Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM


MCCONNELL, Vicki S., Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries, 800 NE Oregon Street, #28, Portland, OR 97232,

State geologic surveys represent a combined workforce of nearly 2,000 and a yearly budget in the $250,000,000 range. The applied science world of state geologic surveys requires working across culturally and geographically diverse landscapes. Frequently we are asked to solve problems that reflect cultural, ethnic, or community-specific issues. For example, providing hydrogeologic data used for water rights decisions between sovereign tribal nations and other water users or determining the environmental justice impact of a mine site or geologic hazard on a community.

The Association of American State Geologists (AASG) represents state geologic surveys and their missions. AASG has had two women as president in 105 years. Presently 8% of the State Geologists in America are women and 2% are persons of color. Females make up approximately 25% of geoscientific staff across all state geologic surveys and 51% of administrative staff (including management and technicians). AASG does not keep official statistics on the cultural or ethnic diversity of state geologic survey staff; however, a non-scientific survey conducted by the author indicates diversity of the workforce varies considerably from survey to survey. The number of women in management roles at state surveys is increasing, thus increasing the likelihood of more female State Geologists in the future. There are few non-white managers and administrators. Since many program administrators at state surveys are scientists themselves the issue of a lack of diverse leadership mirrors the workforce in general.

All state geologic surveys stress that they hire the best when recruiting and are gender and color blind. Many participate in university- or state-sponsored diversity hiring programs that emphasize identifying professional venues in the discipline that serve diverse populations, and ensuring that the search committees provide these organizations with the position announcement and other outreach. The challenge is to have a diverse pool of candidates to recruit from and this requires a culturally and ethnically rich pool of students in the geosciences and related fields.

AASG recognizes that diversity in leadership and workforce in state geologic surveys will better serve our public at large.

  • VSMcConnell presentation_231374.pdf (966.6 kB)