Geological Society of America Foundation Announces New International Travel Grant for Students in Africa

Boulder, Colo., USA: The Geological Society of America (GSA) Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of the Christopher I. and Irene N. Chalokwu Fund in support of undergraduate or graduate student travel for students in Africa, working on any aspect of African geology, to attend and present their research at GSA’s annual meeting. Disbursement of the fund will be directed by GSA International.

Through these awards, GSA aims to support high-quality research by students on the African continent, bring African geology into focus for U.S. professionals and institutions, shine a light on studies that are underreported here, and broaden participation at the GSA annual meeting and beyond.

With the introduction of this fund, Dr. Chalokwu and his wife, Dr. Irene N. Chalokwu, provide an outstanding example of how individuals can create opportunity across geopolitical borders and realize impacts far beyond a single place or time. “We are most grateful for the Chalakwu’s vision and generosity,” said Foundation Executive Director Debbie Marcinkowski, “and we hope it serves as inspiration to others who also support international scientific exchange.”

Christopher Chalokwu is a Nigerian-born U.S. citizen with a Ph.D. in geology and geochemistry from Miami University. He is an academic with entrepreneurial vision and strong interests in education reform and the educational achievement of underrepresented groups. Chalokwu was the first tenured Black full professor at Auburn University, as well as the founding Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Benedict College. He served as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Tennessee before joining Saint Xavier University as Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Geochemistry and Physical Science. Additionally, he founded Medical Assay Laboratory Inc. (as well as its subsidiary, Medical Assay Phlebotomy School) and serves as the Laboratory Director. Chalokwu is a fellow of GSA and the recipient of the IFATUROTI medal from the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society for his contribution to the study of African geology.

The Geological Society of America ( unites a diverse community of geoscientists in a common purpose to study the mysteries of our planet (and beyond), and share scientific findings. Members and friends around the world, from academia, government, and industry, participate in GSA meetings, publications, and programs at all career levels, to foster professional excellence. GSA values and supports inclusion through cooperative research, public dialogue on earth issues, science education, and the application of geoscience in the service of humankind.

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For Immediate Release
15 March 2022
GSA Release No. 22-15

Christa Stratton