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Washington and Lee University

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Funding for Professional Meetings

General Information

Using funds from the Kozak, Spencer, McGuire, Schwab Geology Fund, the Department is happy to be able to provide travel funds for Geology majors to attend scientific meetings. Juniors and Seniors are encouraged to attend; sophomores should seek permission from the department head when the circumstances or needs are appropriate. The meetings are a terrific way to learn about the breadth of geological inquiry through a huge number of talks and presentations, network with potential employers and graduate school advisers, talk with people representing geology graduate schools, and support fellow students presenting their research. The Geology Department will cover the cost of reasonable air and ground transportation, housing (shared rooms), meeting registration (which often includes becoming a member of the organization at no extra cost), and up to $40/day for food. It is difficult to take many days off from school and students should clear their absence with teachers prior to making plans to attend the meeting. The minimum time spent at a conference is 2 full days, but the department will gladly support more days if they are spent fully engaged at the meeting. The following meetings occur every year and you may seek special permission to attend other meetings where W&L Geology faculty will be present:

  • Annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (usually in early-mid fall)
  • Annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (mid December)
  • Southeastern GSA (usually early spring)
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists (spring or early summer)

Procedure for Attending Meeting

  1. Find out about the meeting dates and the registration deadline. Normally, an early registration deadline is less expensive.
    GSA -; AGU -; AAPG -
  2. Ask your teachers about being absent from class.
  3. Contact the Associate Provost to request funding: the Provost's Office provides funding for student travel to conferences, particularly for students who are authors and co-authors on posters or who are otherwise presenting.
  4. Investigate the travel and meeting options, then write a proposal for funding that includes the following items:
    1. short justification and schedule - What you plan to do at the meeting? Why do you think this would be beneficial to your current work and future plans in Geology? It should include at least a preliminary schedule of talks and events that you plan to attend, and what you hope to gain from the experience. You should seek the advice of a faculty member.
    2. the dates of travel and dates of attendance at the meeting
    3. a completed budget sheet that includes the amount of money the Provost's Office has awarded you and anticipated costs. (Note, for some meetings, suggestions for travel and housing costs will be posted). NOTE: you will be held to this budget and not be reimbursed until all receipts and reports are submitted. (link to budget sheet). If you go over budget, you will need to submit an explanation of the additional costs, and have it approved.
    4. Signed travel agreement. (link to Travel Agreement)
  5. Once you have been approved, you can register and make travel arrangements*. When many students are attending, the Department Administrative Assistant will arrange shared housing for students that present evidence of registration.
  6. Within 5 days of returning from the meeting, submit the following to the Department AA, who will begin a reimbursement process that takes about a week.
    1. receipts for travel expenses, meeting registration, and food
    2. a 1 to 2 page letter to the Department summarizing your experience at the meeting including, the name of the meeting, the times you were at the meeting hall, the most interesting presentations and topics you attended, the benefit that attending the meeting had for you as a student of geology or citizen, and any new opinions you have about the geological profession. These notes will likely be shared with the donors to the fund that supports your travel.

* If you are financially unable to arrange payment in advance for airline tickets or meeting costs, see the Department Head for assistance.