The Lasting Impact of the Austin Student Travel Grant Challenge
By Carlos A. Dengo, AGU Development Board, Outgoing Chair
In 2019, thanks to AGU members, the scientific-engaged public and Jamie Austin’s generous $1 for $1 match, the Austin Endowment for Student Travel was created. Through this endowment, we will send 60 Earth and space scientist students from around the world to Fall Meeting in perpetuity.
The fact we did this when AGU turned 100 made it even more special. This was a great indicator of the interest and personal commitment held by many in the AGU family to see our membership’s continued success. So many of us attended as students where we learned more about our disciplines, shared our science and research findings and built professional relationships. We had these opportunities thanks to the generosity of others.
The Austin Challenge was an amazing accomplishment that was made possible because of your generosity. You selflessly supported the next generation of our community.
- With Austin Challenge, you showed your commitment to helping through initiatives, including:
$100 for 100 Section Initiative, led by AGU President-Elect Susan Lozier. Section presidents and presidents-elects were asked to raise 100 gifts of $100 from their primary section membership to support the Austin Challenge and in honor of AGU’s Centennial anniversary.
- #GivingTuesday, the national day of philanthropic giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. By highlighting AGU members from varied career stages and career fields talking about their first Fall Meeting or their experiences with students at Fall Meeting, these videos conveyed the importance of AGU’s Fall Meeting to student scientists and the benefits of having more students at the meeting and in the Earth and space sciences.
- Former Student Travel Grant Recipient Ambassador program that highlighted how the program affected their work and careers. These inspiring testimonials were featured across AGU’s social media platforms and in eos.org.
These are just a sampling of some of the volunteer hours and financial contributions that more than 4,000 people donated to the Austin Challenge. I am confident that the students we help today will become generous mentors to future generations, furthering this legacy. Thank you for your support.