The women of geoscience


Jasmin Campoya

The AWG is a national organization with a chapter in El Paso that is devoted to enhancing the participation of women in geoscience. President of the Association for Women Geoscientists, Carmel Murillo (CENTER) joined AWG in 2021.

Avery Escamilla-Wendell, Staff Reporter

The future of science is looking brighter because of the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) Sun City Chapter.  

The sciences have always been a male-dominated field; however, AWG is breaking this stigma by inspiring women to choose the field of geosciences.   

AWG is a national organization with its Sun City Chapter in El Paso which dates back to 1977, a time when women were struggling to be represented in geosciences.  

The UTEP chapter was founded by Amanda Labrado and has helped many women in geoscience find a home at UTEP.  

Carmel Murillo, a senior majoring in geological sciences, is the president of AWG. Murillo started college as an anthropology major, but then decided to leave school. She eventually came back as an Option Two student, meaning she has a record of taking courses at UTEP previously.  Murillo says she then found her passion for geosciences when she took her first geology course at UTEP.  

“I would ask a lot of questions, and I became interested in geology and how it’s an area that integrates all of the sciences,” Murillo said. “I never thought of myself as a scientist until I learned that I could integrate everything that was just so fascinating: physics, mathematics, chemistry, into one area.”  

Murillo joined AWG in 2021 and says it became her safe place as it provided her opportunities in the world of geosciences and for her future in graduate school.  

AWG has provided Murillo with scholarship opportunities in the community and the ability to teach young children who aspire to be future geoscientists.  

“We want to uplift voices of women in the geosciences,” Murillo said. “We also like to use our organization as a place for us to come together and work together, uplift each other, welcome everyone who believes in supporting each other, and in any field of science.” AWG provides all members with mentoring for different types of scholarships and internships.  

Field camp is a required course students must take for their degree, so the scholarships do help fund that course or any materials a student might need to pay for.  

“We like to be the first stop for other students looking for that experience to show them around and just guide them through that process,” Murillo said.  

The inclusion the organization has made for women in geosciences has allowed them to feel more comfortable in their field.  

Professors have reached out to AWG at UTEP to share they notice the effort of inclusion of the women in geoscience.  

Murillo says the women of history who fought to be a part of geosciences are the reason for all the opportunities they now have at AWG.  

“We like to set the example and just continue that progress and in that development of the representation of women and minorities in the geosciences,” Murillo said.  

 AWG requires members to attend meetings and events they host. 

The organization just had its recent trip to White Sands National Park and will have more trips and events coming up for the rest of the spring semester.  

AWG is setting the standards for future women in geoscience by presenting many opportunities for those within the chapter. 

For any questions on how to be a part of AWG, contact the organization at [email protected] or on Instagram @awgsuncity.  

Anyone interested in joining AWG may join through MineTracker and apply for membership through the AWG Sun City Chapter website.  

Avery Escamilla-Wendell is the staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @by_avery_escamilla