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EDITOR’S CORNER Inside this Issue John L. Berry, CPG-04032

This issue of TPG is very strongly focused on issues that concern students and young professionals, as well as those older folks who worry about the future of our profession.

A large part of the focus on student con- cerns comes from the student scholarship winners’ essays, which revolve mainly around three themes, which may be summarized as “Geologists are born, not made”, “I want to use my life to help my country and the world” and, this year in greater measure than usual, “thank you, AIPG, for making my college career possible, for I am a first-generation student.” In this last category we have minor- ity students, older students, and students who have, to one extent or another, gone against a family tradition that does not value college. We, as an organization, should be very proud of helping to make these students’ dreams possible. It means a lot to them: I myself was forced to fund my entire education through scholarships and work, and in those days there were no student loans. If I had known about the scholarships like those offered by AIPG and its sections, and won one, it would have made a crucial difference.

Many of the students give thanks to their parents, childhood mentors, or inspiring professors not so much for encouraging them in their careers, but for bringing them to realize that geology was the only possible career for them. This speaks to the benefits of the American educational system, which is much more generalized than that of most other countries, thus allowing students to try out in college options that would have been closed out for them at a much younger age in other lands. We may criticize, often with good reason, the poor quality of

STEM teaching in our grade schools: in many ways that is a by-product of this generalized educational system: we should perhaps be wary of forcing too much STEM on students too early. I’d love to see a discussion on this topic in our pages – I could argue both sides of the question!

Finally, there is a strong strain of idealism in this group of students. We may not entirely agree with some of their premises, but it is idealism that drove many of us at their age, and it is idealism that will drive their best contributions to the future, and protect them against the cynicism born of disappointments and old age.

We should be proud of this group of students, and proud of ourselves for discovering and fostering them.

The other great theme of this issue is that of the future of the profession and our Institute. David Abbott and Doug Bartlett discuss the age distribution of our practitioners, and how the retirement of the baby boomers is, as David says ”providing significant opportunities for younger geoscientists to pursue life-long careers in the geosciences.” This will be welcome news to those eager students: they might also draw some food for thought in that David’s graphs show that many of us love the work so much that we continue practicing well past the “official” retirement age. Doug’s contribution tells much of the reason for this: the field gets more and more exciting with new academic discoveries and ever more challenging needs being presented by Society.

Cortney Cameron’s paper looks at the influence of technolo- gy on the future of geology by surveying experienced geologists and economists. What should geologists fear from automation, if anything? Her answer basically follows on from Doug’s com- ments. Yes, the routine tasks will be, more and more, taken over by High Tech (an expression I detest), but the field is expanding in so many directions that highly-trained and very imaginative geologists will be needed more and more to take over from where technology leaves off. The drudgery will be done for us, so they say! We have several pieces in this issue from AGI that revolve around this same worry: How easy is it to get a job after school, and how is the work evolving? Their answer is: It depends! Read the articles to see how.


The Editor would like to apologize to Barbara Murphy and our readers for giving her name and location wrongly in the list of national award recipients on page 9 of the last issue: it is Barbara Murphy of Glendale, AZ, not Barbara Murray of Scottsdale.

Jul.Aug.Sep 2018 • TPG 7

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