A Model for Workforce Development: PGS Student Drilling Workshop
Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm TSU - Humphries: 118
Poster Session Part of Wednesday
Kyle Fredrick, Pennsylvania Western University - California
Daniel Harris, Pennsylvania Western University - California
Tamra Schiappa, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
For over 10 years, the Pittsburgh Geological Society (PGS) has been sponsoring a field workshop for university geology students in southwestern Pennsylvania. The event centers around an exhibition by a local drilling company and includes environmental sampling of soil and water. While the event has evolved over the years, the purpose remains the same: to provide an opportunity for students to improve their education and resume through practical experience and interactions with working geoscientists in the field. Initially, the event was hosted at Slippery Rock University (SRU) and moved to California University of Pennsylvania (CalU) in 2012. Numerous faculty members from SRU, CalU, and other regional schools are active PGS members, helping to foster university/industry relationships. PGS coordinates with the driller, which provides a rig to conduct traditional techniques including mud-rotary and coring to depths up to 70 feet. In some years, a geoprobe has been provided for soil sampling. Multiple environmental and geotechnical firms have been represented by geologists donating their time and expertise. Topics covered during the event have included lectures related to field safety, basic environmental principles, regional geologic analyses, as well as professional development topics like resumes, job requirements, and networking. The workshop provides skills and knowledge students should have before their first day on the job. Alumni have reported the program gave them a leg up in job searches and even was discussed specifically during interviews. Students from multiple institutions have the opportunity to meet and faculty collaboration is encouraged. PGS has benefited from increased participation of student members, improving communication between geology students and industry professionals throughout the region. For student participants and PGS stakeholders, networks are developed and employer/employee expectations are clearer. Participating universities (SRU and CalU) have benefited from viable well fields on campus for course activities and research.