During its annual spring council meeting and election, the Geological Society of America (GSA) bestowed an honor on the best of the geological profession with a Society Fellowship. Callan Bentley – Assistant Professor of Geology at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale Campus – was one of 70 national and international GSA members who will become Fellows this year.
GSA members are nominated by existing GSA Fellows in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological program, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations and taking on editorial, bibliographic and library responsibilities. There are more than 2,000 GSA Fellows around the world.
Bentley was nominated by Declan De Paor of Old Dominion University with an endorsement by Chuck Bailey at the College of William & Mary and Bob Blodgett of Austin Community College. Bentley – who started the innovative Mid-Atlantic Geo-Image Collection (M.A.G.I.C.) project with his students almost six years ago – does everything he can to inform his students and the community about geology, career opportunities in the field and recent research and findings.
M.A.G.I.C. uses unique technology to enhance geology curriculum. The project uses gigapan imagery – or gigapixel panoramas – to create really large images that users can explore for detailed observations and insights about geological processes. Bentley creates hands-on projects like M.A.G.I.C. to keep his students engaged, and he also serves as the president for the Geological Society of Washington (GSW).
Once a member receives a GSA Fellowship, the distinguished honor is for life. As a Fellow for GSA, Bentley is looking forward to representing the organization in his research, curriculum and involvement in a community of his peers.
“I see it as an investment in my reputation on the part of GSA. It shows a willingness on the Society’s part to associate their name with my activity,” Bentley said. “To me, that means that I’m increasingly empowered to stand up for science, to advocate for reason and empiricism in civic decision-making, to advocate for those without the ability to advocate for themselves. The Society’s imprimatur helps me in that work.”
Bentley joins a number of GSW members who are already GSA Fellows, so he said being recognized as a Fellow is a happy event for their organization. Although the recognition won’t alter his teaching at NOVA, he is aware of the bar he has set as he continues to add various accolades and acknowledgements throughout his career.
“This probably won’t alter my teaching much at NOVA, but I’m conscious, with all these feathers being added to my cap, of not wanting to let anyone down,” Bentley said. “An award of honor such as this inspires me to keep my standards high and attempt to do the very best I can for my students.”
GSA’s newly-elected Fellows will be recognized at the GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle during the 2017 fall semester.
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.