BY STEPHEN KOTKAS |

For the past 50 years, the CSEG has been awarding scholarships to worthy geophysical candidates in continuing education across Canada. Each year we receive upwards of 50 applicants and award up to 16 scholarships. Over the past half century, the CSEG has awarded close to $1.5 million in scholarships, and each is currently valued at $2000.

To qualify for a university student award, students must be enrolled at a Canadian university in an academic program leading to a career in industry, teaching, or research. Scholarships are awarded based on academic performance, financial need, interest in geophysics and extra-curricular activities. In addition, the Foundation awards up to two university entrance scholarships aimed at high school graduates.

The CSEG Scholarship Committee is part of the CSEG Foundation and is run each year by volunteers tasked with soliciting and assessing scholarship applications. Scholarships are funded primarily through corporate and individual donations, social events, and interest generated from memorial trust funds.

The benefits of providing and receiving a scholarship are many and surpass the monetary value of the scholarships. Scholarships open the door to make connections and develop relationships among industry professionals and geophysical students.

Darren Hinks, a Senior Geophysicist with Athabasca Oil Corporation, writes, “As a student receiving a scholarship from the CSEG Foundation, the award introduced me to the industry beyond academia as my scholarship was tied to a specific company donor. The CSEG became a presence in my early career beyond receiving a scholarship, with many of their programs and events that create a community that encourages lifelong learning.” According to Chris Bird, a Senior Geophysicist at ARC Resources Ltd, “When I was a student and received a CSEG scholarship, it was helpful to me for a couple of reasons: the obvious reason is that it provided some greatly appreciated financial support. But receiving the CSEG scholarship was also my introduction to the broader geophysics’ community. And from then on, I was much more cognizant of all the great programs that the CSEG offers.” The programs Chris mentions include the mentorship program, technical webinars, luncheons, DoodleTrain, and Doodlespiel, to name just a few. These programs build relationships in the geophysical community and foster a mindset of continual growth and professional development.

Peter Gagliargi, a Senior Analytics Engineering Specialist with Shell Canada, writes, “Receiving the CSEG scholarship really opened my eyes to a community that was present among geophysicists. It encouraged me to put in a serious effort to attending and submitting abstracts for GeoConvention, and to volunteer with Earth Science for Society. It also opened the door to attending the Junior Geophysicists Forum (JGF), both as a student and as a professional.” The Junior Geophysicists Forum is offered by the CSEG as a way for students and recent geophysical graduates to network with industry professionals who have vast experience. This is yet another example of how the CSEG builds relationships between geophysicists and increases professional capacity.

The CSEG Scholarship Committee would like to thank all the generous scholarship sponsors for their support in 2022. Personal sponsors for the 2022 CSEG scholarships were Brian Russell, Cec Keeping, Darren Hinks, Ian Watson, Dennis Ellison, Regan Kennedy, Pierre Marechal and Nilanjan Ganguly. Corporate sponsors this year include Tamarack Valley Energy, Birchcliff Energy, Earth Signal, Pulse Seismic, Tourmaline Oil Corp., North American Helium, Imperial Oil, Key Seismic, Ikon Seismic and SeisWare. Such sponsorship contributes greatly to the education of geophysics students and the advancement of the field of geophysics in Canada.

About the Author:

Stephen Kotkas started his career in the energy sector in 2007 as a geophysical data broker with Sigma Explorations after a career change from the Calgary Board of Education. In 2019 he was nominated to the Board of Directors at Sigma. Since 2007 Stephen has been an extremely involved volunteer for the CSEG in several roles including Director of Member Services, CSEG Foundation Board member, and University Student Outreach in a variety of roles and capacities. He enjoys being an active member of the CSEG as both a participant and volunteer.

Outside of work, Stephen is passionate about playing and coaching amateur sport and outdoor pursuits with his family.

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