Young Professionals Reach Out

Title: Young Professionals Reach Out
Author: Peter Bucknam
Publication: The Outcrop, October 2010, p. 34-35

In late August, AAPG held their annual Leadership Days in Tulsa. In conjunction with this meeting, the AAPG Young Professionals held their first Leadership Summit; bringing together the heads of the YPs from each of the 12 Sections and Regions, as well as leaders from many domestic and international Student Chapters. One of the primary goals of this summit meeting was to develop a vision for the YPs as a whole and for each region to develop short and long-term plans. Following the Summit, the YP leaders were invited to participate in the AAPG Leadership Conference, joining the Executive Committee, Advisory Council, House of Delegates, and AAPG Staff in looking at the future direction of the society.

The importance of YPs and their vision for AAPG were a recurring theme throughout the meetings, with one of the main focuses being to aid in the transition of the student to an “active” status member of AAPG. Overall as a society, AAPG is challenged by membership loss in the young professional category. Last year, over 2500 YPs did not renew their membership out of the over 6000 members that dropped membership worldwide! One of the focus groups looked at possible ways to prevent this loss, and to better understand it. Much of this loss is likely due to the world economy, but much more of it is due to the lack of renewal by the recent graduates after their Chevron-supported student membership expires. So I ask you: Are YOU a member of AAPG? Are you an ACTIVE member or still an associate? Visit and take five minutes to become an active, voting member so you have a voice in your professional society.

Another focus of the meeting was to develop short and long-term goals for each Section/Region Young Professional group. For the Rocky Mountain Section, we’re developing the following short term goals:

The primary goal is to develop local YP groups throughout the Rocky Mountain Section. RMAG has been very successful in their YP efforts with the NeoGeos. Since this group is so successful, we feel there is no need to add another YP group to the Denver-area mix, simply extend support of the NeoGeos. The greater need lies in places like Salt Lake City, Casper, Billings, and Grand Junction to name a few. In the short-term, we’re going to set our sights on Salt Lake City and Casper. We will be reaching out into these communities, looking for local YPs who want to champion this effort. If you are that person, please contact me and volunteer. Long term, we need to have YP groups within each of the eleven Rocky Mountain Section’s affiliated societies’ areas.

Another part of the short term plan is to begin the practice of “adopting” student chapters by local YPs. These people will work with the student chapters to help graduates transition from their student chapters to the local society closest to their new career, be it within the RMS or beyond. This hand-off will help prevent the loss of membership, but more importantly will provide the students with a YP contact who can aid them in the often difficult transition from student life to the life of a working professional. We will be asking all our members to help us get this effort started this fall.

The third short term goal is to increase the universities participating in the Imperial Barrel Award within our Region. The Rocky Mountain Region is woefully under-represented at the IBA competition each year. To date, only 5 schools have participated, with only two of these being regular participants (the University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines). The RMS has over 55 schools and 16 active student chapters. Each of these schools should be encouraged to field a team, as the benefits are enormous to both the student participants and the schools themselves. I raise this issue among the young professionals group because we are the ones who will be adopting a student chapter, and we are the ones who can most closely relate the benefits of a program like the IBA.

As far as the NeoGeo activities are concerned, we will be holding a networking hour this month so look for an invitation soon. By the time you receive this, we will have just held a community service event near Boulder; helping rebuild trails in conjunction with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. We also hope to finally hold a field trip into the Edgar Mine in Idaho Springs next month. Remember, if there are things you’d like to do, propose them to us!

And as the year comes to a close, we are looking for fresh faces on the NeoGeo Committee. If you would like to help out, please volunteer to keep the NeoGeos going strong!

If you would like to participate in any of these efforts, please contact me at