Nominees must have a sustained record of achievement in one or more Fellowship Nomination Categories. To
demonstrate achievement, nominators typically should make compelling arguments in two (2) to three (3)
elements of the selected Nomination Category(ies) (see the examples listed under each Nomination
Category). In rare cases, Fellowship may be awarded to nominees with proof of exemplary achievement in
just one category and element. While there is no limit on the number of Nomination Categories that can
be selected, because nomination letters are limited to two (2) pages, nominations based on more than one
(1) Nomination Category or that focus on more than three (3) elements within that category may be
Scientific Achievement: Discovery & Application
GSA awards Fellowships to members who demonstrate a sustained record of scientific accomplishment in
areas ranging from the discovery and advancement of new geoscience principles and insights, to the
application of existing ideas for the use of natural resources (petroleum, minerals, and water), to the
safety and wellness of humans and the natural environment.
Examples of contributions that demonstrate the requisite level of scientific achievement may be chosen
from the following elements:
- Publications (Journal): Publication in well-regarded, peer-reviewed journals that resolve
outstanding geoscience questions or open new areas of geoscience investigation. While numeric scores
of publication impact are helpful, narratives of how specific publications have affected other
geoscientists and their work can prove more insightful.
- Maps: Geologic maps that reveal seminal geologic processes or have been used to address resource or
public safety problems on a regional or in a generalized way that can be applied to other regions.
- Publications (Secondary): Publication in non-independently peer-reviewed venues such as government
reports, proprietary reports, and patents. In these cases, clear narrative descriptions of why and
how these publications have broad significance need to be presented. Numerical indices, such as the
number of licenses generated from a patent, are acceptable.
- Geoscience Applications: Application of established geoscience principles in novel or insightful
ways that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries (e.g., biology or engineering) to solve multiple
problems in, for example, resource development or public safety and health. Examples of such
projects include: (a) more sustainable use of limited freshwater resources; and (b) discovery and
development of earth resources using novel methods. Public safety and health may include projects
related to natural hazards resilience (e.g., earthquakes or landslides) or environmental
contamination (e.g., groundwater contamination). In all cases, projects must have resulted in action
to address the problems defined. This often requires engagement of a broad spectrum of stakeholders,
including other scientific disciplines, lay and professional participants, government regulators,
and differing cultures, resulting in solutions that address a wide range of needs.
- Data Archives: Contributions to and use of accessible and well-documented digital data archives that
are crucial to promote a geoscience legacy.
- Computer Applications: Computer applications that promote multi-disciplinary research and applied
- Diversity and Inclusion: Geoscience research or applications that engage participants beyond the
core disciplinary science are crucial for robust evolution of the geosciences. Consistent engagement
with participants from different backgrounds with different points of view, and promotion and
application of ways to incorporate many perspectives to achieve a better geoscience result.
Training and Mentoring of Geoscientists
Excellence in teaching and mentoring of students and colleagues is essential to the geosciences. This may
take place in formal education venues (K-12, 2- and 4-year colleges, graduate schools), settings outside
the traditional classroom (field, lab, shipboard, drill site, etc.), and/or industry and agency-based
Examples of success in training and mentoring may include the following elements:
- Award Recognition: Receipt of teaching awards from home institutions and/or professional groups.
- Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Geoscience Education: A documented track record of success in
recruiting and retaining students from groups underrepresented in the geosciences and/or placing
students/colleagues into graduate programs and/or careers. Advocacy for Diversity, Equity, and
Inclusion beyond an individual’s sphere of influence is also valuable.
- Industry Training: Sustained record of providing superior training in applied programs, short
courses, project management, leadership, etc.
- Educational Materials: Creation of high-impact and widely disseminated educational materials
(textbooks, laboratory manuals, short-course guides, field guides, etc.)
Administration of Geoscience Programs
A wide range of administrative positions offer opportunities to contribute to the geosciences. Effective
administration of academic programs, State and Federal geological survey leadership of research teams,
leadership in a wide spectrum of governmental and non-governmental organizations with a focus on
geoscience, and supervision of industry programs involving application of geological principles are all
considered appropriate contributions for GSA Fellowship.
Examples of the kinds of contributions that a successful administrator might practice include some of the
- Program Accomplishments: Ability to lead a project to exemplary scientific advancement, which may be
reflected by publication in the most competitive publications (e.g., Science, Nature, etc.), or
special recognition within the specific organization.
- Project Management: Ability to propel a project to scientific accomplishment in light of project
obstacles, including technical challenges, uncertain or limited funding, data access issues, and any
other barriers that the administrator helped successfully overcome.
- Team Motivator: The ability to motivate individual contributors to rise above expectations and
create an environment where the group results exceed the contributions of individuals.
- Promote Diversity and Inclusion: Ability to incorporate ideas from a wide range of viewpoints,
including, for example, different experience levels, different specialties, and different cultures
(where appropriate); creation of innovative programs that lead to increased recruitment and
retention of underrepresented groups. Good administrators also ensure that those serving under their
leadership also practice DEI ideals.
- Transformational Leadership: Design and implement new academic programs; successful guidance of a
department through existential changes to university and/or societal priorities.
Public Awareness of Geology
Exceptional contributions undertaken by geoscientists towards increasing the public awareness of
geosciences and their impact on day-to-day life can qualify a member for Fellowship. In particular,
efforts that bring important and timely geoscience and geoscience-related issues to the public attention
in a way that increases public awareness, shifts perceptions, and/or affects public policy.
Examples of activities that contribute to exceptional contributions include these elements:
- Communication: Science communication in print and electronic media, establishment of citizen science
programs, non-formal education, public service, science advocacy, and similar activities.
- Presentation to Government Agencies: Effective presentation of geoscience work to governmental
agencies (legislative bodies, courts, committees, and similar public venues).
- Promotion of Geoscience Knowledge: Efforts directed at communities that are underrepresented in the
geosciences and help elevate the understanding of geoscience issues in those communities.
- Citizen Science: Successful engagement of the public in “citizen science” that leads to important
discoveries about Earth systems and how they affect societies.
Engaged leadership and participation in GSA and associated societies’ activities ensure the society’s
success in achieving its mission.
Examples of impactful leadership may be chosen from this list of elements:
- GSA Leadership: Superior achievements while serving in a GSA leadership position (e.g., Committees,
Divisions, Sections, Council); activities that enable GSA members to achieve groundbreaking science
that might be difficult or impossible as individuals (e.g., facilitation of international field
- GSA Editorship: Sustained success while serving in an editorial position for GSA publications.
- GSA Events: An outstanding record of organizing successful meetings, technical sessions, field
trips, and/or short courses.
- GSA Mentorship: Sustained participation in GSA mentorship programs (e.g., Mann, Schlemon, On To the
- GSA Mission: Activities that resulted in a positive change(s) to the manner in which the Society
achieves its mission.
- Promote Diverse Viewpoints: Successful consensus building that results from the nominee’s
encouragement of and bringing together diverse viewpoints and opinions. Successful advocacy for
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the organization is also important.
Information and Data Access
Information and data are burgeoning in the geosciences as they are in other scientific disciplines, and
members who offer expertise and knowledge to efficiently and accurately locate and obtain information
and data are crucial to geoscience advancements and the application of existing knowledge. Members who
provide exceptional service (e.g., librarians and data archivists) are deserving of GSA Fellowship.
Outstanding members often exhibit example traits from this list of elements:
- Client Needs: Develop creative and innovative means to serve their clientele to meet and exceed
their information needs. This is accomplished by undertaking the effort to understand the needs of
individuals and larger organizations and staying abreast of literature and advancements in the field
as well as trends in related fields.
- Archives: Develop, promote, and maintain data archives that both make the information easy to
discover and easy to access and use.
- Knowledge Sharing: Attend and contribute to professional meetings in order to learn from the efforts
of others and to share experiences with others.
- Mentorship: Devote time to effective mentorship of others to help continue and advance access to