Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

Gene Perry
Gene Perry

Melissa Lenczewski
Melissa Lenczewski

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News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

March 2, 2009

NIU to host April annual meeting
of Geological Society of America

DeKalb, Ill. — Northern Illinois University’s Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences is gearing up to host the annual meeting of the North-Central Section of the Geological Society of America, an event expected to attract as many as 600 scientists and students.

The April 2-3 conference will be held at NIU-Rockford, with a welcoming reception at Burpee Museum of Natural History. Conference sessions will be student-friendly and dedicated to the presentation of cutting-edge research.

All college students and K-12 teachers will receive a discount on conference registration fees. See for online registration and more detailed session and field-trip information. 

“As hosts, this conference provides us with an opportunity to showcase our programs and research in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences,” said NIU Geologist Gene Perry, conference chair. He and Professor Melissa Lenczewski are the event’s lead organizers.

Perry underscored the importance of promoting the geosciences. According to the American Geological Institute, the number of younger geoscientists is about half the number of those nearing retirement age.

“The impact of geologic processes and resources on society has probably never been greater than it is today, and those of us who work in the geosciences have never before been asked to undertake such a wide variety of tasks,” Perry said. “Yet, as a group, we are getting older. The need to prepare a new generation of geoscientists is obvious, and regional meetings such as this can help.”

Many NIU students will benefit directly from the conference. Four NIU undergraduates and 27 graduate students will present research, along with seven faculty members.

In addition, a large number of graduate students will serve as volunteer workers during the event. In return, they receive free registration and the chance to attend a wide variety of sessions, exposing them to both the latest research in the field and to scientists and students from other universities. The conference frequently attracts international participation.

More than 100 students at NIU are working toward bachelor’s degrees in geology and environmental geosciences. Geology majors have the choice of specializing in one of three emphases: geology, environmental geoscience and earth science education. Another 40 NIU students are working toward master’s-level or doctoral degrees.

Established in 1888, the Geological Society of America unites thousands of earth scientists from every corner of the globe in a common purpose to study the mysteries of our planet and share scientific findings.

The North Central Section of the GSA includes the states of Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as the Province of Manitoba and the western portion of the Province of Ontario in Canada.

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