Young Professionals

Meet the AAPG Europe Young Professionals:

Florentina Enea

President of the Students and Young Professionals Committee of AAPG European Region

After obtaining my BSc and MSc degrees in Geology at the University of Bucharest in 2009, I enrolled in a PhD at the University of Portsmouth, UK. I have started out as the President of Bucharest SC, being involved in AAPG activities for almost seven years now. I then co-organized the National Symposium for Student Geologists and helped out with the organization of the 1st International Geociences Student Conference, both held in Bucharest. Before taking over as Chair for the SYPC of the European Region, I was first a committee member and then the Eastern European SCs rep.

I’m currently trying, along with the committee members, to expand the European SC/YP network and reactivate some of the old SCs by improving the existing programmes and creating new ones that keep up with the ever changing requirements and needs of our modern society.


Ben Kilhams

European representative on the Global Student Chapters Committee

‘I am currently a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen and have been involved with the AAPG for almost three years. I started out as the treasurer of the Aberdeen Student Chapter and after visiting Student Chapter leadership meetings in Tulsa and Prague I set a goal to resurrect activities in Aberdeen . After becoming chapter president I oversaw an increase in membership from 20 to 120 in one year and raised over £5000 for a joint fieldtrip venture with Lisbon and Amsterdam chapters. I was then appointed UK student chapter representative on the European Students and Young Professionals committee and organised the first ever UK chapter meeting (involving 10 chapters) which has helped to develop a sense of community within AAPG UK. Finally, I also helped to start the Aberdeen Young Professionals chapter with the aim of providing a stepped progression into the organisation for the large geoscience community in the city. I have recently become the European liaison to the global student chapter committee and hope to share ideas internationally and learn from the other regions and sections’


Ruari McDonald

Young Professionals Representative on AAPG European Region

‘I am currently working for Hess Corporation in London as an exploration geoscientist. I completed my Undergraduate BSc (Hons.) at the The University of Glasgow, studying Earth Science, and followed my academic interests to Imperial College London, where I completed my MSc in Petroleum Geoscience. In 2010, I joined AAPG Young Professionals Committee in London after meeting some AAPG Young Professional representatives at the annual conference and exhibition in New Orleans, USA. On joining the YP committee I helped set up networking events, career talks and publicised the newly founded YP group within the oil & gas community in London. I then took up the position of Young Professional President (London), and continued to increase the reach of AAPG, enlisting almost 100 new members. As a committee, we have formed excellent ties with the PESGB Young professionals, setting up joint networking evenings in and around London, and we plan to continue this good relationship in the future. I have recently taken up the post of Young Professional Chair for the European Region, and look forward to the challenges and good times ahead.


Sonya Punch

Italian Student Chapters Representative

I received my BSc degree in Geology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and my Msc degree in Geology from the University of Houston in the United States.  I worked briefly as an environmental consultant and more recently worked for Shell International Exploration and Production for 5 years as an Exploration Geologist.  Also, I recently migrated to Milan, Italy to embark on new life adventure, and am currently working at ADX Energy, Inc. in Vienna Austria while serving on the AAPG-YP European Committee.  I’m currently organizing the student and young professional activities for the much anticipated AAPG-International Exhibition and Convention to be held in Milan, Italy in October 2011.  I’m  also helping Italian students set up their first ever student chapters in Italy.

Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, I enjoy art, tennis, golf, traveling and learning different cultures.


Adam McArthur

UK Student Chapters Representative

I am currently completing my PhD at the University of Aberdeen, where I have become heavily involved in AAPG activities over the past three years. Previously I have held the position of vice-President and President of the Aberdeen Student Chapter and have participated in UK Student Chapter leadership meetings, which I shall now be organising in my current position as the UK Student Chapter representative to the European Students and Young Professionals committee.

In my time as head of the Aberdeen SC I continued to improve inter chapter relations, furthering links with Lisbon and Amsterdam chapters by co-organising the Aberdeen SC’s first ever field trip and forming a new link with the Bucharest SC by initiating the Aberdeen AAPG Petroleum Geology training course. In my new role as UK rep I hope to be able to forge new links between the UK Student Chapters and to this effect I will be helping in the organisation of a UK Student Chapter Symposium in February 2012 to help bring the UK Student Chapters together.


Andrei Panaiotu

Eastern Europe Student Chapters Representative

I recently graduated BSc at the University of Bucharest and I’m planning to continue my master in Bucharest. I had an early start in AAPG, attending the Bucharest Student Chapter’s activities since my first year, but only in 2009 I understood the benefits of AAPG and how can I contribute to its beliefs when I was elected president of the chapter. Attending the Student Leadership meetings in Tulsa and Prague helped me in my goals to better organize and link the local and regional geoscience communities. I assisted the joint venture of the AAPG, SEG and EAGE chapters in Bucharest and was one of the event coordinators for the 1st International Geosciences Student Conference. Wishing to become more professionally involved, I enrolled in AAPG’s Grants-in-Aid Committee and starting with the AAPG ER Annual Conference in Kiev 2010 I was proposed to represent Eastern Europe in the Students & Young Professionals Committee. In the end, I wish to help improve and promote all of these programs and also to learn and share experience with other members.


David Contreras

France, Portugal and Spain Student Chapters Representative

I am a geophysicist working in Exploration studies within Scientific Center of the French Oil Company, Total.  I first got involved with the AAPG by being the President of the Institut Français du Pétrole School – AAPG Student Chapter during my studies there in 2008 and 2009. Additionally I represented the School in the IBA held in Prague. While being at School I helped organizing the student activities for the European Region Conference held in Paris during the fall 2009.

Afterwards I was appointed to the SYPC and became its french liaison with the other 4 Student Chapters that have been created with my help since 2009. I have participated in 2 SYPC meeting held in Prague where we have discussed the issues and way forward to increase the participation of young graduates and students in the Region.

Finally, I’m also Editor of the Newsletter for the European Region, being the coordinator for Students and YP’s news.

Email: davidcongeof@gmail/com

Vera de Leeuw

Student Chapters and YPs Representative in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany

During my BSc and MSc at Utrecht University, I was involved in several geological student organizations and committees. The one year full-time board membership of the Geological Student Society of Utrecht, for example, gave me the opportunity to organize numerous geological excursions, lectures and symposia. I like to use the experience from my time as a student, as well as my current experience of working in the petroleum industry, to contribute to the AAPG European Region Student and Young Professional Committee. In this role, I focus on Student Chapter management and YP Chapter development in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Currently, I work as a Well Placement Geologist for Schlumberger based in Stavanger, Norway.


Vincenzo Spina

Italian Student Chapters Representative

“I have completed a PhD in structural geology working on active tectonics, stress transfer, fault segmentation and interaction and palaeoseismology in central and Southern Apennines, and northern Calabria.

Main topics of my scientific interest are on the morphotectonics, structural geology; tectonic evolution of thrust and fold belts and sedimentary basin, faults interaction and growth.

I completed projects (mainly field based) for Universities, Research Centers, State Agencies and Industry in Italy, France, Spain, North/Central Africa; Greece, Bulgaria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan.”


Ralph Groen

Denmark Student Chapters Representative

Currently I’m working in the Exploration department of Maersk Oil Copenhagen, where I moved directly after graduation. I’m part of the Mitas training program, which involves three rotations of 8 months in different business units. This summer I will move to Doha, Qatar, for a very exciting operational rotation! My involvement with AAPG started in 2007 at VU University Amsterdam, where I started an AAPG student chapter together with three other students. The student chapter is very active now, closely cooperating with AAPG Student Chapters in Lisbon and Aberdeen, and with SPE student chapters in the Netherlands.

After graduation I moved to Copenhagen, where I discovered there was no existing AAPG chapter. Together with Nick Lagrilliere I took the initiative to start organizing lectures and social events, to promote cross-organizational knowledge sharing and networking. The first event was very successful, with over 100 people attending, a great number of which were students. We’re currently in the process of establishing a student chapter at Copenhagen University, and continue our efforts to organize regularly returning gatherings.

My main goal with AAPG is to stimulate and promote cross-organizational networking and knowledge sharing. I strongly believe that it is important to look beyond the imaginary boundaries of a department or a company, and that innovation and new ideas evolve from new insights and discussions with people from a different background. There is a world of opportunities out there, we just need to go out and tell each other!



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