Funding for Professional Meetings

General Information

Using the alumni-supported Kozak, Spencer, McGuire, Schwab Geology Fund, the Department is happy to be able to provide travel funds for Geology majors to attend one scientific meeting each year. Declared majors are encouraged to attend; talk to your advisor about it. The meetings are a terrific way to learn about the breadth of geological inquiry through a huge number of talks and presentations, network with potential employers and graduate school advisers, talk with people representing geology graduate schools, and support fellow students presenting their research.

Here's what one student had to say about her experience:
"The presentations that I attended and the posters that I saw gave me good ideas about how to format my senior thesis work for the Spring. More importantly as a senior, the greatest benefit of attending this conference was that it gave me insight to a variety of graduate schools and programs and potential jobs. To be entirely honest, the graduate school application process has been quite daunting for me, so this experience rejuvenated me and made me excited for graduate school! Additionally, I saw a variety of interdisciplinary, applied environmental,geoscience talks and found them highly interesting. They reassured me that this is the most fitting pathway for me."

The following meetings occur every year and you may seek special permission to attend other meetings:

Annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (usually in early-mid fall): GSA -
Annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (mid December, usually during finals week): AGU -
Southeastern GSA (usually early spring)
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (spring or early summer): AAPG -

It is difficult to take many days off from school and students need to clear their absence with teachers prior to making plans to attend the meeting. The minimum time spent at a conference is 2 full days, but the department will support more days if they are spent fully engaged at the meeting.

The Geology Department will cover:

  • the cost of your travel to and back from the meeting 
  • lodging (shared rooms) while at the meeting
  • GSA membership
  • meeting registration
  • for presenters: meals ($30/day for full days at conference)

Geology Administrative Assistant Sarah Wilson will make travel and lodging arrangements. You are responsible for your own meals (unless you are a presenter) and for any baggage you want to check. 

In order to go to a meeting you need to:

  1. Submit to Geology Department Head Jeff Rahl and Geology Administrative Assistant a justification for funding. Your justification should include at least a preliminary schedule of talks and events that you plan to attend, and why you think this would be beneficial to your current work and future plans in geology, or, in other words, what you hope to gain from the experience.

  2. Include with your justification the days you will travel to and from the meeting. We will need to know what time you can leave campus and what time you need to be back on campus. Remember, you need to have cleared any absences from classes with professors before you submit your request.

  3. Read and sign the Travel Agreement.

  4. After the conference you need to submit to Geology Department Head Jeff Rahl and Geology Administrative Assistant Sarah Wilson a 1 to 2 page summary of your experience at the meeting, including the most interesting presentations and topics you attended, the benefit that attending the meeting had for you as a student of geology or citizen, and any new opinions you have about the geological profession. These notes will likely be shared with the donors to the fund that supports your travel. 

Let any of us know if you have any questions about conferences!