ESCI Staff Visit Pittsburgh for GSA

Kaleigh & Jen at Grad recruitment booth
Jen and Kaleigh at the grad booth with calling cards and department swag.

For the past few years the department has made an effort to do recruitment at two of the major geoscience conferences in the US: GSA (Geological Society of America) and AGU (American Geophysical Union) conferences. This year, GSA was held in Pittsburgh, and both Jen Petrie, and Kaleigh Swift attended in order to staff a graduate recruitment booth. Typically, the conferences out east have a lower attendance than those held elsewhere, but Kaleigh and Jen were both excited to attend. Very few folks in the department presented at the conference, but those who did also made an effort to help with the grad booth. Additionally, CSD Facility had their own booth with interactive activities including a scavenger hunt! The CSD Facility booth was staffed by Anders Noren, Kat Cantner, and Brian Grivna from the Facility.

Photo of River in Pittsburgh
Photo of Allegheny River and PNC park in Pittsburgh taken from convention center.

The weeks leading up to the conference are busy for the front office staff. Jen and Kaleigh spent time designing and ordering new merch, stocking up on items that were popular in the past, and deciding what all needs to come with. They ended up packing two full boxes of merch and material for the booth. One popular and useful item they bring are “calling cards”. Jen got the idea for “calling cards” a few years ago at GSA when Rice University had what appeared to be baseball trading cards for each of their faculty. ESCI quickly made their own version of the cards, and debuted them at GSA in Denver last year. “Calling cards” have since become very popular at AGU and GSA, and both Jen and Kaleigh received numerous compliments on how great of an idea they were at GSA t. The “calling cards” are the size of an index card with faculty contact information and research areas. This is an easier way to present the faculty who are admitting graduate students for the following year to prospective graduate students. They allow staff to curate a selection of potential advisors for prospective students, rather than giving them information on all faculty. They also make great trading cards!

Photo of GSA Conference Hall
Photo of GSA Conference Hall

At a conference there are typically two types of folks who stop by the grad recruitment booth: those looking for information about graduate programs, and those looking for cool swag items. This year, swag items didn’t go as fast as in past years. Most people who stopped by the booth wanted to talk about graduate programs. This was exciting because conferences are important for recruitment efforts. Last year the department admitted three graduate students who were direct recruits from GSA or AGU. Two of those three accepted our offer and our now first year Ph.D. students in the department. 

Viven Presenting Poster
Ph.D. Student Viven Sharma presenting his poster titled "Effect of plate coupling and gravitational force on forearc stresses"

Alumni also stopped by to catch up with Jen and Kaleigh see how things were going in the department. Though GSA was a smaller conference this year, mostly due to its location, it was great to chat with those who did attend. Kaleigh and Jen are hopeful that with AGU being in San Francisco this year, more faculty, graduate students, alumni, and department friends will be in attendance. Especially because ESCI has opted to hold the Alumni Reception at AGU this year. The Alumni reception runs from 5:30 to 8:00 pm, Monday, December 11th at the Cheiftain Irish Pub & Restaurant. If you’re local to SF or plan to attend the conference, please stop by!

Photo of downtown pittsburgh
Downtown Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh was a beautiful city with a lot of character. The city has a vibe much like downtown St. Paul. Neither Kaleigh or Jen had very much time to explore, but would love to go back in the future to visit some of the world renowned museums and other cool sites!

GSA 2024
GSA 2024 poster