Scholarship Applications: TThe Foundation is pleased with the scholarship application response this year despite the challenges from COVID-19. We received 31 applicants from 16 universities, which will be reviewed over the next several weeks with the expectation of announcing the scholarships for 2021/22 in early July. We thank the students for the strong response and the faculty members for their assistance.
Bourse Québécoise: A new scholarship for an outstanding student from Québec with a focus on applied geophysics, preferably attending a Québec university, has been established, thanks to a founding donation by Abitibi Géophysique. Efforts by Michel Chouteau aided by Jean Legault and Jerry Roth have elicited considerable support by the Québec geophysical community for the scholarship, and we encourage additional donations from companies and individuals interested in supporting geophysical education in Québec and honouring notable geophysicists from Québec. We plan to make the first award of this scholarship in July together with other scholarship awards. For further details, contact: email@example.com or any of the directors of the Foundation.
Enhancing employment opportunities for current awardees: To help current scholarship recipients connect with potential employers, we have posted C.V.s for a number of awardees on the Foundation's website, and encourage others to submit their C.V. for posting.
KEGS Foundation: 2020 Overview: Survival, Adaptation and Resilience
Response to COVID-19 pandemic: The KEGS Foundation, overtaken along with the rest of the world by the unforeseen global COVID-19 pandemic immediately following the PDAC Convention in March, 2020, pivoted abruptly in April from previously announced programs and initiatives to focus on ways to assist current scholarship recipients and other students to continue with their geophysical education in the virtual universe that came to dominate academic, professional and social interactions. The Foundation also endeavoured to keep informed as to how different universities adapted their instructional programs to a mainly virtual format to accommodate health concerns. In addition, together with many other charitable and non-profit organizations, the Foundation faced a major challenge in maintaining support from the geophysical and exploration community for its core scholarship program as well as preserving the value of its accumulated endowments in the face of plummeting equity markets and collapsing economies. This abrupt upending and redirection is clearly evident if one reviews pre-pandemic Foundation updates and the agenda and minutes of the March 1, 2020 Board of Directors' meeting versus actual events and efforts from early April. The pandemic unleashed a tsunami of negative impacts but did induce several positive changes, notably the widespread adoption of online platforms such as Zoom and global access to virtual presentations and events, the strengthened recognition of the importance of science in modern society, a perspective which hopefully will help shape other vital programs such as energy and climate change, and the emergence across Canada of a diverse new generation of able health professionals and researchers.
Awarding of record 27 scholarships for 2020/21: As part of its efforts to offer increased support to dedicated and capable students in geophysics in dealing with the multiple impacts of the pandemic, the Foundation's Board made the decision to direct augmented funding for its core scholarship program for the 2020/21 academic year, drawing on funds usually allocated for other programs that were shelved because of the pandemic. As a result, the Foundation was able to award a record 27 scholarships totaling $24,000 for 2020/21, to 20 undergraduates, 4 M.Sc. students and 3 Ph.D. candidates attending 12 Canadian universities, as announced in July. This included the notable awards of the Collett Graduate Scholarship to Jeremy Gosselin (University of Ottawa), the GSC Pioneers Scholarship to Hema Sharma (Western University), the new SKGS Scholarship to Todd LeBlanc (University of Saskatchewan) and the KEGS Pioneers Scholarship to Alexi Morin (Université Laval). Full details can be found in the announcement circulated in July and posted on the Foundation's website. Because of the pandemic, most awards were presented virtually in conjunction with KEGS and BCGS webinars and related special events.
SKGS Scholarship: Thanks to the initiative of Director Dennis Woods and the generous foundational donations by Discovery Geophysics and Dias Geophysics, despite the pandemic the Foundation was able to establish a new scholarship in the name of the Saskatchewan Geophysical Society focused on supporting an outstanding student in geophysics in Saskatchewan (or adjacent provinces/territories) and made an inaugural award to Ph.D. candidate Todd LeBlanc. The Foundation encourages mining and service companies, as well as geoscience professionals with an interest in advancing geophysical capabilities, particularly related to applications in Saskatchewan, to consider a donation in support of the new SKGS Scholarship. For further information, please see the posted announcement or contact Dennis at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (604) 762-6782, or any of the other eight Directors.
Bourse de la géophysique québécoise: In conjunction with a pleasant online fête de Noel in December attended by many of the Québec geophysical community, Michel Chouteau encouraged consideration of establishing a new scholarship directed at supporting an outstanding student in geophysics attending a Québec university, and intended to honour various notable Québécois geophysical pioneers and entrepreneurs. On the basis of the ensuring discussion and an initial commitment of support by Abitibi Geophysics, a detailed description of the scholarship's format and funding has been subsequently developed under Michel's leadership, and circulated and discussed with potential supporters, generally eliciting positive responses. It is anticipated that there will be an initial award of this new scholarship in the fall of the coming academic year (2012/22).
Steers Bursary: The Foundation acts as the fiduciary for the endowment established by family and former colleagues to support a Bursary honoring the late John E. Steers, who had a long and notable career in mineral exploration, and shares administration of the Bursary with the long-standing Canadian Mineral Industry Education Foundation (CMIEF). As selected from a slate of strong candidates from across Canada, the Bursary for the current year was awarded to an outstanding student, Antoine Bachand, who is completing his undergraduate studies in economic geology at Université Laval this spring.
SEG Foundation 2020 scholarship awards: The Foundation is pleased to report that the SEG Foundation awarded scholarships to 13 Canadian students for the current academic year (the majority Ph.D. candidates), and extends particular congratulations to three of the current KEGS Foundation awardees and two past awardees who also received SEGF scholarships, including Callum Walter, Ph.D. candidate at Queen's, who received the KEGS\Hallof Scholarship administered by the SEG Foundation.
Student outreach: In collaboration with KEGS, the Foundation is being guided by recent graduate Skyler Mallozzi, assisted by Max Salman, both past KF scholarship recipients, in developing an enhanced social media presence to strengthen awareness by and communications with the current generation of media-savvy students. This has been particularly valuable over the past year in understanding the challenges and stresses students have faced in dealing with mainly online instruction.
Alumni affairs: The Foundation continues to follow with interest the careers of the now more than 275 past scholarship recipients as they pursue further education and ultimate employment, and encourages donations to the Foundation by past awardees with established careers to support current and future students. It is noted with pleasure that several of the authors of presentations at the (virtual) 2021 KEGS Symposium were past recipients of scholarships from KEGS or the KEGS Foundation.
Collaboration with KEGS and other organizations: The Foundation has continued its efforts to collaborate closely with KEGS, BCGS, TGDG and other geo-organizations in advancing geophysical and related education and in achieving useful synergy between groups and events, particularly in a period of mainly virtual mode interactions. With the anticipated transition in the fall back to a 'new normal' likely characterized by hybrid events, this effort will be extended to encompass joint or collaborative meetings and lectures.
Suspended programs: As a result of the pandemic and related social and travel restrictions, the Foundation suspended various programs, notably its popular KEGS Special Lecture program (partially replaced by global access to a greatly expanded array of webinars and other online presentations), and cancelled the Collett Visiting Lectureship, the Collett Research Assistantship, the pre-XMAS Mini-symposium and the customary Reunion Party during the 2021 PDAC. It is anticipated that most of these events will be revived (likely with some modifications) as conditions evolve towards a new normal in the fall.
Financial overview: With the abrupt shutdown of the economy and exploration in late March 2020, and the accompanying cratering of stock markets, the Foundation suffered significant erosion in its endowments, primarily that portion of its diversified portfolio invested in equities and bonds, as well as a cessation of donations, which created considerable concern as to whether the core scholarship program could be funded and at what level.
Fortunately, massive government stimulus programs and aggressive monetary actions by central banks helped stabilize the economy (albeit with massive losses in employment and businesses) and set the stage for ultimate recovery and renewed growth. Also fortunately, exploration and mining were deemed to be essential activities, and slowly revived under strict health guidelines. Concerns about the national and global economies spurred a sizable increase in the price of gold, which in turn led to an influx of new funds from investors plus increased cash flows for gold mining and exploration companies, which spurred a revival of mineral exploration in Canada and elsewhere, and in turn helped prompt renewed donations by many of regular donors to the Foundation. In view of improving financial circumstances and the evident increased need by scholarship applicants, the Foundation renewed its scholarship program, with a record 27 awards totalling $24,000, plus supplemental funding for meeting registrations, replacing customary travel bursaries.
The financial report for the Foundation for FY 2020 (ending July 13, 2020) was completed and circulated in late 2020 as well as posted on the Foundation's website, followed by submission of the annual tax filing required by the CRA. Thanks to a further rebound in the prices of equities and bonds, the Foundation's assets were approximately $1.35 million as of January 2021, reflecting in large part the major Collett Legacy gift received in 2018.
Donations and fundraising efforts: The Foundation acknowledges with appreciation all donations received in the latter part of 2020 from its sustaining and new donors despite the impact of the pandemic. Particular appreciation is extended for major donations by BCGS, KEGS, Lamontagne Geophysics, Discovery International Geophysics, Dias Geophysics and Phoenix Geophysics for the donation matching program, and for generous donations by Crone Geophysics, Doug Fraser and Clarice Steers. However, overall, regular donations were significantly affected by the pandemic. With the recent revival of exploration, individuals and companies are encouraged to renew past support to sustain the Foundation's core scholarship program at recent levels as well as collateral efforts. Individual donors are reminded that they can double the impact of their tax-deductible donations by taking advantage of the continuing matching donation program generously funded by Phoenix Geophysics (individual donations are eligible to be matched up to a maximum of $250 per year (see details).
Governance: The Foundation, guided by its nine volunteer Directors, continues to focus on maintaining relevance, effectiveness and financial viability in achieving its overall educational objectives by adapting to the ever-changing societal, business and technological environment, a particular challenge in the past year coping with the diverse impacts of the pandemic, plus the limited pro-bono time Directors are able to focus on Foundation programs and issues while also dealing with heavy professional demands, is acknowledged and appreciated. These included activities undertaken in collaboration with KEGS, BCGS and the SEG Foundation.
Management: As was announced at the BOD meeting in March, 2020, in a planned transition in management intended to ensure continuity of activities and relevance, long-serving Director Stephen Reford, previously Acting Chair, was appointed Chair, succeeding Jerry Roth, who remained a Director to ensure continuity and full effectiveness. This was undertaken in conjunction with efforts to implement a more collegial governance structure with greater roles and designated responsibilities by each of the other eight Directors.
Board and General Meetings - March 4, 2021: The preceding matters, including the outlook for the Foundation in 2021, were further considered at the recent annual Board meeting and the subsequent Annual General Meeting held via Zoom on March 4.