Foundation Awards Its First U.S. Military Veteran Scholarships

The AAPG Foundation has worked steadily to shape a program that will support veterans in furthering and completing their geologic undergraduate education. Aptly named the U.S. Military Veterans Scholarship Program (MVSP), the program offers financial support for veterans who are returning from service, re-adapting to civilian life, and focusing on achieving a degree that will ultimately pave a way for a future career in the geosciences.

Lukas Smith, Spc., Army, Western Illinois University
Lukas Smith, Spc., Army, Western Illinois University
The scholarship program offers financial support to veterans to help offset the often burdensome costs that accompany the pursuit of an undergraduate degree. With this financial support, veteran students will be able to complete geology degrees less encumbered by the financial drain of schooling, which often leads veterans to stall on their studies or pass over opportunities to finish their degrees.

As you can imagine, undergraduate veterans interested in geology are poised to excel in the subject as their skill-sets gained in the field of duty translates easily to hands-on, applied careers in the geosciences. On top of that experience, veterans possess desirable traits—including a strong sense of mission, adaptability, resiliency, and leadership—that 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 Lieutenant Colonel and AAPG Foundation Trustee Associate, Don O’Nesky, awarded $2,000 each to 10 veterans from across the country. The 2015 MVSP awards were given to the following veterans:

  • James Campbell, Spc. Army, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Hagan Hunter, Lance Cpl., USMC, University of Oklahoma
  • Calvin Johnson, Lance Cpl., USMC, New Mexico State University
  • Mark Leung, Sgt., USMC, California Lutheran University
  • Steven Marshall, Staff Sgt., Army, Miami University
  • Ryan Rosol, Seaman, Navy, University of Oklahoma
  • Lukas Smith, Spc., Army, Western Illinois University
  • Jeffrey Snowden, Sgt., Army, Midwestern State University
  • Skyler St. John, Spc., Army, Oklahoma State University
  • Wesley Weisberg, AWO2, Navy, Missouri State University

O’Nesky guided a selection committee comprised 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,” said O’Nesky. “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 a significant amount of 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 leant by the Committee for the cause. All of their time and talents are deeply appreciated both by Foundation and the recipients themselves. The depth of gratitude felt by veteran recipients is best summarized in the words of scholarship recipient James Campbell:

James Campbell, Spc. Army, University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Campbell, Spc. Army, University of Massachusetts Amherst
“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 that succeed at anything we put our mind to,” Campbell shared. “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,” said Campbell

On behalf of the Foundation, our Board of Trustees, and the veterans we hope to serve, Chairman 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 for learn more about how you can help support this valuable program at (918) 560-2664 or the Foundation Website.