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Scholarships: Paying it forward and empowering the next generation.

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Articles in the Interview Series for the GSH Journal feature one-to-one conversations with scientists to help connect individuals in the fast-paced global business of geoscience. In these interviews. we learn about the people that drive innovation and the science that inspires them. These interviews allow the reader to enrich their own careers with examples from others experiences.


Industry Expert Interview Series: Kevin Bain


Rene: For this interview I am happy to be speaking to Kevin Bain, recipient of the 2022 GSH (Geophysical Society of Houston) scholarship. GSH is delighted to support the next generation of scientists in our field of Geophysics. Kevin, what moment or event got you interested in geophysics?


Kevin: My father is also a geophysicist, so without him I’m not sure I would’ve known what geophysics is and that one can make an interesting career as a geophysicist. I love physics and want a career applying science. I have always been intrigued by the search for the unknown. I dabbled in archaeology and paleontology before finally deciding on geophysics.


Rene: What part of funding your education is scholarships?


Kevin: I have used scholarships to offset the expenses of tuition.


Rene: How did you learn about the HGS Carlton-Ferron scholarships?


Kevin: I was fortunate to learn of the HGS Carlton-Ferron scholarship from the SEG. The SEG remains a valuable source for both the aspiring student and professional geophysicist. I have previously benefited from other financial support as the result of the SEG, so I am very grateful.


Rene: What has been your most fun course and what about the course that makes it fun?


Kevin: Of my doctoral program I would have to say Rock Physics with Professor John Castagna. He is a master of the topic and presents the fascinating development of the topic in both a historical context and as practical application. He literally makes you rethink what you know of wave propagation and reservoir characterization.


Rene: Would you like to recognize any professor or teachers that have inspired you? And what qualities about them inspire you?


Kevin: Professor Clark Wilson of the University of Texas inspired me to integrate all my interests into my academic pursuits. I had amazing field research opportunities as a result. I will continue to incorporate his advice into my professional development.


Rene: Universities have changed several times in the implementation of field trip course work combining Geology and Geophysics? Any field trip stories to share on being out in the field and all the lessons coming together for a great aha-moment?


Kevin: I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work among an international team of geologists and geophysicists conducting a seismic survey in the Arctic Sea. Conditions were quite harsh, and the operational environment was risky for personnel and equipment. A collaborative ethos and tireless work ethic made a near impossible acquisition successful. Inspiration is great, but hard work truly makes the difference. My takeaway was to be prepared to start all over again and understand that failure can be the final ingredient to success.


Rene: Kevin, your lesson in the Artic is a powerful message for a successful future! Can you tell us about your dissertation topic, how you developed this topic and the ongoing research?


Kevin: I am investigating the application of spectral decomposition to enhance legacy seismic datasets for petroleum exploration. As the complexity and costs of new seismic acquisitions increase, I believe there is residual value in existing datasets when new technologies are applied to them. Most exploration companies do not have the seismic budget anywhere near those of the Majors. Smaller companies can be competitive if they remain up to date on emerging technologies and remain willing to attempt new techniques.


Rene: Have you presented posters at state and national? Any outstanding poster session that you would like to mention and describe?


Kevin: I have been provided multiple opportunities to share my work. Houston SEG remains my favorite because it was my first time presenting and I was able to speak to so many of my friends and colleagues. I really felt like one of the team.


Rene: Steven King showed the insanity of ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy’ in the movie ‘The Shining’. What hobbies or sports do you like that balance out the diligent studies of a future scientist?


Kevin: I believe volunteer work is essential to earning your place as a citizen in your community. Find an event, organization or community that needs help and that you can positively affect. My hobbies have mostly been related to these volunteer pursuits.


Rene: Any advice or words of wisdom for the incoming geophysical freshman?

Kevin: Learn all you can about wave motion. We are expected to be the subject matter experts and a fundamental understanding of wave propagation is essential.


Rene: When is your graduation and what is your goal after graduation?


Kevin: I expect to graduate within the next two years, and I’ll keep my options open. The USA is at an interesting point in her history. She needs motivated and educated people to help ensure security and prosperity through this century. The petroleum industry is essential in this pursuit.

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