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AWG: A Common Love of Earth Science

The Association for Women Geoscientists is devoted to enhancing the role of women in geosciences and to introduce young women to geoscience careers.
This article appeared in Vol. 12, No. 4 - 2015

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The Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) is an international organization devoted to enhancing the quality and level of participation of women in geosciences and to introduce girls and young women to geoscience careers. Membership is open to anyone who supports AWG's goals - men as well as women - and the membership includes professionals from industry, government, museums, academia and education, plus students and retirees.

Members’ diverse interests and expertise cover the entire spectrum of geoscience disciplines and career paths, providing unexcelled networking and mentoring opportunities. The membership is brought together by a common love of earth science and the desire to ensure rewarding opportunities for women in the geosciences.

The organization is mostly US based at the moment, but is very keen to encourage international membership and to foster relationships with geological organizations worldwide.

AWG’s Mission

The purpose of AWG is threefold: to ENCOURAGE the participation of women in the geosciences, to EXCHANGE educational, technical, and professional information, and to ENHANCE the professional growth and advancement of women in the geosciences. To promote these aims, the AWG Foundation was created to fund the educational programs of the association.

To follow its mission to encourage women geoscientists, the AWG, through the Foundation, funds geologic field trips for pre-college girls and also awards scholarships to geoscience Masters and Doctoral candidates to cover expenses associated with finishing their theses or dissertations. SAGE (AWG's Student Awards for Geosciences Excellence program, funded by the Foundation) presents awards to students for outstanding geoscience projects in science fairs and other events. The AWG has also produced Career Profiles, a booklet of short biographies of women geoscientists, available from the AWG website, which presents women role models from different lifestyles and a variety of geoscience careers.

The AWG’s newspaper, Gaea, is published four times a year, and is an important tool in the AWG’s mission to exchange information. The newsletter profiles the successes of women geoscientists and AWG Award winners, addresses issues which concern women in geoscience careers, provides a forum for discussion, and publishes employment and position opening advertisements. Another feature of the information exchange focus is the Distinguished Lecturer Program, which provides a list of women geoscientists willing to lecture or conduct workshops on diverse geoscience topics. The organization also maintains a presence at many major conventions.

AWG field trips provide unique opportunities for members and friends to study geology in interesting places around the world - the 2015 field trip was held in Puerto Rico. AWG's local chapters provide frequent technical presentations, social gatherings and field trips, providing opportunities to mentor or learn from other members.

To enhance the professional growth and advancement of women in the geosciences, AWG is affiliated with societies such as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Geological Society of America. Recently, AWG has been working with other leading women’s groups to fund and sponsor short courses and reception events for career development and networking at various conventions, and it also provides a free Resume Review Service for students and young professionals. AWG provides opportunities for women to exercise their leadership skills as chapter officers or members of the Board of Directors of the AWG or the Foundation, as well as in committee work.

  • Members of the AWG Executive Committee and Board of Directors at the fall 2014 Board Meeting in Vancouver.

Awards and Scholarships

AWG, through the support of the Foundation and donors, provides several awards and scholarships to deserving women across the globe. Its first award, the Outstanding Educator Award, was established in 1988 to honor well-established college or university teachers who have played a significant role in the education and support of women geoscientists both within and outside the classroom. Since then, twenty new awards for both students and professionals have been added, ranging from $250 to $2,000. Most recently, AWG developed the AWG Professional Excellence Awards, which go to women who throughout their careers have made distinguished contributions.

If you are interested in joining AWG, or want to apply or nominate someone deserving for an award, or make a donation to the Foundation, visit www.awg.org for more information.

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