VIDEO: GSA-GSN Mentors Early Career Geoscientists, Discusses ‘International Opportunities, Career Pathways for Geoscientists.’

President, Geological Society of Nigeria, Mr. Uba Sa’idu Malami and some young geologists and geoscience enthusiasts, connect to the GSA-GSN Webinar, at the Abuja Office of the Geological Society, Asokoro, Abuja, recently.


In collaboration with the Geological Society of Nigeria, the Geological Society of America has convened a webinar on ‘international opportunities and career pathways for geoscientists,’ during which panelists from the United States, Nigeria and Ghana counseled a diverse audience of early career geoscientists, students and geoscience enthusiasts from Africa, America, Asia and other continents of the world.

The panelists of global renown include outstanding geoscientists in industry and academia and a non-geoscientist whose venture into geosciences earned her eminence and recognition.

The panelists shared their diverse experiences and made presentations on topical issues in the industry, and they have continued to provide answers to over 100 questions on salient and trending issues in the geosciences even after the webinar.

Esther Sztein of the Geological Society of America said the webinar aims to provide the younger generation of geoscientists with the information they need to navigate their career paths within the global geosciences community.

In her presentation, Dr. Chioma Onwumelu of the Geological Society of America said volunteering and associating with the right professional organizations are crucial to advancement in a geosciences career. She stated, ‘Early in my career, I joined the Geological Society of America (GSA) and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).’

“I realized that there are a lot of benefits to being an active member. So, I took up various volunteer roles, such as committee membership, serving as vice president, and also as president of different student chapters.”

She said the volunteer roles afforded her the opportunity to develop her leadership skills as well as enable her to build a strong professional network.

“While I was president of a student chapter, I had the opportunity to

organize events. As such, I was able to connect with other professionals. I also learned management skills and teamwork,” she said.

Discussing the importance of volunteering in the geosciences, Dr. Onwumelu said: “Volunteering connected me with people who were ahead of me in the profession and who became mentors from whom I learned so much. They soon helped me navigate through the challenges in the industry. Through the connection I made via volunteering and networking, I gained deep geological insights that I would not have gained on my own.”

“I consistently sought training opportunities, attended workshops and seminars, and took several free online courses relevant to my field. By so doing, I enhance my technical skills. The trainings opened the doors through which I met great people of knowledge for free.”

Onwumelu identified “collaboration” as a factor that also played a crucial role in her career advancement, saying that by being active in professional communities like GSA, she gained opportunities to be part of collaborative projects and speaking engagements such as the GSA-GSN webinar.

Georgette Barnes Saki Addo, Chief Executive Officer, Georgette Barnes Saki Addo Limited, Ghana, pointed out that she has attained some prominence in the geosciences, but noted that she was not originally a trained geoscientist.

She stated, “My own journey is very different; I am not a geoscientist, but I have become somebody in the sector that I did not originally study for.”

While saying that she took certificate courses in mining engineering, she said she found a career for herself in the natural resources sector.

Barnes, who agreed that the mining sector is projected to witness significant expansion by 2030, pointed out that Africa is expected to be the fastest growing region for minerals and metals.

In this regard, she explained that job openings in geology, engineering, and other related professions are scheduled to increase by over 40%.

While saying that major infrastructure projects are being planned across

To accommodate the anticipated boom, Barnes tasked policymakers with intensifying the teaching of earth science in schools and colleges, stating that the market is available and it will add to the creation of jobs as projected.

“Geoscience is relevant today and into the future,” she stated, and she expressed concern that in Africa, there is a need to encourage the participation of more women in the geosciences profession.

She challenged young geoscientists to “innovate” and deploy digital methods for geoscience advancement, stating that they should embrace technological aspects.

“There are some projects in Africa, such as the mine project in Mali that is remote-controlled from Australia through technology,” Barnes stated, and challenged early career geoscientists to aim very high and achieve greater feats.

On his part, the Academic Head of Department, Geology, University of Abuja, Dr. Aminu Isyaku, who described his foray into geosciences as accidental and delightful, said he became interested in geology when he learned that geology is related to raw materials, oil and gas, and solid minerals, adding that its very wide scope offers a spectrum of career opportunities for practitioners.

Isyaku, who is the National Committee Chairman, UNESCO International Geosciences Program, said he found the study of geology exceptionally interesting; a phenomenon he said inspired him to specialize in engineering geology and subsequently pursue basin analysis and tectonics at the Philosopher Degree (PhD) level.

The expert in geology and policy, who spoke from an academic perspective, expressed concern that most geology programs are shutting down in universities, a trend he said has led to a decrease in funding for geosciences research, development and teaching.

According to the expert, Africa needs more geologists and geoscientists, adding that there is a need for concern when students are less interested in pursuing geology and noting that mentorship and counseling are very important.

at this point in time in order to correct the misconception and downward trend.

Isyaku further made the point that geology should not be misconstrued as limited to oil and gas, age dating of rocks and minerals, and environmental pollution, but that it should be correctly understood as encompassing a wide range of endeavors that cover the entire earth, stating that “geology offers a uniquely vast opportunity for career development and interesting means of livelihood.”

While saying that geoscientists need to be more successful in the effort to link geosciences to society and sustainable development, Isyaku called the attention of his audience to the need for deeper understanding and strategic deployment of geosciences in the pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to him, strategic application of the geosciences will lead to the realization of the set development goals of the United Nations.

Discussing the need for early career geoscientists to embrace multidisciplinary geosciences, Dr. Isyaku explained: “In my case, I started as a geologist, but I had to broaden out into different aspects of applied geology, engineering geology, geophysics and geological remote sensing to do a lot more of my work,” adding that some emerging technology and trends in the geosciences include the latest aspects in machine learning for analysis of large datasets, excavations and seismic data interpretation.

While he explained that “remote sensing is an interesting field in the geosciences, he added that there are also emerging developments in mapping, mineral exploration, environmental monitoring and disaster management.”

Dr. Isyaku said geology has a role to play in mitigating and averting disasters in the housing sector. He said geology exists to serve some aspects of the built environment, saying that it is important to ensure that certified geologists test samples of rocks and soils to ensure the stability of buildings that will be put up on construction sites.

“Artificial intelligence and digital transformation in geosciences are also new.

areas that I encourage early career geologists and geoscientists to embrace,” he said, adding that geological agriculture, which involves the cultivation of plants in rocks without the use of soils and fertilizers, is one of the most delightful and interesting aspects of modern geosciences.

Dr. Isyaku, who disclosed that Spokane Community College, USA, is pioneering research in this new field, encouraged early career geologists and geoscientists to broaden their horizons and take up pioneering roles that will earn them opportunities to contribute to the geoscience discoveries of their generation.

“Agro-geology is another very interesting aspect that is relatively new and offers career opportunities for geologists,” he added.

In his presentation, Entrepreneurial Geologist and Gemstones Development Expert, Mr. Makoju Aduku, said entrepreneurial opportunities abound in geology. He explained that nearly every attribute of a house can be linked to geology and the geosciences.

The moderator of the webinar, Dr. Amira Adamu Waziri, CEO of Bogaru Labs and Member of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (Mining Thematic), reiterated that geoscience jobs are expected to rise by 5% over the next decade. According to Waziri, the projection shows how the geosciences will lead the way for global job creation, stating that ‘it is faster than average for all occupations.’

Waziri therefore commended the President of the Geological Society of America, Christopher ‘Chuck’ M. Bailey, the President of the Geological Society of Nigeria, Mr. Uba Saidu Malami and the Executive Director and CEO of the GSA, Melanie Brandt, for initiating the webinar, which aims to ensure that geoscientists key into emerging opportunities.

watch webinar video here;

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