Paleo Society Student Rep Application Period Now Open

The Paleontological Society is soliciting nominations for the 2022–2024 Student Representative! The new representative will serve a two-year term that overlaps with our current Student Rep Jood Al Aswad.

What do the Student Representatives do?
Student Representatives serve as voices for student needs in the Society and play leading roles in student activities including organizing student events at the Geological Society of America Conference. Student Representatives are further encouraged to develop and lead new student initiatives. In this role, students gain knowledge of the inner-workings of an international organization and experience in professional service.

The selected Student Representative (who will start their role in the fall) will join current Student Representative Jood Al Aswad and serve a two-year term (Fall 2022–Fall 2024). Student Representatives attend two Council meetings per year (one during fall at the Geological Society of America Conference and the other during spring virtually or in McLean, VA circumstances permitting).

Who is eligible to apply?
We encourage nominations from paleontology graduate students who are early-mid stage in their graduate programs from all backgrounds and institutions, particularly those that have historically been under-represented on the Paleontological Society Council. Nominations may come from a faculty advisor or be a self-nomination.

How to apply:
Application Requirements:

  1. A cover sheet listing your name, degree (MS, MA, PhD, etc.), expected graduation year, and email address.
  2. A concise essay (of no more than 500 words) written by the student detailing their interest in the role, previous experience with professional service (if any), and what the student hopes to accomplish through their service.
  3. A short letter of nomination from the student’s academic mentor or other faculty member at the student’s home institution or a letter of support from the same for self-nominations.

The student portion (parts 1 & 2) of the application can be submitted via this form:

When you complete the form, please provide the email address of your nominator or letter writer, and an invitation to submit their letter (part 3 of the application) will automatically be sent. Please confirm with your letter writer that they have received confirmation of submission by the deadline below.

The Deadline for consideration is February 13, 2022.

The new Student Representative will be selected in March. Please feel free to contact the current Student Representatives, Jeanette Pirlo and Jood Al Aswad, at [email protected] with additional questions or if you experience any difficulty with the submission forms.

From your current Student Reps:

Jood Al Aswad (2021–2023)
It is my honor to serve as your student representative for 2021-2023! My goals for my tenure in this position are to help bolster the representation and retention of all students in the paleontological sciences throughout their careers, and to provide avenues for them to speak their concerns and learn about the resources available to them. Student representative Jeanette Pirlo and past student rep Annaka Clement, as well as many others before them, have really transformed this position to become one where we are able to connect students to one another and to potential mentors, and to aid in their professional development in ways that go beyond grant/funding applications. Currently as a result of the pandemic, we have been oscillating between online and in-person meetings and classes. As such, I hope to help streamline resources for students to engage with the Paleontological Society in avenues that do not require them to physically be present, including during the annual GSA meetings, and to continue the monthly webinars and virtual social hours we provide. I also hope to help develop roles and programs for students who wish to contribute to the Paleontological Society via the ad-hoc Student Committee, and connecting them to other committees in Paleontological Society that would benefit from their voices and experiences. As someone who is part of a demographic with little to no representation – I am potentially the first female Saudi Arabian paleontologist – I find that having the Paleontological Society as a resource and community is incredibly important for succeeding in a career as part of a marginalized group. So, with this position, I serve as a friend and resource for you all. Please do not hesitate in reaching out to me to see how you can become more involved, or how I can best help you!

Jeanette Pirlo (2020–2022)
I am excited to serve as your student representative for 2020–2022! As I approach the end of my graduate student career, I have learned many lessons that I feel are applicable to other students of paleontology, as well as the importance of being a life-long learner. With this in mind, my goal as a student rep is to create and facilitate professional developments (PD) for graduate students in the form of webinars. These PDs will consists of topics like "Careers Outside of Academia”, “The Importance of Broader Impacts in Research Design”, “Effective Science Communication”, among other topics. These PDs will work to fulfill my ultimate goal as a student rep, and that’s to increase representation in the Geo Sciences. As a first generation student from an underserved community, it is important to me to make space for students like myself, in a field that continues to be difficult to succeed in for minoritized groups. I strive to become a resource for students in the Society as well as an advocate for those of us who, traditionally, have not had a voice. I look forward to serving the Society through input from our student-base. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, suggestions, or just wanna chat!

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