The 2017 SEG conference held in Houston, Texas, from September 24 to 29, was a great experience and opportunity for students, professionals, industry and academia to come together and share advances in geophysics. As students, we were highly encouraged by our universities and professors to attend the conference and learn beyond the classroom. The technical talks, networking opportunities with companies and employers, exposition hall, and poster presentations gave us invaluable knowledge that will give us better preparation for our careers. The city of Houston, like the conference, was welcoming and friendly, showing strong signs of growth after Hurricane Harvey. In addition to the conference, we had the opportunity to experience an Astros MLB game and visit the Johnson Space Center, providing us with a taste of Texas and the fun to be had beyond the conference days. SEG International Exposition 2017 was an energetic and riveting event. We thank Houston for hosting us and everyone who supported us in our travels and attendance of the conference.

The conference serves as a platform where innovations and advancement in the geophysics fields are featured. Nowhere was this more evident than in the technical talks. Researchers from institutions and organizations across the globe presented their work enthusiastically to attentive audiences that included fellow researchers and students. The choices of oral presentations available for us to attend were enlightening and covered almost every niche. We chose to attend the ones most pertinent to our current studies and interests, including talks featuring microseismic, full waveform inversion (FWI) and the use of un-manned airborne vehicles (UAVs) in geophysical exploration. This was a brilliant opportunity for us to learn about innovative concepts to which we would otherwise be unexposed, and to gain insight into cutting-edge developments within the industry!

The exposition hall remains the highlight for many fellow students. There was an appreciable air of innovation, knowledge sharing, excitement and optimism on the floor. The enthusiasm and eagerness with which professionals on the exposition floor spoke with students was enlivening. We were particularly excited by Canadian companies and professionals, who were very well represented and always happy to share their experiences with us. Many of us received invitations to post-exposition get-togethers, where we heard more about the experiences and varied career paths of Canadians in the industry. Besides the informal atmosphere, we relished the more formal opportunities we received to speak with passionate people from various organizations. They provided us with wisdom on how to become the most powerful and insightful versions of ourselves, and what to expect when working in the various roles of geophysics. It was inspirational, and we came away from the interactions with two keywords – perseverance and timing. These words will surely continue to guide and spur us throughout our careers.

It was invigorating to chat with and learn from students and industry representatives from across the world and discover their perspectives on the future of geophysics. The conference provided an unparalleled opportunity for us to meet and connect with stalwarts of the industry in both formal and informal settings, motivating us as students as we embark on our journey to assert ourselves in the geophysics world. We appreciated that the networking at SEG was often informal, with attendees interested in where we were from, what courses our universities offer, the business development side of the companies, and more. As students, we were encouraged by conversations that did not primarily revolve around the job hunt. It was enlightening to imagine how our futures may look as geophysicists, and the prospects motivate us to optimize our time as students. We greatly appreciated the time and attention devoted by the attendees to speak to students, which inspires us to continue working toward our career goals and focus on what is ahead.

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Canadian students at the SEG conference in Houston, September 2017. From left to right: Sean Pasek, Davis Wajda, Kathleen McLean, Brandon Neufeld, Cody Good, Jessica Zerb.

This year, students came from Jack James and Forest Lawn High Schools, Ernest Manning High School and Nelson Mandela High School. We also hosted home-schooled students. These high school students joined postsecondary students from the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University and SAIT, and teachers, industry and government personnel, on scheduled visits to the demonstration stations led by volunteer CSEG Outreach guides. To finish the day, everyone enjoyed seeing mulcher and live explosives demonstrations and a simulated helicopter rescue.

Many thanks go to the coordinators from CSEGF Outreach: Alessandro Carducci, Diane Lespinasse, Kurt Mulhall and Annette Milbradt. The pre-trip in-school presentations to the students were given by Richard Gray. Our volunteer guides this year were Sobhi Alhashwa, Dunia Blanco Acuna, Trevor de Graaf, John Evans, Joel Fuller, Richard Gray, Rick Green, Mike Hartley, Victor Hoang, Muhammad Ikram-Ul-Haq, Scott Janzen, Caitlin Latimer, Chris Lane, Mark Lane, Peter Laws, Wayne McKinnon, Andrew Mills, Ken Mitchell, Kayla Mulhall, Mark Nergaard, Stefan Prisacari, Neil Rutherford, Tacita Schmid, Samantha Sellars, Chelsea Squires, Matt Torriero, Marissa Whittaker, Cody Will, and Lauren Zvanciuk. Helen Isaac, Annette Milbradt and Mark Lane presented at the CSEG station, where they gave an overview of seismic activities and how they fit into the big picture. A huge thanks goes to all presenters and volunteer guides. We also greatly appreciate the support of our generous sponsors who make this valuable experience available to the students.


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