Each year, the Geophysical Society of Houston (GSH) Outreach volunteers participate in events with the aim of motivating and encouraging students to get ready for a future in the energy industry. In addition to the general public, we educate grades K–12 students. I am always astounded by how many adult student chaperones we engage.
The Outreach Committee, led by Lisa Buckner, has a battalion of volunteers working events monthly. In the year 2022-2023, 836 people visited our booths at area events showcasing STEM organizations. Although fewer in-person events have taken place since the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance is rising. There are events that draw as many as 200 observers to the demonstration booth and as few as 5 participants for judging events. Even though high attendance rates are wonderful, our primary goals are to encourage young budding scientists. We engage the children’s imaginations by demonstrating geophysical concepts and inspire them to study science in general and geophysics in particular. At a recent event, there was a demonstration showing how electrical and acoustic characteristics of the subsurface can be combined to create images for subsurface mapping of possible hydrocarbons. Outreach volunteers also provided graphic presentations to illustrate subsurface coring, acoustic waves, drilling problems, and many other topics. GSH wants to illustrate that geophysics has numerous applications in the following fields: environmental, hydrology, oil and gas extraction, carbon capture, geothermal, wind, astronomy, gravity and magnetics by drone, archeology and much more.
We frequently advise students that if they follow their passion, everything else will fall into place leading to a fulfilling career. Many of my colleagues and I have had a rewarding 40 years in the business, and still work the subsurface doing volunteer work and as a consultant.
Outreach is fulfilling and impossible without the help of generous donors such as Halliburton. Halliburton is one of the first GSH Outreach corporate donors. Halliburton recognizes the value of encouraging STEM interest. STEM studies contribute to the development of skills that alter thought processes and behavior; aid students in developing skills that will help solve difficult problems facing our society; close gender gaps and assist children in becoming future entrepreneurs. Engagng in STEM activity now increases future employability that results in a higher median salary and more satisfying work.
GSH objectives are to advance and promote science. The GSH Outreach Committee targets K–12 students. As a scientist, I find it simply refreshing and rewarding to promote the fascinating and amazing field of geophysics and STEM!
We are grateful to Halliburton, Lisa - our GSH Outreach Committee leader, the GSH volunteers, and the Houston Metro community for supporting this effort to further the field of geophysics by supporting upcoming scientists.