Cezar Iacob demonstrated outstanding leadership as a student member of SEG. As a student member of the Romanian Geophysical Society, Cezar helped organize the Balkan Geophysical Conference, the joint Stanford-Bucharest Field Camp in Romania in 2006 and 2007, the joint Frei University Berlin- Bucharest Field Camp in 2008, and the First International Student Conference in Bucharest in 2010. The conference was jointly sponsored by SEG, AAPG, and EAGE. Each added programs to the conference (SEG the Challenge Bowl, Student Education Program, and Honorary Lecturer). There were 428 participants, with 360 students from 11 countries in spite of the coincident Icelandic volcanic eruption and its concurrent disruption of air service.This included an exhibition floor for recruiters, oral and poster presentations from students, a field trip and a high-quality program brochure.
Cezar Iacob earned a BS in geophysics in 2008 from the University of Bucharest, where he continued to pursue graduate studies, attaining an MS in environmental geological engineering in 2009 and a PhD in geophysics in 2012. He is now a co-owner of DIRAC, a company offering geophysical and geological services.
Contributed by Peter Duncan
Cezar Iacob received the SEG Special Commendation Award in 2012.
Citation for the Award
Over the last 11 years, I have vistited geosciences students throughout North America, South America, Europe and the Middle East. I have been overwhelmed by their intense interest in the science, the quality and insightfulness of their questions, and their camaraderie, their sense of community. I have also been humbled by the circumstances that many endure to get a geosciences education. This bright, fresh, enthusiastic and totally engaged body of aspiring geoscientists has filled me with an overarching optimism about the future of mankind in general and our community in particular. Among the students I encountered, Cezar Iacob stands out.
I met Cezar when he and Christian Stanciu picked up Kathy and I at the Bucharest airport. I was there to give a lecture. Christian owned the wheels. Cezar was our host and tour guide. We became very close to this pair as they showed us around Bucharest. Their pride in their country, their city, and their school was infectious. We met many other students, all bright and interesting, but
Cezar was clearly the leader. Soon we learned just how effective his leadership had been. As an undergraduate in 2005, he was active in organizing the 4th Congress of the Balkan Geophysical Society where he connected with a Stanford graduate student. The outcome was a successful Stanford-Bucharest application for an SEG Foundation grant to conduct a field camp in Romania in 2006, with the Stanford graduate students serving as instructors and Bucharest undergraduates as the class. Both sides benefitted. Cezar was the key student organizer on the Romanian side.
By 2008 the leadership passed to the University of Bucharest students who reached out to Free University of Berlin to conduct a similar camp. Now the students were becoming the teachers. This field camp was viewed by the Foundation as a significant success story: educational experience, student chapter collaboration, sustainability, evolution from the taught to the teacher. Cezar was mentoring student leaders, in Bucharest and beyond. Cezar attended the SEG/Chevron Student Leadership Symposium in 2007 and the SEG/ExxonMobil Student Education Program in 2008. These broadened his global and regional student networks. He then developed the concept of an international student expo hosted by the University of Bucharest and he took the lead in organizing what became the “1st International Geosciences Student Conference” (IGSC), held in 2010. Thanks to Cezar’s vision, leadership and enthusiasm, an important and sustainable European student program exists. SEG is working with students at the Free University of Berlin on the 4th IGSC for next year. Cezar’s ability to see a need and match people and resources to fill that need has a humanitarian side as well.
As chronicled in his 2012 article in TLE (“Geoscientists Without Borders: a student’s story of a humanitarian educational project in Romania”), he was the prime mover in a Foundation-funded project to map water contamination around an ancient mining camp. The results were so compelling that the government of Romania was forced to move on a long stalled freshwater program. The geophysical work was carried out by students and this quote from the article surely captures the depth of the experience: ”The students enjoyed unforgettable days filled with fascinating moments, a lot of learning, beautiful landscapes, and unique experiences. They often worked in difficult conditions of extreme heat or cold rain, and around wild animals and irritated local residents. They quickly realized that field geophysics is not for everyone. But they also realized that if they work as a team, many obstacles can be conquered.”
Cezar has a quiet, unassuming manner and an engaging Cheshire cat grin that he flashes when he suddenly materializes at your side, as if out of nowhere. That is exactly how it was when I met him recently in Copenhagen. He could not understand receiving this award. “Awards,” he said, “are for older people who have accomplished so much.” I replied in all seriousness that few of us “older” folks have made the impact on our global community that he has in his 28 years. I and the rest of SEG are looking forward to what he will achieve in the next 28. Well done, Cezar.