May 4, 2021 at 2:41 pm

Geological Sciences Alumni Symposium Connects Alumni, Students and Faculty in Online Forum

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The Geological Sciences Alumni Advisory Board hosts a symposium every other spring to reconnect alumni with the department and build an ever-expanding network with current students and support their career development.

This year the goals were the same, but the forum moved online.

“We are so very grateful for the incredible dedication and support of the Alumni Advisory Board. They are always a tremendous source of support for our students and department and have really excelled at finding new ways to connect across distance with our students in this event,” said Dr. Alycia Stigall, professor and chair of Geological Sciences.

The online platform proved to be a wonderful way to bring people together. Indeed, nearly 100 current and former OHIO geologists registered for the event held April 17 and 18.

“This sixth symposium exceeded the board’s expectation in terms of exceptional scientific talks, networking and employment opportunities for students, and demonstrating to alumni the impact they are having on awarded student scholarship,” said Patrick Jackson, chair of the Alumni Advisory Board.

This year’s event focused on “Geosciences: Providing opportunities during changing times.” Jackson opened the symposium, which had been deftly organized by board member Travis Esbenshade. The keynote speaker, Dr. Lynn Wingard of the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) shared her work in “The Emerging Field of Conservation Paleobiology and Its Role in Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystems.”

Alumni hosted networking and career panels for students, and Mitch Bourman provided an update on employment trends and opportunities in the environmental geoscience sector. Students shared their research in poster sessions and talks. Current and recently retired faculty — Drs. Katherine Fornash, and Dina López as well as Stigall — provided updates about the state of the department and their vibrant research programs. Alumni Tom Tomastik, Lisa DeRose, and Dr. Ganapathy Shanmugam talked about carbon capture utilization, the geoscience behind large dam removal projects, and advances in understanding deep-marine deposits.

The multiple opportunities for breakout rooms and chatting during breaks provided a chance to connect. The always anticipated awarding of the alumni scholarships was augmented by student photos and an active chat in which alumni wished students well and students were able to express their gratitude.

“The symposium was a complete success from my perspective. We were able to showcase some of the tremendous work being done by the students, alumni, and faculty,” said Esbenshade.

Everyone looks forward to connecting again in Athens in 2023.

The symposium was supported by Ohio University’s Alumni Affairs office, which included archiving recordings of the sessions:

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