GSA Medals & Awards

GSA Distinguished Service Award

Sharon Mosher
Sharon Mosher
University of Texas, Austin

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Presented to Sharon Mosher

 Citation by B. Clark Burchfiel

Sharon Mosher's service to GSA has been extraordinary. As chairperson of the ad hoc Committee on the Annual Meeting Programs, she was the driving force behind reorganizing the program structure of the meetings. Most members have regarded this reorganization as a major revitalization of GSA's Annual Meetings. At about the same time, she served as chairperson of the ad hoc Committee on GSA Strategic Plan, which developed the objectives and goals for our Society; this plan presently guides the continuing development of the Society. As president of GSA, she had to deal with the probably the most difficult problems any president of the Society has faced for decades. These included reorganizing the financial policy of the GSA as well as making major and difficult management changes. She made hard decisions when necessary. Sharon, along with her intersociety collaborators, including Robbie Gries of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and Howard Harper of SEPM — Society for Sedimentary Geology, has been the prime mover from GSA to develop the publications aggregate. Her involvement in the development of the aggregate has been in all the organizational work as well as major fund-raising activities to support its continued progress. In addition, Sharon (with AAPG, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists) has been very active in the development of the intersociety Virtual Student Expo, just now coming to GSA as a Web-based system that will provide opportunities for employers (industry, academia and government) and students to meet and interact worldwide on the Internet. I can think of no one, past or present, who has given so much to GSA as Sharon Mosher, this year's Distinguished Service Awardee.

 top 2003 GSA Distinguished Service Award - Response by Sharon Mosher

I am very honored to receive GSA's Distinguished Service Award. It has been a great privilege to serve the society. I hope I have made some lasting contributions and leave the society more vibrant, active, and involved.

I have worked with many wonderful, dedicated people over the years who share my love of the society: fellow committee members — particularly on the Annual Program committee — councilors, officers, presidents, executive directors, and GSA staff. I would like to thank them all for their hard work, dedication, and friendship. I would also like to thank the leaders of other societies who have become collaborators and friends for your commitment to working for the benefit of all the geosciences.

Like many people, my involvement began with serving on GSA committees, chairing my Division, and then serving on Council, but it wasn't until after that, when I chaired the new Annual Program Committee, that I realized that members could make significant and positive changes to the society. The work of that committee, in restructuring and revitalizing the Annual Meeting, establishing field forums, and building stronger ties with affiliated science societies, convinced me that it truly was our society and we could each make a difference. Most of my other contributions, such as those on the strategic plan, global meetings, public policy, education and public outreach, alliances with other societies, and the electronic journal aggregate, were fueled by my vision for what GSA should be. Even those in finances, management, and governance were done so that GSA could effectively meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.

I have devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort over the years to GSA because I believe that scientific societies are extremely valuable to the advancement of science. They

  • promote the exchange of scientific ideas, the dissemination of scientific findings, and scientific debate;
  • nurture young scientists and students providing them with a forum for their research, opportunities for professional enrichment, grant support, help finding employment, and so on;
  • instill in their members an ethical standard that governs scientific research and behavior; and
  • bring scientists together to work toward a better public understanding of science and better science education.

Service to scientific societies is not just something that rounds out your vita — it is personally as well as professionally rewarding. Strong friendships, good times, broadening of one's perspective, personal growth and new skills, exposure to new fields of science — all of these come from giving of your time to your society. I would strongly encourage members, particularly young members and students, to become actively involved in your society. Take it from me — you won't regret it.

GSA has become a leader for the geosciences-forward thinking, flexible, innovative, progressive, youthful, and globally oriented with stimulating scientific meetings and publications — all because of a willingness to change. This is your society. It will become what you make it. It is up to you. Thank you again for this honor.