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GEM on the job

GEM Environmental - Easing the transition from student to geoscience professional

What does it take to become a contributing member of the geosciences community in 2018? As a freshly minted graduate, it can be difficult to land an industry position. Lacking on-the-job experience, you struggle to get traction. Sure, you can get a second degree, maybe develop a specialty; but without industry experience or an industry insider to champion your cause, your resume sinks to the bottom of a weighty pile.

Eric Welsh
Eric Welsh - President GEM Env.

I felt the stress and angst of submitting application after application to no avail. There were times in my post-academic career where I fell flat and resorted to labor or non-geoscience roles just to scrape by before I landed my first, entry-level, field-based position.

Even after a few years of working in the industry, it seemed I always fell just short of the experience required for promotion. I scraped pennies in the Nevada desert for nearly  two years before landing a GeoCorps position with the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program in New Mexico. That experience propelled my career as a geologist and created the opportunity for me to continue working as a liaison with the BLM assisting in their AML project as a geologic consultant.

My experience as a GeoCorps intern coupled with the geologic training I received from Dr. Beth Boyd (Yavapai College), and the geosciences staff of Northern Arizona University inspired me to build a small consulting business into a non-profit organization to assist geoscience graduates.
Here at G.E.M. Environmental NFP (not-for-profit), we champion aspiring students and strive to help them gain the industry experience they need to be competitive job seekers.

Our mission: build a pipeline to channel students and recent graduates of STEM programs into industry careers via scholarships, paid internships, and cross-training in geoscience fields. Our dream is to provide a challenging work environment where students apply lessons learned in college to problem-solving and developing a practical skillset as a launching pad for a successful career in the geoscience industries.

GEM Logo

G.E.M. Environmental NFP is a fledgling organization in our first year of business, but don’t let that discourage you from helping us advance our cause. We have made considerable progress in our first eight months. In July 2017, we inked a contract with the BLM in conjunction with the Department of Energy (DOE) to inventory, evaluate, and categorize abandoned uranium mines in New Mexico through the Defense Related Uranium Mining (DRUM) program. To expand our resources, we have been aggressively pursuing fresh contracts and have several new project proposals in the pipeline. We are dedicated to establishing a sustainable model for easing the transition from student to employee. Using revenue from the DRUM project we are purchasing Trimble GPS units, laptops, software licenses, and geophysical testing equipment for future operations. With the remainder of DRUM funds, we set 5 percent aside for our inaugural 2018 scholarship program and 35 percent aside to fund our first paid internships.

While currently focusing on mine site inventory, categorization, mapping, and remediation; our broader goal is to build a scaffold for geoscience interns to acquire experiences in the physical and geoscience fields, including: Exploration Geology, Environmental Geology, Geochemistry, Engineering Geology, Sample Collection/ Preparation, Cartography, GIS Applications, Anthropology, Biology, Botany, and General Outdoor/ Stewardship Skills.

We operate out of a mobile platform (re. travel trailer) equipped with an office, living quarters, UTV, and survey equipment situated on or adjacent to the project site.  The mobile platform model minimizes overhead cost and keeps our contract bids on local, state, and federal government projects competitive.

GEM in the field

Bringing student interns onboard will enable them to garner experience on federal and state contracts through an organization that prides itself on providing a quality service. Once we gain notoriety and build a reputation for the capability of our interns, we hope to become a valued source of recruitment, where our interns are prized for the diversity in knowledge they possess, their work ethic, and their ability to adapt with changes in any work environment.

Would you like to help?  If you or someone you know is interested in helping us advance our cause, please like us on Facebook @GEMenvironmental, check out our website, email us at, or give us a call at 928-910-2001. G.E.M. Environmental NFP is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) Scientific Charity registered as a Non-Profit Corporation in the State of Arizona. All Donations are tax deductible at the federal level. EIN: 82-1017612.  

Eric Welsh – President G.E.M. Environmental NFP  

This is an invited Arizona Geology Blog post. (M. Conway 1/15/2018)