The Outstanding Student Paper Awards (OSPAs) are awarded to promote, recognize and reward undergraduate, Master’s and PhD students for quality research in the geophysical sciences. It is a great honor for young scientists at the beginning of their careers and the process relies entirely on volunteer judges.  Typically the top 3-5% of presenters in each section/focus group are awarded an OSPA.

There are four roles in the OSPA process:

  • Student:  Students indicate their interest in participating during the abstract submission stage and must confirm their participation below in order to be considered.  Students may not be added after the abstract deadline.
  • Judge:  Judges volunteer their time in order to assess students’ oral and poster presentations.   Many appreciate the opportunity to interact with bright young scientists.
  • Liaison:  Each session must have a Liaison who works with the Coordinator, facilitating the securing of three judges per student in their session.
  • Coordinator:  Each section or focus group has a Coordinator or team of Coordinators who oversee the OSPA process, ensures that all students are judged, and selects the winners.

Student first authors give oral presentations or remain by their poster during a session in order to explain their research to passersby.   The student’s presentation of the work is the main focus and the learning opportunity:  In learning to present their science well at a young age, being critiqued and receiving constructive criticism, they will gain the presentation skills needed later in life- be it for a grant pitch or in the classroom.  The judging may or may not be anonymous, dependent upon the wishes of the judge or section/focus group.  Students should be prepared to give the same high-quality explanation to all those who inquire about their research.