Competitive Scholarships & Awards

Overview:

New Mexico Geological Society scholarships and grants are awarded to students enrolled in New Mexico institutions and whose proposed projects are located in New Mexico (or the surrounding region for the Cearley Geochronology Award).  Project areas and students enrolled in colleges outside of New Mexico are not eligible for funding.  Some “cross-over” projects that have elements of geology, but may not be exclusively related to geology, may be considered at the discretion of NMGS; however, the project must be geoscience-centered.  Proposals from undergraduate students are considered along with those from graduate students; however, some money is restricted for undergraduate research only.  Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to submit proposals.   Awards are considered without bias regarding sex, race, age, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin.

NMGS will support mileage costs up to $0.58/mile, equipment costs up to $ 1,000, thesis preparation costs up to $100, and thin-section costs up to $30 each. Aside from mileage, NMGS will not fund travel, per diem, or food requests or expenses, but may fund lodging requests if lodging is absolutely necessary to complete field or analytical work (e.g. travel to work at a lab located out of state or field-related campground expenses).

Undergraduate research awards can be funded up to $1,500. Graduate Grants-in-Aid can be funded to up to $2,000 (with an additional $1,500 increment if Graduate Mentorship funding is requested). Undergraduate and graduate Cearley geochronology awards can be funded up to $2,000 (with an additional $1,500 increment if Graduate Mentorship funding is requested). The base funding for the Frank E. Kottlowski Research Award is $2,500, which will be given to the highest ranked graduate Grants-in-Aid application.   The Kottlowski Research Award will not be awarded to the same person two years in a row.  The base funding for the Cearley Grants-In-Aid is $2,500.  There is no base funding for the Cearley Geochronology Awards. The Kottlowski and Cearley award amounts may be increased by $1,500 if a Graduate Mentorship is requested.  Cearley Geochronology Awards can be in addition or supplemental to other NMGS awards.

Recipients will be presented with their check in person at the Spring Meeting where a listing of awards will be posted prominently.

Requirements:

The applicant must be attending a NM institution with a proposed research project in NM (or the surrounding region for the Cearley Geochronology Award).

  1. Cover Sheet (for student assembled applications; online applications create this automatically)
  2. Abstract (1 page maximum)
  3. Resume (8 pages maximum)
  4. Description of Project (10 pages maximum) should include the following sections:
    1. Problem / purpose of study. Clearly state the problem to be addressed or the hypothesis to be tested. Include the field location where the problem will be studied.
    2. Previous studies.
    3. Significance of the study. Why is this work important? Place the project in a disciplinary context and in the context of New Mexico Geology.
    4. Method(s) of study. Concisely state how you plan to accomplish your investigation, including data analysis. Be specific.
    5. Duration of investigation.
    6. Description of geochronologic work (if requesting Cearley Geochronology Award).
    7. Description of Graduate Mentorship (only if requesting Graduate Mentorship funding).
    8. References cited in proposal.
  5. Itemized budget (in a summary table) and budget justification (on a separate page).  Items should be clearly identified and described in the proposal text. An itemized budget is still required to be provided even if the requested amount is only a portion of a larger project budget (i.e. if the NMGS award will offset larger expenses, the requested budget must still be itemized in a summary table).
  6. List of other grants that:
    1. have supported this project in the past
    2. are currently supporting this project, and
    3. are being applied for.
  7. Progress report on most recent NMGS Grants-in-Aid award (2 pages maximum).
  8. Two letters of reference:
    • At least one letter of reference must be from the student's advisor.
    • At least one of letter of reference must be from a current NMGS member.
    • At least one letter of reference must be from someone who is neither the student's advisor nor department chairperson.
    • Cearly Geochronology Award applicants must have a letter of collaboration (and/or pricing) from the proposed laboratory (see below).
    • Additional letters can be submitted either electronically or via mail (instructions provided once an application is complete).

Evaluation Process:

Proposals should be completed online.  A committee of geoscientists (commonly three), including the Vice President of the Society, reads all submitted proposals and independently ranks them.  Depending on available NMGS funds, the committee awards the highest ranked proposals the Frank E. Kottlowski Research Award and Cearley Awards and determines amounts for other awards.  The committee is free to use its judgment in evaluating proposals beyond the general guidelines given above.  In past years, the committee has funded well thought-out proposals and innovative proposals not apt to receive conventional support.  Past committees have suggested proposal writers consider the following:

  1. Is the proposal well written with a clearly described purpose and objective?
  2. Is the proposed project “do-able”?  Past highly favored proposals were well focused with achievable schedules and deliverables.
  3. Does the proposal tie into ongoing work of major geological significance?  Does the proposal have the potential for making a major contribution in a given area?
  4. Are the number of samples taken (analyses, thin section) reasonable?  Proposals with too many analyses in a small area or too few in a large area will be questioned.
  5. Does the detailed budget include justification of reasonable costs? Budgets that outline all the potential costs of the project and detail all funding sources are judged more favorably.
  6. Do not request excessive reimbursement for mileage.  Many daily commutes to a field area are judged more critically than a few trips with lengthy stays.
  7. NMGS will not fund per diem requests or requests for food expenses, but may fund lodging requests if lodging is absolutely necessary (e.g. travel to work at an out of state laboratory, or campground expenses).
  8. Do not request excessive duplication costs.
  9. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to present a paper at the NMGS Spring Meeting.
  10. See specific evaluation criteria below each award description.

Specific Award Evaluation Criteria:

Grants-in-Aid, Kottlowski, Cearley, and Pipkin Research Awards:

  1. Project should be a significant contribution to some aspect of New Mexico geology.
  2. Application should include a bibliography of the applicant's publications.  Emphasis is placed on publications and papers presented on the proposed area of study and on New Mexico geology.
  3. Application should note the student’s participation and contributions to the New Mexico Geological Society.
  4. Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to present a paper at the NMGS spring meeting.

Graduate Mentorship:

  1. Describe in the application the anticipated activities and duties that the undergraduate student will be performing under the Graduate Mentorship program. Be specific, and provide detailed descriptions of all undergraduate tasks and duties.
  2. How will the undergraduate student be selected by the graduate student?
  3. How will the requested funding be used?  If funding will go to the undergraduate student, how will that be managed?
  4. What steps will the graduate student take to help ensure that the undergraduate student is both performing adequately and learning additional skills?
  5. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to present a progress report to the committee on the Graduate Mentorship after completion of the mentorship.
  6. A progress report is required after completion of the mentorship if a second year of Graduate Mentorship is requested.

Cearley Geochronology Awards:

  1. Except as outlined below, criteria for Grants-in-Aid apply for this award.
  2. Awards can be used to fund analytical costs, sample preparation, travel to the host geochronology laboratory, and lodging related to laboratory analysis.
  3. Project must be focused on field-based geochronology studies. Projects should strongly favor New Mexico-based geologic field work, but locations in adjacent states will be considered.
  4. Geochronology Awards can be stand-alone, or in addition to other NMGS awards.
  5. Proposals for all awards require a detailed budget for the entire project. There should be separate budget line-items for requests from Grants-in-Aid, Cearley Geochronology funding, and any other funding sources. When requesting geochronology support, the budget should clearly justify and delineate what that funding will be used for.
  6. The application should specify which laboratories will be utilized. There is no requirement that a New Mexico based laboratory be used.
  7. Students can apply for funds to use any geochronology method appropriate for their proposed research project, including, but not limited to: U-Pb, 40Ar/39Ar, Lu-Hf, Sm-Nd, Rb-Sr, U-series, fission-track, (U-Th)/He, 14C, cosmogenic exposure, and luminescence dating.
  8. Applicants must include a letter and/or price list from the intended laboratory that supports the proposed anayltical methods and budgeted analytical costs. This is to ensure that laboratories can perform the proposed analysis and that the proposed analysis is scientifically reasonable. This applies to both non-profit university and commercial fee-for-service laboratories.

Award Details:

(See the sections on Requirements, Evaluation Process, and Specific Award Evaluation Criteria above.)

NMGS Grants-in-Aid & Graduate Mentorship:

These research grants are awarded every spring to support research by graduate students attending a New Mexico University.  Amount may vary, but is a maximum of $2000 per award.  Selection is made by the NMGS Scholarship Committee.  Applications and other information available on NMGS web site; deadline for submission of applications is typically the 3rd Friday in February.  Grants-in-Aid applicants are automatically eligible for the Kottlowski Research Award and Cearley Grants-In-Aid.   The two top-ranked Grants-in-Aid applicants will receive the Kottlowski Research Award or Cearley Grants-In-Aid Award rather than the standard NMGS Grants-in-Aid award.

A graduate student may also apply for a Graduate Mentorship Grant (amount will vary, with a maximum of $1500) as an additional funding increment to a “Grants-in-Aid” application. These grants allow a graduate student to employ and closely mentor an undergraduate student in research activities for a year. A brief statement of the anticipated duties and research training to be provided the undergraduate student can be added to the graduate student’s Grants-in-Aid application. 

  • Focus: Support of student research in New Mexico.
  • Awarded: Annually during at the Spring Meeting
  • To: Graduate (M.S. or PhD.) geoscience student
  • Selection: NMGS Scholarship Committee via Grants-in-Aid application. 
  • Amount: Up to $2000 per award (or up to a total of $3500 if Graduate Mentorship funding is requested)
  • Evaluation Criteria: (see above)

Frank E. Kottlowski Research Award:

Awarded annually to a graduate student attending a New Mexico university at the NMGS Annual Spring Meeting based on Grants-in-Aid applications.  Selection is made by the NMGS Scholarship Committee.  Thesis/dissertation topic must be in New Mexico.

  • Focus: Excellence in New Mexico graduate thesis/dissertation research
  • Awarded: Annually at the Spring Meeting
  • To: Graduate (M.S. or PhD.) geoscience student
  • Selection: NMGS Scholarship Committee via Grants-in-Aid application. The top-ranked Grants-in-Aid applicant will receive the Kottlowski Research Award.
  • Amount: $2,500
  • Evaluation Criteria: (see above)

Cearley Grants-in-Aid:

Awarded annually from 2018 to 2022 to a graduate student and an undergraduate student attending a New Mexico university at the NMGS Annual Spring Meeting based on Grants-in-Aid applications. Selection is made by the NMGS Scholarship Committee. Thesis/dissertation topic must be in New Mexico.

  • Focus: Excellence in New Mexico graduate thesis/dissertation research
  • Awarded: Annually at the Spring Meeting
  • To: Graduate (M.S. or PhD.) geoscience student and Undergraduate (B.S. or B.A.) geoscience student
  • Selection: NMGS Scholarship Committee via Grants-in-Aid application. The second-ranked graduate and top-ranked undergraduate Grants-in-Aid applicant will receive the Cearley Grants-In-Aid Award. In the absence of a highly-qualified undergraduate proposal, both Cearley Grants-in-Aid will be awarded to graduate students.
  • Amount: $2,500
  • Evaluation Criteria: (see above)

Cearley Geochronology Awards:

Awarded annually from 2020 to 2024 to graduate and undergraduate students attending a New Mexico university at the NMGS Annual Spring Meeting based on Grants-in-Aid applications. Selection is made by the NMGS Scholarship Committee. Research/thesis/dissertation topic will strongly favor New Mexico-based geologic field work, but locations in adjacent states will be considered. Awards can be used to fund analytical costs, sample preparation, travel to the host geochronology laboratory, and lodging related to laboratory analysis. Geochronology Awards can be stand-alone, or in addition to other NMGS awards.

  • Focus: Support high-quality geologic field-based geochronology studies in New Mexico and surrounding states
  • Awarded: Annually at the Spring Meeting
  • To: Graduate (M.S. or PhD.) geoscience students and Undergraduate (B.S. or B.A.) geoscience students
  • Selection: NMGS Scholarship Committee via Grants-in-Aid application.
  • Amount: $2,000 maximum per award
  • Evaluation Criteria: (see above)

Lucille H. Pipkin Undergraduate Research Awards:

Lucille H. Pipkin Undergraduate Research Awards will be made to undergraduate students attending eligible New Mexico institutions who are undertaking faculty-supervised research leading to completion of an undergraduate research thesis or report.  Students will submit proposals using the same guidelines and requirements as for the Graduate Grants-in-Aid. Eligible institutions are those with formal undergraduate research programs.  The committee which selects the forwarded proposals will be informed that only proposals involving a substantial component of geoscience research will be considered for funding.

  • Focus: Support of undergraduate research in New Mexico.
  • Awarded: Annually at the Spring Meeting
  • To: Undergraduate students pursuing supervised research projects
  • Selection: NMGS Scholarship Committee via Grants-in-Aid application. 
  • Amount: $1,500 maximum per award.
  • Evaluation Criteria: (see above)

Outstanding Student Paper Awards:

Awarded every Spring to the best oral and best poster presentations by a student during the annual Spring Meeting.  Selections are made by a panel of judges.  Solicitation for Best Paper judges is the responsibility of the technical chair(s) for the Spring Meeting. 

  • Focus: Recognize and award the best geoscience presentations
  • Awarded: Annually after ranking during the Spring Meeting
  • To: Students who prepare the best geoscience paper representing principally the work of that student
  • Selection: Panel of judges chosen by the Spring Meeting technical chair(s)
  • Amount: $100 each for the best oral and best poster presentation

Student Science Fair Winners:

Awarded to outstanding presentation of geoscience-oriented science fair projects submitted for competition.  Selection by judges at regional New Mexico science fairs and by judges at the New Mexico State Science and Engineering Fair.  All science fair regions are eligible.

  • Focus: Recognize and reward excellence in geoscience-oriented science fair projects
  • Awarded: Annually in the spring for the Regional and State Science Fairs
  • To: Junior and Senior science fair winners in the earth science category
  • Selection: Science Fair judges 
  • Amount:
    • Two awards are available for each Regional Science Fair at $100 each.
    • Two awards are available for the State Science and Engineering Fair at $100 each.