GSA Earth Sciences Student Symposia (GESSS)

GESSS is a national program of symposia and an initiative of the Geological Society of Australia. Student conferences organised by students for students nationally. Registration is free for Students and Non Student GSA Members. For more information about GESSS contact

GESSS 2020
15 January 2021 – GESSS SA - Rescheduled from 24 November 2020
Description: GESSS SA is the only GSA Earth Science Student Symposium to be held face-to-face in 2020 - you can also watch it online via Zoom from anywhere in Australia (or the world)! GESSS SA will allow students from Flinders University, University of South Australia and University of Adelaide to promote their talents to future employers, discover new areas of research at other universities, and meet new people within the Earth sciences field.
Location: Function Rooms, Flinders University and streamed online
Registration: Click here
Website: Click here
T-Shirts: Click here

Amy Tschirn (PhD Candidate, Flinders University) – Chair
Alex Simpson (PhD Candidate, University of Adelaide) – Secretary
Cassia Paragnani (PhD Candidate, Flinders University) – Treasurer
Fernando Fagundes Fontana (PhD Candidate, University of South Australia) – Sponsorship Manager
Darwin Subarkah (PhD Candidate, University of Adelaide) – Program Coordinator
Georgina Tilly-Scholes (Bachelor of Environmental Science with Honours, Flinders University) – Publicity Coordinator
Holly Cooke (Bachelor of Science, Advanced, Geology Major, University of Adelaide) – Publicity Coordinator

Keynote Speakers
Professor Peter Betts is a Professor of tectonics and structural geophysics in the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University. He is also the Associate Dean of Graduate Research in the Faculty of Science and the inaugural Geological Society Ambassador and touring lecturer. He will be presenting his talk Changing the Geoscience narrative to improve the way we are perceived by the general public via livestream GESSS SA.

Dr Margaret Shanafield completed her PhD in hydrogeology at the University of Nevada (USA) before moving to Adelaide, Australia, where her research has focussed on surface water groundwater interactions and streambed processes, especially in arid climates. She is a Senior Researcher/Lecturer at Flinders University and the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training with over 15 years of experience in water resources. She will be presenting her talk Stepping into the water: a career in something that should be important to everyone! 

12-16 October 2020 - Virtual GESSS
Virtual GESSS was held online during Earth Science Week 2020, which had the theme 'Earth Materials in Our Lives'. Participants were encouraged (but not obligated) to base their presentations around this theme. Sessions were organised by GESSS committees representing QLD, TAS, ACT/NSW and WA and were sponsored by CSIRO. Daily sessions were 2.5 hours long with the first 2 hours dedicated to 6-8 student presentations followed by INTRA GSA for participants and viewers to network. A professional development day was also held on the Thursday which included a “Pathways to work for the CSIRO” and several other sessions designed for participants to sharpen their skills.

12 October - Virtual GESSS QLD
Keegan McGuffie (University of Queensland)  Co-chair & Communications
Emily Conn (University of Queensland)  Vice/Co-Chair & Facebook
Tianjiao Yu (University of Queensland)   Secretary
Mathew Vermaak (University of Queensland)  All-rounder & Communications
Joan Esterle (University of Queensland)  Abstract Coordinator
Alison Troup (University of Queensland) Abstract Coordinator

13 October - Virtual GESSS TAS
Olivia Wilson (University of Tasmania)
Hannah Moore (University of Tasmania)
Rhiannon Jones (University of Tasmania)

14 October - Virtual GESSS ACT and NSW
Amber Jarrett (Geoscience Australia)
Caleb Bishop (Australian National University)

15 October - Virtual GESSS Professional Development Day
Pathways to CSIRO Panel Session
Learn about career pathways from CSIRO earth scientists, and hear about their key projects.
Moderator: Ignacio (Nacho) Gonzalez-Alvarez Principal Geochemist

Renee Birchall, CSIRO Mineral Resources, Experimental Scientist/Team Leader
Morgan Williams, CSIRO Mineral Resources, Postdoctoral Fellow
essica Stromberg, CSIRO Mineral Resources, Research Scientist
Siyu (Shirley) Hu, CSIRO, Research Scientist
Shane Mulè, CSIRO, Research Scientist/ Team Leader

Communicating Science Outside of Publications
Presented by Kate Selway, Macquarie University, ARC Future Fellow

Publishing Your Research and Discoverability
Presented by Anita Andrew, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, Editor-in-Chief
Video: Watch here

Gold at the End of the Rainbow: How your choice of colour can impact data interpretation
Presented by Thomas Schaap, CODES-Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Sciences, PhD student

Why Mentors Matter
Presented by Marina Costelloe, Geoscience Australia, Acting Branch Head for the Mineral Systems Branch
Video: Watch here

16 October - Virtual GESSS WA
Raiza Quintero (Curtin University) – Chair/Secretary & Communications
Kenneth Orr (Curtin University) – Chair/Secretary & Abstract Coordinator
Andrea Rajšic (Curtin University) – Abstract Coordinator
Sean Makin (Curtin University) – Communications

Download Virtual GESSS Program

Webinars: Prior to Earth Science Week, two webinars were held in conjunction with Virtual GESSS.

10 September 2020 - Virtual GESSS Webinar 1: 'Promoting on Social Media'
Details:  Hosted by GSA Governing Councillor Dr Verity Normington, this webinar provided participants with practical tips and skills on using social media to promote their participation in Virtual GESSS. The webinar aimed to generate an online conversation around Virtual GESSS and engage the GSA members in the event, but also highlighted basic skills for using social media for science communication and having an online presence.
Slides: Click here to download the slides
Video: Watch here

8 October 2020 - Virtual GESSS Webinar 2: 'Presenting Online'
Details: Hosted by Dr Sandra McLaren (University of Melbourne), this webinar provided participants with some practical skills for presenting for a virtual event. The skills required to present online are different to those typically adopted for traditional events.
Video: Watch here