The first students to be supported by the IGS Foundation (IGSF) have spoken of the “incredible” impact on their professional development.
The Foundation, a charitable body launched last year to support the IGS’s educational efforts, funded places for 19 students to attend the virtual GeoAmericas 2020 conference in October, last year.
Among the successful students were Juliana Reinert and Mateus Fleury, both young members of IGS Brazil.
Juliana, a PhD candidate at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, said being able to watch keynote speakers, networking with peers, and being able to exchange information with others in her field of interest of durability were highlights of attending.
She added: “I was very excited the Foundation helped us be there. For students it’s really expensive so this opportunity was really important. A lot of students would not have had the opportunity to be there if the Foundation was not funding us.”
Fellow durability research student Mateus, a PhD candidate at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, agreed the impact of learning from admired professors for real rather than reading about them in a book was significant.
He added: “The knowledge the conference gave me was incredible. Without the scholarship it would have been very hard [to attend]. It meant I could see the researchers, learn more about what they are researching about my focus area, and about the gap in knowledge. It has really helped me with my PhD studies.”
As well as Brazil and Canada, scholarship recipients also attended virtually from Iran, Peru, and the United States.
IGS Brazil President Victor Pimentel said: “Students are very important; it is where everything is born. Young members bring their energy and inspiration, together with their knowledge, and put fire into the organization. To receive this support from the IGS Foundation was a big positive surprise as we were trying to find a way of involving the students.”
He added: “I think the IGSF is pointing to the right target – we need an organization that is effective enough to bring together all the actors in the industry in an very effective way. If you don’t do that the knowledge will continue to be too concentrated. We want to see more people coming in from the beginning and the IGSF will really help that worldwide.”
IGSF secretary and treasurer Boyd Ramsey said: “We ask our donors: what’s important to you? All of them identify education as something they think is key. We’re happy to take the funding from our donors and funnel it to the place it needs to be. I’d like to thank our donors. People are giving back to their industry and that’s what’s important.”
Foundation chairman Jacques Cote added: “It’s time to support another generation to take our place. Students like Juliana and Mateus are the future of our industry. We look forward to helping young people achieve their objectives now and in the future.”
The IGS Foundation was formed in 2019 and officially launched last year. Its aim is to support the educational outreach efforts of the IGS with worldwide initiatives. Generous founding donors have included geosynthetics pioneer J.P. Giroud, industry giant Solmax and TRI International.
The IGSF is set to release its first annual report. To get your copy, find out more about the organization, or donate, visit its website here, or email Boyd Ramsey at Boyd@TheIGSFoundation.com.