CSEG Foundation Outreach Program

The Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysics Foundation Outreach Program has been reaching out to CSEG members, the larger geoscience community and the general public in some form for the past 14 years. Founded in 2001, the program has grown from its humble beginnings as a vessel to stay connected with the membership, to the flagship of the CSEG Foundation, promoting education and awareness of geophysics across Canada. The history of the program is an inspiring story of countless volunteer hours that evolved into a diverse collection of outreach initiatives.

Presently, the program has over 100 CSEG members that volunteer for one or more of its three primary committees: K-12 Primary School Student Outreach Public Outreach and University Student Outreach. These three primary committees are focused heavily on developing awareness and education of the field of geophysics within their respective demographic.

The Program’s success is based on maturing and maintaining its relationships between the CSEG and its current members, prospective members, and university students, grade school students and the general public.

A Brief History of the Outreach Program


The CSEG Outreach committee was founded in the latter part of the year and reports directly to the CSEG Executive. The committee solicited feedback from CSEG members outside Calgary on various outreach ideas. The initial outcome was the resume posting service on the website and articles in the RECORDER from CSEG members working abroad.

2002 – 2004

The CSEG Outreach Program becomes fully active, with defined objectives to initiate programs that will broaden the Society’s focus and services to encompass all of Canada and Canadian geophysical expatriates as well as broaden awareness of geophysics amongst students and the public. Between 2002 and 2004 Outreach begins to support and/or participate in activities like “Science-in-a-Crate” with Science Alberta and Canmore Geoscience Centre’s “Stones and Bones” as well as developing Outreach-style educational, promotional and booth materials to use at career fairs. Outreach organized exhibits at the CSEG Convention, the CSEG/CSPG Honorary Address and a conference for geoscience teachers. Student Outreach hosts educational events for university and high school students along with a geoscience mixer for the post-secondary students.

2005 – 2006

The Outreach Committee develops a long-range plan with goals, objectives and deliverables. Its new mandate is “To promote awareness and raise the profile of the science of geophysics and the CSEG” which sounds very similar to the theme of the CSEG Foundation’s current mandate. School Outreach consults with the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Science Network about giving presentations on careers in geophysics to Calgary High Schools. 2005 marks the establishment of the Young Geophysicist Forum, now the Junior Geophysicists Forum (JGF) and the CSEG Ambassador Program. In 2006 Outreach begins supporting and attending the Kids In Science Program (KISP) and, in conjunction with the CAGC, Seismic In Motion for Students (SIMfS). Outreach begins to extend its influence across Canada in 2006 by sending representatives to events like the Western Inter-University Geosciences Conference (WIUGC) and the Victoria Career Fair.

2007 – 2008

The CSEG Outreach Committee is cited, along with the CAGC, by Mayor Bronconnier, for their project Seismic in Motion for Students, which wins the 2008 Mayor’s Excellence Award in the category “School-to- Work Transition”. CSEG Outreach is also awarded the Calgary Board of Education’s Lighthouse award in 2008 for its participation in the Seismic in Motion for Students Field School (SIMfS). Outreach continues at a national level with representatives attending major career fairs in Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Cochrane as well as the Schools Careers Practitioners’ Convention in Edmonton and to Petroleum Discovery Centre’s careers day in Devon. Joint ventures with like-minded organizations are on the rise with organizations like the CSPG, CAGC, APEGA and CGEN. Recognizing the financial burden on post-secondary students, Outreach secures corporate sponsorship from 2007 onward for student members and there is a marked increase in the number of students registering with the society, which is another measure of the increasing success of the program. The first annual CSEG Challenge Bowl is held during the 2008 convention for competing teams of university students. The University Student Outreach (USO) is established in 2008 as a sub-committee tasked to ramp up outreach to post-secondary students.

2009 – 2010

Thanks to the concerted efforts by the USO subcommittee, student memberships have increased over the past two years from about 70 to almost 250. USO activities included sponsoring and attending with the CSEG Outreach booth, attending and presenting Best Geophysical Paper awards at undergraduate conferences, maintaining email and newsletter communications with students, making connections between students and the Scholarship committee, establishing a student area at the convention, helping to deliver GeoSkills for university students and junior geophysicists, the creating of the travel grants and learning subsidies and founding Geophysical Industry Field Trip (GIFT). A long time in the making, Outreach operations are now under the CSEG Foundation in January 2010. In 2010, Earth Science for Society (ESfS) becomes a major Outreach initiative replacing the Kids In Science Program (KISP). USO also liaises with other organizations for events like AAPG’s Imperial Barrel Award, University of Calgary’s EAGE student chapter talks, and APEGA’s Alberta Student Energy Conference. The Mentorship program was successfully launched in 2009 as a valuable resource for our university student members.

2011 – 2015

CSEG Outreach is in full swing, with well over 100 active volunteers. Events are held or attended across the nation through Outreach and its subcommittees like USO and the Ambassador Program. Earth Science for Society (ESfS) replaces the Kids In Science Program (KISP) as a major Outreach initiative. University Student Outreach assisted a record 398 university students to become CSEG members and is recognized by the Scholarship Committee in the 2012 Annual Report for helping increase our applicants by 50% from 2011. The USO also cooperates with other organizations to administer events such AAPG’s Imperial Barrel Award, the Calgary Talk Series, CSEG/ EAGE’s student chapter talks, and APEGA’s Alberta Student Energy Conference. The success of the Mentorship Program continues and participation with students and mentors from industry grows significantly, reaching over 60 mentor-mentee pairings in 2014. In order to further geoscience education, the Educational Resources sub-committee is established in 2014 to create a complete online source of educational materials, lesson plans, and experiments related to the field of geophysics and directly associated with the Alberta curriculum, for the use of teachers and students.


Governance and Structure

In order to maintain and grow its many initiatives, the CSEG Outreach Program has its own governance, Committee Handbook, support documentation and training available. The Outreach Chair/Co-Chairs oversee the operation of the Outreach Committee, maintains an awareness of the work of all sub-committees and reports directly to the CSEGF Board, as one of the Board’s Directors. The Chair communicates regularly with sub-committee Chairs to ensure they have the resources to support their projects and to provide strategic guidance.

Fig. 01
Figure 1. CSEG Foundation Outreach Committee overview

Working closely with the Chair/Co-Chairs is the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the three major subcommittee Chairs (Figure 1). The Secretary assists the Chair/Co-Chairs with meetings and group communications and maintains important committee documentation. The Treasurer is responsible for coordinating the budget, overseeing all expenses of the committee, verifying or correcting classifications, meeting with the accountant once a month, and sending the accountant’s reports to the Chair and subcommittees. There are several support roles to the Outreach Committee Leadership, including Communications and Archivist roles.

University Student Outreach Committee

University Student Outreach works towards helping post-secondary students develop and connect to industry. The USO maintains communication with students through email and regular newsletters to help promote CSEG and CSEGF events and opportunities, liaises with other organizations and to help administer events, organizes a student area at the Geoconvention, as well as offering the Mentorship Program, the Challenge Bowl, and the Geophysics Industry Field Trip (GIFT) for over 40 university students from universities across Canada (Figure 2).

Fig. 02
Figure 2. University Student Outreach Committee overview

Public Outreach Committee overview

The Public Outreach Committee attends career fairs and assorted exhibitions across Canada, talking to the public about geophysics. Outreach travels with one of the CSEG booths, including presentations, interactive seismic displays and other teaching aids to help explain the science of geophysics. Public Outreach administers ESfS, CSPG/CSEG Honorary Address and until mid-2015, the CSEG Ambassador Program, before it was adopted under the CSEG Executive.

School Outreach Committee overview

The School Outreach Committee develops and assists in the scheduling of CSEG volunteers for geoscience and geoscience career presentations at schools, teacher conventions and science fairs. The Educational Resources sub-committee works to create a complete online source of educational materials, lesson plans, and experiments related to the field of geophysics and directly associated with the Alberta curriculum, for the use of teachers and students. The committee hosts high school students and teachers from local high schools at the Seismic in Motion for Students field trip.


Since 2003, CSEG Outreach in its various forms has attended well over 200 career fairs, career fairs and conferences. Through events like KISP, ESfS and SIMfS the program has helped promote Geophysics in Canada to thousands of students and the general public as well. Outreach has helped develop hundreds of post-secondary students through USO activities, the Mentorship Program, GIFT, JGF, Challenge Bowl and supporting inter-society events like the GeoSkills and AAPG Imperial Barrel Awards.

The success and sustainability of the CSEG Outreach Program is due to its continued volunteer support. If you are a current or past volunteer of the Outreach Committee, take pride in our shared accomplishments. If you are looking for a great opportunity to be part of the Outreach Program’s future success, please contact volunteer@cseg.ca. From its humble beginnings of a three person committee to a large organization by its own right, the CSEG Outreach Program is a big part of what makes the CSEG and the CSEGF a successful technical society.



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