Dawie Marx was elected as chair of the IGS Young Members Committee, succeeding Laura Carbone, in July, last year. Here he shares his aims and priorities for the year ahead.
Congratulations on your new position with the Young Members Committee. How was it taking over mid-pandemic?
Thanks! We have a great team of young members and with the help of the previous chair, Laura Carbone, the transition was not too difficult. The widespread adoption of Zoom meetings has also made communication easier. Online conferences were a first for all of us and had their own unique challenges.
What are your main tasks?
I organize committee meetings, liaise with the IGS council (budget and annual reporting), and represent young members in the Publications Committee of the IGS. The remainder of my responsibilities are similar to any other committee member. For example, I helped organize the young members session at GeoAmericas 2020, and I’m also busy with the Young Members Contest for the 12th ICG in Rome in 2022.
Who else is involved in the Committee?
Laura Carbone, our previous chair, Preston Kendall, representing Asia, Ian Scotland, representing Europe, Lucía Dávilla, representing South America, and Tyrone Naidoo for Africa. We also have several new members that have joined our committee over the past six months.
What are the Committee’s aims and priorities?
One of our tasks is to refine the aims and priorities of the Young Members Committee. We are busy working on a ‘Why should I join the YMC?’ document. My take on it is that the purpose of the YMC is to:
- Increase Young Member participation in the IGS
- Increase networking for Young Members
- Highlight the work of Young Members
- Support local chapters with Young Member activities
There is also a common misconception that Young Member implies student but this is not the case. Anyone aged under 36 can join.
What is the main challenge to achieving your goals?
The pandemic, as a large part of the Young Member networking revolved around in-person conferences.
How is the IGS attracting and retaining Young Members?
Our biggest draw is the various activities at conferences. Each conference has a student award competition for the best student paper in each chapter. We also used to have social events at in-person conferences. The Brazilian chapter recently had a successful job shadowing program to introduce young members to the industry. We are also really excited about the undergraduate research program that we are currently developing. Other than that, most young members join as full members through their companies. Retaining student members once they enter the industry is a challenge we are still working on.
And why should any potential Young Members join the IGS?
The biggest benefit would be networking with your peers working in geosynthetics. For students there is the additional benefit of participating in the student award competitions that sponsors a student from each chapter to attend a regional conference. Young Members also share the great benefits of regular IGS members: access to IGS conference proceedings, access to publications like Geosynthetics International and Geotextiles and Geomembranes and the IGS newsletter to name a few.
How can Young Members get in touch with the Committee and/or stay up-to-date with activities?
Sign up here to be on our mailing list.
You can also contact us at email@example.com. Our next meeting on April 8 will be open to all young members that are registered members of the IGS.
We have some fantastic opportunities and events planned for our members over 2021/22. You can read all about them here.
What is your job outside the IGS? And where are you based?
I am busy with a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where I am based. My research focuses on soil-geosynthetic interaction.
I read you like woodworking and reading. What did you last make and read?
Living in an apartment at the moment does not really lend itself to woodwork. I recently re-read a few books by one of my favourite authors of all time – Terry Pratchett. Before that it was some of Brandon Sanderson’s books, Sapiens (Yuval Noah Harari), A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter Miller) and The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman).
For more information about the YMC, click here.