Penn State Association of Women Geoscientists receives excellence award

Jesse Westbrook
October 19, 2016

The Penn State chapter of the Association of Women Geoscientists (AWG) recently received the 2016 AWG Chapter Excellence Award, which recognizes chapters that go above and beyond to represent the international organization and support women in the geosciences. The chapter was recognized during an awards breakfast at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, on Sept. 26.

Founded in 1977, AWG is an international organization devoted to enhancing the quality and level of participation of women in geosciences and introducing girls and young women to geoscience careers.

With more than 20 active members, the Penn State chapter encourages women geoscientists in central Pennsylvania through social events and outreach activities, such as an undergraduate mentorship program.

“I was really excited when I heard the news,” said Judi Sclafani, co-president of Penn State’s AWG chapter and doctoral student in geosciences. “I’m so happy that the efforts of our past and current members are being rewarded by the international organization.”

One of the Penn State AWG chapter’s goals is to facilitate professional outreach activities, such as its “Sketching for Geologists” class at the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania, a nonprofit organization that serves students, artists and the public in the Centre County region. The class provides undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty, an opportunity to learn new skills together.

Sketching is an important tool used by geologists in their research for interpreting what they find in the field, such as rock outcrops, thin sections and fossils.

The chapter is currently seeking to develop additional outreach initiatives for the public, as well.

“We hope to expand our public outreach activities in a number of ways, such as working together with local schools,” said Sclafani. “I think it would be great to have scientists and graduate students engage children at a young age.”

For those interested in setting up outreach opportunities with the chapter, contact Judi Sclafani (

To learn more about Penn State’s chapter of AWG or to get involved, visit

Liz Hajek, assistant professor of geosciences, is the faculty adviser for Penn State's chapter of AWG.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 19, 2016