Scholarship Recipients Announced at Annual Institute
As part of its mission to foster the study of energy and mineral law, the EMLF annually awards scholarships to students attending EMLF member law schools. Composed of law professors and practicing attorneys, our scholarship committee had the difficult task of choosing the recipients from 29 qualified applicants representing 11 member law schools.
This year's beneficiaries came from eight different law schools, with Washburn University College of Law having four honorees. Other schools represented were Louisiana State University Law Center; University of Houston Law Center; Appalachian School of Law; University of Oklahoma College of Law; Texas Tech University School of Law; Washington and Lee School of Law; and Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law.
EMLF Law Student Scholarships for the 2016-2017 academic year totaled $30,000 with the following 11 law students sharing in the proceeds:
Unless noted, all awards are from the general scholarship fund.
Janine Small Boyd - Mary Sue Schulberg Scholarship
Louisiana native Janine Boyd is a third year student at Louisiana State University Law Center, currently on track to receive an Energy Law Certificate upon graduation. She also volunteers to write case briefs for the Mineral Law Institute's quarterly newsletter and as president of the Women's Energy Network (WEN) at LSU, she is helping the group become an official campus organization recognized by the nationwide organization.
As she writes, "My interest in minerals and natural resources began as a college undergraduate. Our family property was leased for the first time and I enjoyed hearing the landman explain how the leasing process worked." Interested in learning more, she secured a research position with a Texas mineral purchaser and taught herself the basics of well permits and production in the Louisiana Office of Natural Resources.
For five years she worked for oil and gas companies researching surface and mineral title for ownership before leases could be signed or wells drilled. She also has experience negotiating leases with landowners and has devoted much of her career to ensuring the property owners are given the opportunity to lease their mineral interest.
Her experience in mineral title and well production helped motivate her law studies. She intends to expand her career in natural resources.
Robert J. Denzer
Going into his third year at the University of Houston Law Center, Robert Denzer is a Minnesota native who received a bachelor of arts in history from the University of Colorado. He has contributed to several publications as well as being active in student groups. One of his honors is placing second in the Texas A&M School of Law National Writing Competition (2015).
Having a deep fascination with history and how, in his words, "the past influences today's decisions" has led Robert to an interest in natural resources law and a position in the land department of a small independent operator in Colorado. "As I gained more experience, I began to see history in action through conveyances and contractual provisions."
That led him further to a career in law; he moved to Houston to attend law school and work in the oil and gas industry. Working as a field landman he is capitalizing on what he learns in his work to assist him in his law studies, working toward a successful future in natural rescources law, intending "to contribute to the field of oil and gas law by maintaining high ethical standards and becoming the most knowledgeable advocate for my client as I can."
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Jason Todd Fannin - Davis Scholarship
Jason Fannin is a third year law student at Appalachian School of Law, coming there after obtaining degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry from West Virginia Institute of Technology. He is active with the Appalachian Natural Resources Law Journal, serving as both articles editor and style editor and presently is vice president of the Energy and Mineral Law Society. He also is the recipient of a number of honors and dean's list honoree.
Married and the father of three daughters, Jason came to law school following a number of years in the working world. As he wrote, "These experiences have taught me a few important lessons: 1 – you can learn from every new experience to be better prepared for the next, 2 – treat every opportunity as having great potential, and 3 – be willing to mentor and involve junior colleagues who have similar desire to grow professionally and personally."
All that led him to law school and eventually to practicing law upon graduation in southwest Virginia where he feels "there will be ample opportunity to involve myself in many different sorts of legal issues and situations dealing with both the heretofore dominant carbon-based energy portfolio as well as the ever-changing supply mix continuing to see expanded use of renewables and alternative fuels."
His interest is in concentrating at least part of his practice on mediation, following ALS' strong dispute resolution/mediation philosophy, believing his work experience in the mineral industry and his concern for Central Appalachia's nature and people will help.
Jessica K. Fredrickson
Kansas native Jessica Fredrickson comes to the University of Oklahoma College of Law from Kansas State University with a degree in political science; she is presently a third-year law student. She will be an articles editor this coming school year for the law school's Oil and Gas, Natural Resources and Energy Journal.
Other activities include serving as a volunteer for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program; treasurer of the Native American Law Student Association; mentor for Section 3 of the IL Class of 2018; and captain of the Law School Intramural Women's Basketball. She was national runner-up in the Native American Law Student Association Moot Court and received an American Jurisprudence Award in environmental law.
Eventually she wants "to obtain a career in the natural resource and energy legal field so I can put my passion and education to use." As she wrote in her application, "My strong desire to enter the energy and natural resource legal field subsequent to graduation stems from growing up on a small farm in northwest Kansas blessed with a variety of natural resources."
Jessica choose OU Law because "I knew my long-term professional goal was to be an advocate for those who work in the natural resource industry, and I knew that OU could give me a well-rounded education in that area due to the school’s strong reputation in teaching a variety of courses centered on those subjects."
Max C. Gottlieb
West Virginia native Max Gottlieb wants to return to his home state upon graduation, noting that "due to the innovation of the energy sector, newly accessible and economical natural resources offer a new opportunity to place West Virginia back on a path toward progress and growth."
He came to Washington and Lee School of Law, where he will be a third year student, from Georgetown University where he majored in government. At Washington and Lee, he has been a member of the Appellate Advocacy Team taking part in the National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition and the National Appellate Advocacy Competition.
The son of a lawyer whose practice focused heavily on natural resources law, from grade school he learned about energy and mineral resources. But he didn't go to law school intending to practice mineral law. However, as he wrote, "As I consider my future, the mental agility necessary for a practice in the natural resources field yields the enjoyable challenge that I desire in a profession."
He continued, "I care deeply about my home state and would like to use my legal career to further its progress. I believe that a practice in the natural resources and energy sector would help provide me with that opportunity."
Brett L. Kvasnicka
It was his grandfather's respect and admiration for the law that inspired Kansas native Brett Kvasnicka to pursue law school; his grandather was a municipal judge in western Kansas.
A third year student at Washburn University School of Law, he is an active member of the college's pre-law club, as well as a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity. which is active in the community through numerous fundraising and charitable events. He is also a member of the Oil, Gas, and Energy Law Society at Washburn. He has also attended a number of conferences looking to expand his knowledge of the industry.
It was reading "The Prize" by Daniel Yergin that directed him toward natural resources law. As he wrote, "The book opened my mind to the ways oil has influenced war, economics, international trade, global power, and the United States role in shaping the industry." He has enhanced his law school learning with professional work in a land and legal department, noting the experience allowed him "to excel in my oil and gas courses this school year. I have developed a passion for this industry and a profound respect for the professionals within it. The complexity and overall impact of oil and gas law has motivated me to contribute to the field of natural resources law for the rest of my career."
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Grant T. Martin - Sean Cassidy Scholarship
Pennsylvania native Grant Martin is a third year law student at The Pennsylvania State University, The Dickinson School of Law, entering law school after graduating from Penn State with a bachelor of science. He is a member of the editorial board for the Penn State Law Review and the Agricultural and Oil & Gas Law Society, and received the CALI Award for the highest score in Legal Analysis, Research and Writing, as well as being a finalist in the CME Group's National Commodity Trading Challenge.
"The energy and natural resources industry initially struck me as an exciting and challenging industry during the natural gas boom, which gave rise to an immense amount of economic prosperity, environmental concerns, and political controversy, right in my backyard."
Because of that interest, he decided to pursue an undergraduate major that he could grow more passionate about, and transferred to Penn State University to study Energy, Business and Finance. He also secured employment learning about the Marcellus Shale. Other opportunities have continued for fuel both his passion and education regarding energy and natural resources law.
Those opportunities led to him writing about oil and gas law for the Penn State Law Review, an article which was selected for publication in the 2016 issue: The Next Big Thing in Pennsylvania Shale Gas Development: Accounting to Unleased Fractional Landowners, Without the Direction of the Law."
As he wrote, "Going forward, I hope to continue to research energy and natural resources law, make more connections in the industry, and provide meaningful progress in the development of oil and gas law in the Marcellus and Utica regions."
Corey L. Moomaw
Graduating with an agriculture major from Fort Hays State University and then going on for a masters in business administration, Kansas native Corey Moomaw is a third year student at Washburn University School of Law where he is a staff writer and notes editor for the Washburn Law Journal. He is also a member of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity, Washburn Law Agricultural Law Society and vice president of the Washburn Law Republicans.
He also received a CALI Award for Top Paper, "Property, Torts, Secured Transactions" and has written an article for the Washburn Law Journal, "Rails-to-Trails: A Tale of Uncompensated Kansas Land Takings."
Growing up on his family's farm led Corey to study business and agriculture, intending to return home to grow the family business, but it was his grandmother's death and the ensuing estate/probate administration process that led him to pursue law school. As he wrote, "Kansas, like several states in the great plains, is facing a shortage of young lawyers wanting and willing to provide services to rural communities like mine. This, coupled with the aging population of western Kansas and highly appreciated land prices has created a drastic need for attorneys in these small communities."
He sees the agriculture and the oil and gas industries as two of the few remaining economic life lines for small communities like the one he calls home.
"Without these producers, and their accompanying service industries, hundreds - if not thousands - of towns scattered across our country would cease to exist. Because of this, I am very passionate towards the industry and intend to spend my professional career advocating for the betterment of oil and gas producers and, subsequently, small rural communities."
Aaron C. Powell
Texas native Aaron Powell received a bachelor of arts in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin before coming to Texas Tech University School of Law where he is going into his third year. He is the lead articles editor for the Texas Tech Law Review, and has an article accepted for publication, "Shake, Rattle N' Roll: A Texas Lawyer's Guide to Induced Seismicity and Saltwater Disposal Wells."
His introduction to natural resources law began as a youth accompanying his father, a petroleum geologist, to drilling rigs logging wells. Fast forward to college graduation and employment - eventually Aaron learned how to make lease calls, becoming versed in the ins and outs of an oil and gas lease. It was one particularly large lease that, as he wrote, "sparked my impulse to go back to school, get a law degree and develop a transactional oil and gas practice."
His experience in the field has helped him in law school and he has also developed an appreciation of environmental laws which have given him a more rounded picture of both natural resources law and the role environmental statutes play in resource management. All his experiences both in the workplace and law school have reinforced his desire to work in the energy sector after school, "assisting clients with unique oil and gas problems, eventually helping start an energy company, and contributing original scholarship to journals and law reviews along the way."
Luis M. Solorio
Going into his second year as a student at Washburn University School of Law, Luis Solorio is a native of Mexico who has lived in the United States since he was a toddler; living first in California, he and his parents moved to Emporia, KS, where he completed high school. A stint in the Army Reserves and service in Iraq followed.
He graduated with a bachelors degree in economics from Emporia State University. He has also been the single parent of three children during his college career, with a daughter now ready to enter college herself this fall. While family obligations have prevented participation in law school extracurricular activities, he has been active in community affairs, including serving for many years as an interpreter for the court system, police department and in the medical and legal fields in Emporia.
As he writes, "I would like to be able to show my children that with hard work, dedication and sacrifice, dreams can be achieved." His goal is to have an impact in the energy law field, combining his law career with the experience he developed while working for the Kansas Corporation Commission as a senior researcher for gas, electric and water industry issues, giving him a greater understanding of some of the more complicated issues in the energy industry.
Adam M. Teel
Another Washburn University School of Law student, Adam Teel is a Kansas native who earned a bachelor of arts degree from Washburn in political science. While in law school he has been a member of the Washburn Law Journal, vice president of the Federal Bar Association, Washburn Law Division, Agricultural Law Society, and Washburn Business Law Society.
He received a CALI Award for International Petroleum Transactions and has had an article published in the Washburn Law Journal, "The Billion Dollar Decision: How the Third Circuit Expanded the Power of the EPA in Implementing TMDLs by Affirming Additional Mandates."
As he wrote in his application, "My interest in natural resources law developed from arguing over an alternative energy policy debate topic in high school. This interest was further developed by my capstone project in undergraduate school, where I did statistical analysis over the effects of GDP changes on environmental trends and resources use."
In addition to his work experience with the Kansas Corporation Commission in the Oil and Gas Conservation Division, he has attended a number of events at the law school and from professional associations to further his education and understanding of the issues facing the energy and mineral law industry. "I plan to continue attending these events to continue learning from experts in the practice area to expand my specialized knowledge."
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