November 14, 2010

SEG/Chevron SLS 2010 Review

I'm back in Berlin and I'm really fine, but it took me more than three weeks to find some quiet moment because the new semester kick-started and November is really busy, too. Nonetheless, I want to dedicate this blog entry to my trip to the SEG/Chevron Student Leadership Symposium 2010. And it's worth it because the week in Denver was such an amazing experience I really want to share with you. But before I gonna give a short review on my week in Denver, I gotta say thanks.


On behalf of my SEG Student Chapter, the Student Geophysical Society Berlin, I'd like to express my gratitude to the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and to Chevron Corporation for allowing and sponsoring my travel to and my participation in the SEG/Chevron Student Leadership Symposium and the SEG International Exhibition and 80th Annual Meeting.

Another big thanks goes to Melissa, Candice and all the others who organized the SLS and took care of us during our time in Denver. You guys did a remarkable job!

And I especially want to thank the other SLS participants. I'm so lucky that I had the chance to socialize with you warmhearted and motivated guys. When we arrived in Denver, we were 53 individuals from totally diverse social and cultural backgrounds. But our common interest in geophysics and our shared experience in Denver made us become friends. That's something nobody will ever take from me!

I had been to Canada several times before, but this was my first trip to the United States. So, I was really excited about what it was going to be like. However, Denver is quite similar to Calgary. All the locals warned us not to walk back to the hotel alone at night, but somehow I wasn't afraid at all. To be honest, there are several streets in Berlin which are way more dangerous than Downtown Denver. Even though we really hit the night life (DGS!), Denver is much more beautiful at daytime. And as far as I'm concerned, I was really excited about taking a closer look at Denver's highrises like Republic Plaza because I'm a huge fan of skyscraper architecture.
 

The SLS was such fun! The guys from Challenge Quest did a great job in organizing a leadership session and a teambuilding activity. On the first day, the leadership session, supervised by Challenge Quest President Greg Robinson, showed us that there is an important difference between cooperation and collaboration. There really is. (I probably spend a future blog entry on this topic.) And on the second day, we had the chance to apply this new knowledge to a real problem when we had to built a marbles pipeline within a teambuilding activity. I'm pretty sure that my group would get any pipeline job done in record time because group 2 really rocked the house!

Moreover, I finally got the opportunity to meet several experienced and well-known geophysicists I've heard so much of. This includes the whole SEG Executive Committee (Steve Hill, David Lumley, Bob Hardage,...) but also illustrious people like Peter Duncan, Leon Thomsen, Oz Yilmaz and especially Amos Nur. It really meant a lot to me to listen to his talk and I'd love to work with him one day.

Meeting "The Geophysics Allstars" ;-) sounds kinda romantic but let's be honest - the SEG Annual Meeting is all about business, too. But this isn't bad because the exhibition hall was amazing. I like to refer to it as a mix of Christmas and Disney World because it was so breathtaking. Have you ever been to a trade fair for games and entertainment? Now, just imagine this with geophysics!


However, talking to petroleum company representatives was kinda difficult because the guys at the booths only represented the American sections of their mother companies and US visa regulations make it difficult for them to hire international students who are not enrolled in a program at an American university. Even people studying in Canada had major problems! This was the only negative impression I got during my time in Denver. And they really need to make changes here because the SEG Annual Meeting is an interntional event. SEG has more and more international members and it's definitely not enough to offer job possibilites to American students only.

All in all, it's really hard to describe how much I appreciate that I was rewarded with this wonderful week in Denver. It was just a week, but the impressions will last a lifetime because it finally made me realize that there is so much to come. There won't be any constraints if you work hard and go for it. Coming back to the beginning of my blog entry and the image of a kick-start, my week in Denver really took me to a new level in terms of motivation, leadership skills and passion for the whole thing.

I really encourage you to join an existing SEG Student Chapter or to establish a new one at your university because the Society of Exploration Geophysicists offers so many opportunites to students to gain experience, meet people and have fun that it would be a shame if you didn't take these opportunities.