Blair Benson Schneider
SEG Special Commendation 2019 
At a very early stage in her career, Blair Schneider has established herself as an exemplary leader in the geosciences community. As a student, she won the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) President's Award and then later served as AWG president. Since receiving her PhD in 2017, Schneider has served as the director of the AWG Foundation and vice chair of the SEG Women's Networking Committee. These are just the highlights extracted from a long list of leadership posts and activities directed at improving diversity in the geosciences. It is rare for an individual to establish such a remarkable record of leadership at such an early age. Schneider is primarily being recognized for her efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the geosciences. To quote one of her nominating letters: “The work she is doing will make (applied geophysics) better for young women, as well as members of under-represented groups, who will add to the science and society.” Schneider is deserving of the Special Commendation Award and is exactly the kind of young geophysicist we should recognize and support within SEG.
Biography Citation SEG Special Commendation 2020
Blair Schneider's passion and tireless efforts toward recruitment and training future generations is evident throughout her early career as a geophysicist and an educator. As an undergraduate in the late 2000s, Blair became the educational outreach officer in the James Madison University Geological Association, becoming its president her senior year. Continuing at the University of Kansas (KU) for her graduate education in geophysics and archaeology, she volunteered in local schools and became active with student professional organizations, the KU Geophysical Society (the SEG chapter), Sigma Gamma Epsilon, and the AAPG chapter, eventually rising to president of the KU Geophysical Society, all while completing her master's degree in geophysics on time. She served as student representative for the SEG Women's Network Committee. From the presidency of the Osage Chapter of the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) and then as AWG South Central delegate, Blair's competence, initiative, vision, and passion were recognized when she became AWG president. Through her vigorous outreach efforts as AWG president-elect, Blair more than doubled the number of local AWG chapters, including a chapter in Mongolia.
Blair worked tirelessly to serve society and the profession while pursuing her research in applied geophysics and archaeology. At KU, she was awarded the prestigious PhD Self Fellowship, a five-year leadership and professional development program. Her innovative research gave the scientific community the first measurements of prehistoric animal bone electrical properties. Her work is published in journals such as Geophysics and the Journal of Applied Geophysics, and she has given numerous technical presentations at SEG, Geological Society of America, and American Geophysical Union annual meetings. She is a bright early-career scientist who undoubtedly will continue to make advances in the field of geophysics. Blair also discovered her passion in STEM education by becoming a KU GK-12 Fellow while completing her PhD in 2017.
Blair continues to serve the local community through volunteering at local schools and judging at science fairs. She serves the profession through her service as vice chair of SEG's Women's Network Committee, as a member of AGU's Honors and Recognition Committee, and as a director of the AWG Foundation. She continues to serve the science through her funded work to develop evidence-based geoscience curricula for undergraduate students. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at KU and co-principal investigator on the National Science Foundation ADVANCEGeo award to develop a geoscience-focused Bystander Intervention, Train-the-Trainers program to reduce harassment, sexual harassment, and bullying in the field, the lab, and the classroom. This grant is another example of Blair's vision, focus, and dedication to ensuring that anyone who wants to become a geoscientist (and is willing to do the necessary work) can do so. This is recruiting and training the best minds of the next generation.
It is a great pleasure to write the citation for Blair's SEG Special Commendation in light of her many accomplishments in geoscience leadership and the scientific community and in recognition of her work in promoting diversity and inclusion in the geosciences.
- Honors and Awards, The Leading Edge Volume 38, Issue 11
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- Alfredo, Carlos, and Clebsch Kuhn. “The Geological Evolution of the Paraguayan Chaco.” TTU DSpace Home. Texas Tech University, August 1, 1991. https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346/9214?show=full.