Women geophysicists in the field: a photo series

Leslie Marasco, AGU student programs coordinator and SEG WNC member, working for Biosphere2. “The solar batteries went out after a snow storm at an instrument station in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, AZ. We had to snow shoe out to the station to replace the drained batteries and get the station back online!”

International Women’s Day 2018


On International Women’s Day, we honor women in all science and engineering professions. Each of these women take a step forward for all of us. They show that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are cool and that there ought to be no limits to what women can achieve in these fields.

This year’s IWD theme is #PressforProgress.

With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. And with global activism for women’s equality fueled by movements like #MeToo#TimesUp and more – there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

Individually, we’re one drop but together we’re an ocean. Commit to a “gender parity mindset” via progressive action. Let’s all collaborate to accelerate gender parity, so our collective action powers equality worldwide.

Especially given our profession is currently challenged on several fronts, we at the SEG Women’s Network definitely feel the need to Press For Progress of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. We cannot accomplish this without your dedication to a shared vision for the future of the Society and all of its membership. Join us, learn and grow with us, and soon, lead us. Let’s make progress together.

An important SEG Women’s Network goal is continued innovations in mentoring, starting with the online mentoring portal Mentoring365.org, a SEG collaboration with the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG). This month’s Seismic Soundoff podcast is a conversation with Leslie Marasco of AGU and Maitri Erwin of SEG on Mentoring365, what it entails and its benefits to mentees and mentors alike.

Here are some uplifting and thought-provoking reads to accompany the celebration of this day. We invite you to leave others in the comments below.

“The next-generation workforce is also vastly more global than mine. In OECD countries, the oil industry is often not viewed as an attractive employer; young people are attracted to alternative energy companies or the tech industry. However, that isn’t the case elsewhere; the oil industry is a preferred employer in many developing countries. Oil employers offer high-paying jobs and opportunities to work internationally. Leading multinationals already source their workforce globally, and this trend will accelerate as OECD countries don’t keep up with demand for graduates proficient in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

-Janeen Judah, 2017 SPE President in JPT’s Talent Everywhere

Some great quotes in Science Magazine’s Celebrating Women in Science:

“My advice to early-career women scientists is to believe in yourself and believe that what you do matters for science and for society. Strive to create the networks and find the peer support and mentoring that you need. Be open and outspoken about the challenges that you face to help others find better ways to support you.”

-N∅nne Prisle, professor of atmospheric science, Finland

“Especially for women, who even at a young age can internalize impostor syndrome, this is a big step forward. I also love challenging stereotypes whenever I stumble upon them. When asked whether I am a postdoc or a Ph.D. student, which often happens, I really enjoy asking people why they assume that young women cannot be full professors and seeing them panic as they try to cover up their prejudices.”

– Bilge Demirkoz, professor in high energy physics, Turkey

“I still find it exciting to be one of the few women in a male-dominated field—I’m still making a difference just by being here—but I’ve since learned that there is a wide variety of professional cultures, and I don’t have to settle for one that is unwelcoming and, frankly, unsafe. I now work in a department where diversity-related issues are acknowledged and discussed openly and frequently. I have many male colleagues who I consider actual friends, who have never asked me out or made a joke at my expense. I no longer feel like I’m seen as a woman first; I am just a researcher, a scientist, an engineer.”

– Monica Esopi, PhD candidate in chemical engineering, USA

Encouraging greater diversity is not only the right thing to do: it allows scientific organizations to derive an “innovation dividend” that leads to smarter, more creative teams, hence opening the door to new discoveries.

– Nielsen et al., 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA

2017 Women’s Network Annual Meeting Wrap-up

by Maitri Erwin and Laurie Whitesell


Monday Activities

Monday kicked off the official Women’s Network Committee (WNC) activities that started with the 1st SEG Student and University and Women’s Network Mentor Meet Up. The event was a success with more than 100 students and 35 mentors involved in speed mentoring! The mentors rotated tables after 15 minutes of answering questions and interacting with students at each table. After an hour, everyone networked with food and beverages. All students enjoyed the event, as did the mentors! This event will take place again in 2018.

Immediately after was the 2nd WNC Evening Networking Reception. Chair Maitri Erwin presented a slideshow that highlighted WNC achievements over the past year, and Leslie Marasco presented on the Mentoring365 program that the SEG Board of Directors approved this past year.

For a second year, during the networking reception, the Women’s Network Committee presented Pioneering Women of Geophysics posters. The posters were prepared by the WNC student chapter members from Colorado School of Mines. This year, the Pioneers honored were Fernanda Araújo, Lucy McGregor, and Kamini Singha. You can explore these posters online at the SEG WNC website.

Tuesday Activities

The first WNC- sponsored technical session was Near-Surface Geophysics Applied to Archaeological Research. The co-chairs for this technical session were Blair Schneider and George Tsoflias. The talks were well attended and served as the WNC’s inaugural foray into officially sponsoring technical sessions.

Wednesday Activities

The theme for the seventh WNC breakfast was Giving Back, Giving Forward, which reflects on the responsibility that members have to give back to SEG, as well as giving forward to those younger members who are coming up within the profession. This year’s keynote speaker was Patricia Vega, President and CEO, Evaluation & Optimization at GE oil and Gas. Her talk addressed the concept of this theme and how it relates not only to geophysics but to technology. The WNC student chapter at the University of Houston, with strong leadership from Zohreh Souri, provided the ice breaker activities as well as the breakout session activities.

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Patricia Vega addresses the Seventh Annual SEG Women’s Network Breakfast on the future of work in a technologically emergent era

The Women’s Network Committee business meeting took place in the afternoon and we addressed items such as leadership succession planning, future activities outside of the SEG annual meeting, global/regional chapters, and mentoring.

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Zohreh Souri and Maria Pinzon of the University of Houston facilitate a breakfast breakout session

Thursday Activities

On Thursday afternoon, the WNC organized a half-day post-conference workshop with the American Geophysical Union (AGU) on Moving Beyond Conversations: Addressing Harassment and Improving Workplace Climate. This workshop explored some of the barriers to inclusion – including harassment, micro-aggressions, and structural barriers – and the impacts on individuals and programs, drawing from real examples in the geosciences. The interactive workshop presented intervention techniques, and elements of bystander intervention techniques were also provided.

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Members of the SEG Women’s Network Committee with speaker Patricia Vega