July 10, 2012

3rd International Geosciences Student Conference

Since my review on the 2nd International Geosciences Student Conference in Kraków, Poland, received so much interest and great feedback, I decided to follow general request and write a short report on this year's follow-up event in Belgrade, Serbia. Just like I did last year, I don't intend to give a 100% politically correct and all-encompassing review on the conference, but rather share personal impressions with you.

The 3rd International Geosciences Student Conference took place May 29-31 and was co-organized by students from the Society of Geoscientists and Environmental Engineers at the Faculty of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Union-Nikola Tesla University and the University of Belgrade Geophysical Society Student Section at the Faculty of Mining and Geology. The student event coordinator and host Marko Vanic welcomed 244 students, who presented 94 papers and participated in various short courses, workshops, lectures, field trips, social events, and conversations with exhibitors from industry and academia.

 SGS doing sightseeing with Saint Sava Cathedral in the background

 illuminated Serbian Parliament building at night

I hadn't been to Serbia before but because of the IGSC my first visit to Belgrade felt like coming home. Do you know that magical feeling when you arrive at a foreign place and you instantly feel at home? That feeling becomes especially amazing if it's not even connected to a meaningful place, but just an idea. The idea of an international geosciences conference organized by students for students is such an idea and it doesn't take more than one IGSC to get infected by that feeling of community and comradeship. So, since July 2011 I've been really looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new people at the next IGSC in Belgrade. My expectations were high and as life always writes its very own stories, some expectations turned into disappointment while others were highly exceeded.

 IGSC 2012 Opening Ceremony

 IGSC 2012 Icebreaker

I would like to dedicate some words on how impressed I was by the size of the different student groups coming to Belgrade. We had big student groups from Russia and Ukraine, some 25 students from Bucharest, 35 students from Poland and last but not least my fellow students from Berlin. While we considered sending 10 SGS members to the 2nd IGSC to be a huge success, we almost doubled our numbers with 18 SGS members who attended the 3rd IGSC. Unfortunately, there was a lack of students from Western and Northern Europe because this time the SEG/ExxonMobil Student Education Program was for students from Serbia and former Soviet Union countries only. However, students residing in Europe will have the great opportunity to attend "their" SEP in Istanbul, Turkey, in September. Despite the fact that the organizers were faced with many obstacles in the preparational process, the 3rd IGSC turned out to be a great event in terms of international networking and motivating experience for all student attendees, society representatives and industry professionals.

SGS group photo

SGS member Jonas Küster during his presentation on his new 3D gravity model of Nördlinger Ries

On a more personal note, I would like to comment on the SEG Challenge Bowl. While I honestly appreciated the general outcome of the SEG European Challenge Bowl 2011 in Kraków, I wasn't content with my performance. I knew we could do better and even though our decision to run for a second try this year met with quite some criticism, I also knew that we actually would do better this year. And this year in Belgrade we finally delivered as I had promised. It's not up to me to rate our performance, but competitors and other attendees asked me about the formula to become so dominant. It's dedication. We're dedicated to what we do. We didn't become champions during the actual event in Belgrade, but in the countless hours of preparation at home. 

 SEG Challenge Bowl final round against Gumru and Rahman from Azerbaijan

 SEG Challenge Bowl Champions in Belgrade:
Laura and Aurelian 

At the SEG Challenge Bowl Finals 2010 in Denver, I promised my Brazilian fellow SLS participant Fabio Magrani that one day I would be sitting on that stage competing for the world championship. It took me two years, but I kept my word and on Monday, November 5, we will have our gameday at the 82nd SEG Annual Meeting. People who know me are aware that I'm definitely not going to Las Vegas and compete at the biggest stage of them all to just sit on a chair and become a background actor. I've come this far against all odds. So fuck the odds! If you look at my blog header, you will find a line that reads: Never let yourself be second best. I live that.

Next year, April 25-28, we will meet for the 4th International Geosciences Student Conference here in Berlin, Germany. Then feeling at home at the IGSC will meet with the feeling of actually being at home. Words can't express how enthusiastic I am about that idea because I guarantee that we will raise the bar to new heights.

 me presenting first IGSC 2013 information at this year's closing ceremony