The 16th Junior Geophysicist’s Forum (JGF) saw students, new graduates and experienced geoscientists alike pile into the familiar Devonian Room at the Calgary Petroleum Club. Far from routine, this year’s event format flipped the script on its participants, who were transformed from event attendees to idea-sharers, shot-callers and other such empowered hyphenates. The “flipped classroom approach,” a phrase often heard buzzing around teacher’s conferences, and a strategy under implementation in some classrooms at the University of Calgary, was used to generate valuable, small group discussion that ultimately led to some surprising revelations and new ideas. Here’s how it worked: four topics of discussion, which were identified as being very important to geoscientists today, were decided upon by the JGF planning committee – New Data Tools, Canadian Energy Policy, The Future of Work, and Economic Value in Geophysics. JGF participants were then asked, upon registration, to rank which of these topics they’d most like to discuss (and, to our surprise, the attendees were split almost exactly in quarters for their level of interest in each topic). On the day, the four groups, consisting of approximately 25 people each (the “large groups”), would congregate in a “corner” of the semi-circular Devonian Room, where they would be further split into groups of 6 (the “small groups”), and guided into discussion with a few ice-breaker questions on their topic. After 20 minutes of discussion, the small groups would reconvene into their larger groups, with a delegate chosen to speak on behalf of each of the small groups to distil their core ideas. After another 15 minute discussion, a captain would be chosen from each of the 4 topic areas to address the entire congregation, given 2 minutes to pitch their learnings.
This is how it was supposed to go. What the planning committee didn’t account for was how stimulated everyone would be by the small group discussions. The small-group discussion time doubled, and the pitches from the group captains were near triple what was planned. The attendees had spoken. They hadn’t known it yet, but this was the event they were waiting for. Given the floor, geoscientists overflowed with discussion points, challenges to be addressed, and unique solutions to many of the problems facing our industry today. When surveyed about whether they’d like to see more events of this format in the future, 100% of respondents said 'yes'. It’s become clear that open discussion, with just a little bit of structure, can be crucial in bringing the thoughts and opinions of our membership to the forefront.
The event was also the perfect occasion to introduce the next iteration of the CSEG Foundation’s Mentorship Program, headed by Nathan Fester and Alexandria Shrake, and to announce the past year’s winners for the Mentor and Mentee of the Year – congratulations to Trevor Boyce and Penny Pan, the respective recipients of the inaugural award. Also, a special thank you to the Calgary Petroleum Club for raffling off one free junior membership to a lucky attendee: Ashlee Fudge, congratulations on becoming the Calgary Petroleum Club’s newest junior member! To everyone who attended – thank you so much for coming! We believe the event was a smashing success, and plan to do more like it in the future. To our sponsors in every category, thank you for seeing the importance of such a discussion amongst the CSEG membership; your faith in this experimental exercise speaks volumes. Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor, Explor, for contributing not just resources, but the wisdom of your leader, Al Chatenay, who started off the event with hope for our industry and the future of our science. Thank you to Husky Energy, Absolute Imaging, LXL
Consulting and TGS for your very generous Gold Sponsorship. In the Silver category, thank you to RPS, Earth Signal Processing Ltd, Katalyst Data Management and Synterra Technologies. And finally, thank you to our Bronze Sponsors, Seisware, Statcom Ltd and the Modern Miracle Network. The JGF hopes to see you next year!