The 54th Western Inter-University Geosciences conference (WIUGC) was hosted by the University of Regina DM Kent Club from January 10th to 13th. The WIUGC is an annual student-run conference that alternates between universities across Western Canada. This year’s event welcomed over 150 student attendees and professional delegates from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The conference provided opportunities for students to come together to further their career development and knowledge through technical workshops, short courses, and field trips. There were many networking opportunities during the multiple social events over the four days of the conference. These included a guided tour of K+S Potash Mine near Bethune, a core logging short course hosted by the Saskatchewan Geological Survey at the subsurface lab, a GIS short course hosted by the University of Regina, and an interactive Tyndall stone/Paleo tour hosted by the University and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.
The CSEG was represented throughout the entire conference by Elizabeth Ramsey, geophysicist IT at TAQA, and Shelby Perreault, geophysicist IT at Nexen. On Friday evening, Elizabeth gave a presentation on the Value of Integrated Geophysics, originally created by Lee Hunt. The talk outlined the role seismic data plays in the Canadian oil and gas industry, how that role has evolved, how the value of seismic data has come in to question, and how value can be assigned to it using decision analysis.
Following the talk, Shelby hosted the CSEG Foundation Challenge Bowl, an action-packed geoscience quiz game. The WIUGC Challenge Bowl, which serves as a regional qualifier for the National Challenge Bowl, took place at GeoConvention on May 9th. The winners of the WIUGC Challenge Bowl received an all-expense paid trip to GeoConvention to compete in the national final. The winners of the final (U of A) receive an all-expense paid trip to compete in the International Challenge Bowl Finals at the SEG annual meeting in Anaheim, California. Teams from the University of Alberta, Brandon University, the University of Calgary, the University of Manitoba, Mount Royal University, the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan competed. The crowd at the WIUGC has become known for their enthusiastic cheering at their Challenge Bowl and did not fail to meet expectations. Darby Desrosiers and Alex Patterson from Mount Royal University won the competition, followed closely by Jesse Hilvo and Kathleen McLean from the University of Alberta, and Eddie Barrow and Cole Stocki from the University of Manitoba.
Shelby and Elizabeth also judged student posters and presentations, and were impressed by the breadth of work, creativity and enthusiasm presented by primarily undergraduate students. The CSEGF sponsored the second-place oral presentation award, given to Courtney Onstad from the University of Saskatchewan. Shelby and Elizabeth also manned the CSEG booth, where they registered over 40 new student members.
The University of Regina committee members were professional and efficient, and did an outstanding job hosting the event. The WIUGC 2018 president, Stephanie Sawchuck, proved to be an organized, confident and enthusiastic leader. Every need and desire of attendees was met by the committee at all hours. The conference showed students the wide range of geological applications across the western half of our country and re-established a strong inter-provincial community of geoscience students. We look forward to next year’s WIUGC at Brandon University.