National Association of Black Geoscientists Conference Hosted by University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas hosted the National Association of Black Geoscientists last week on the 10th anniversary of their last visit to our campus. One hundred and nine students, faculty, business owners, corporate executives all came to Fayetteville. They were welcomed to our campus with a reception at Fowler House Conservatory hosted by Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and his wife, Sandy Steinmetz.
This was followed Thursday with a written welcome from Gov. Asa Hutchinson and a proclamation by Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan declaring Sept. 5, 2019, as National Association of Black Geoscientists Day in Fayetteville. U of A Provost Jim Coleman and Jeannine Durdik, associate dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, gave welcoming remarks.
Conference presentations reported results of research on a broad spectrum of geoscience topics ranging from energy resources to education of underserved populations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The national association awarded scholarships to 17 college students from across the United States, thanks to a generous donation from ExxonMobil. The lunch presentation was titled "The Way We Do the Things We Do" by Reginald Spiller, CEO of Azimuth Energy and former deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy. On Friday a Benefactor Luncheon was held with a presentation titled "NABG-UARK-NSF Partnership: A Decade in Retrospect, a Future in Focus" by Stephen K. Boss, professor of environmental dynamics and sustainability in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas. Each evening there were enrichment sessions for students sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union.
Saturday the final event of the conference was a field trip titled "The Morrowan Continental Shelf of Northwest Arkansas," lead by professor John Shaw from the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas.
The National Science Foundation awarded funds for student travel and expenses during the conference. This financial support enabled participation of more than 60 students from 28 universities across the United States. Over the last 10 years, NSF support for the Annual Technical Conference of NABG allowed an average of 51 students per year to attend. Over 38% of these students advance to employment in the national geoscience workforce and more than 33% have progressed to advanced degree programs in geosciences.
Jessica Mathis, a graduate student in biological anthropology, will lecture on bioarcheological applications in cultural resource management at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Discovery Hall 505.
Tomika Ferguson of Virginia Commonwealth University will present two lectures on Oct. 1, one on black women student-athletes and a second on safe spaces and visibility in the classroom.
Nearly 50 students — licensed practical nurses — from across Arkansas and beyond enrolled in the inaugural class to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing through online instruction.
Lori Birrell has been appointed associate dean for Special Collections, and Joel Thornton has been appointed interim associate dean for Research and Learning.
Evan Michelson, program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, will discuss philanthropic support for research from 1:30-3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in room 504 of the Arkansas Union.