The L. Austin Weeks Undergraduate Grant program awards deserving geoscience students and their college or university departments with $1,000 in financial funding. The award is split between a nominated student and his or her department, each receiving $500.
The grant is intended to support the educational expenses of undergraduate geoscience students and their departments. Students may use their portion of the grant to purchase equipment required for hands-on exploration (e.g., rock hammers and camping equipment). Alternatively, they may apply their funds toward tuition fees. University departments are free to use their portion of the grant to support student activities (e.g., through the purchase of necessary equipment and/or the funding of conferences and field trips).
The Foundation staff rolled out a new application process for the L. Austin Weeks Undergrad Grant program. The application process was streamlined with the implementation of a new online application. The program was also expanded to accept applications from geology departments and clubs in addition to AAPG Student Chapters. The applications for 2014 far exceeded the total number of awards available: there were 69 awards available and 108 applications. Because of this, the Foundation mobilized a group of judges to help score and assess the highest ranking applications.
The criteria this year were based on the student’s performance, intended use, and leadership experience. Each winning student’s geoscience department is the benefactor of the other half of the award. While $138,000 will be distributed, the overall need of this year’s applicants totaled $216,000. We hope that the numbers from this year shows the need for greater funding undergraduate geoscience education. We know that financial need will continue to grow, and hope that the results from this particular award cycle highlight the necessity to focus fundraising efforts for undergraduate geoscience students across the world. Click here to view a list of our winning students and their geoscience departments.