance, intended use, and leadership activity. Each winning student and student organization received $500 in grant funds.

Award-winning students may use the grants to purchase much needed equipment required for hands-on exploration, such as rock hammers and compasses, also and are able to apply the funds toward tuition, books and fees. Student organizations may use the funds to support group activities through the purchase of necessary field equipment and are able also to apply the funds towards geology field trips and conferences.

The increased interest from this year’s grant cycle shows a need for greater funding in the area of undergraduate geoscience education. We know that the financial need will continue to grow and we hope the results from this award cycle highlight the necessity to focus fundraising efforts for undergraduate geoscience education across the world.

Thanks to the expansion of the program, one geoscience club hopes to build an official AAPG Student Chapter at ENSEGID School of Bordeaux (France). Student representative Armand Moreau wrote in a thank you letter to the Foundation:

“The Geoscience Student Club at the ENSEGID School of Bordeaux (France) is thrilled and proud to have received the L. Austin Weeks Undergraduate Grant from the AAPG Foundation. We would like to thank the different contributors and the members of the Foundation for this grant and for their trust in our association. This money will help us to organize geological field trips during the coming year, a great opportunity to gain more knowledge and experience in the field. We are now even more motivated to build an official AAPG Student Chapter in our school, which will allow us to bring together all the geological students of Bordeaux and to organe more events, conferences and field trips. This is our next step!”

If you are interested in volunteering for the L. Austin Weeks Undergraduate Grant Committee to help select student recipients, or in making a contribution to support the program, please contact Foundation program coordinator, April Stuart, or (918) 560-2664.