August 26, 2010

August 26, 2010

Published Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to school is a little easier for 12 students at EMLF Member Law Schools who received a total of $32,000 in scholarships for the 2010-2011 academic year:

American University, Winfield Wilson; Appalachian School of Law, William Estes; University of Oklahoma, Stephen Gary and Aaron Meek; Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, Robert Jochen; University of Pittsburgh, Meredith Odato and Nikolina Smith; Southern Methodist University, John Davis, Jonathan McCartney, Richard Kamprath, and Betty Lam; and Tulane University, Alayne Gobeille.

Students submit application forms, transcripts, letters of recommendation and references, along with their personal statement describing how they became interested in energy law, and how they hope to contribute as lawyers. Scholarships are funded from EMLF membership dues, named memorial scholarships, and private contributions. The EMLF is pleased to provide financial assistance to these outstanding EMLF Scholars. We hope you will enjoy knowing a bit more about them:

Aaron Meek at Oklahoma recalls his dad as a geologist for ExxonMobil, and remembers helping him color different formations “on huge sheets of seismic on our kitchen floor.”

Jonathon McCartney at SMU says his interest was not sparked by happenstance – both great-grandfathers worked in the oil fields as roughneck and oil lease pumper, his grandfather at a natural gas processing plant, his mother as a reservoir engineer and later an attorney with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, and his father a professional company landman.

Working at Penn State’s Agricultural Law Center provided Robert Jochen with opportunities related to Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale development – including writing some fifteen articles on the topic, and talking with state and federal regulators on natural gas policy. Robert was awarded the $5000 Jan and Chester Keeton scholarship, and just completed a summer internship with Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City.

Diverse backgrounds and extra-curricular activities emerge among the scholarship recipients: Alayne Gobeille at Tulane ended up in law school after working as an environmental scientist whose research project was to study the effects of agricultural management practices on soil fertility on Tequila plantations in Mexico, then working for Con Ed in New York, helping monitor a population exposed to World Trade Center disaster conditions. Alayne’s short-term goal is to practice environmental plaintiffs’ law in New Orleans – where she is also a performing artist with the New Orleans area circus arts groups. Her long-term goal? Returning to law school “to teach a new generation of attorneys what I have learned.”

Betty Lam is a student of Professor John Lowe at SMU’s Dedman School of Law, and received the Mary Sue Schulberg Scholarship. Explaining her interest in real property and natural resources law, Betty wrote “the right of ownership over land has created wealth, war, uncertainty, risk, and adventure.” Describing herself as an immigrant to America who had lived on the streets of Saigon and in refugee camps in Thailand, “owning land has always been the epitome of my American dream.” Betty’s husband, Brandon, is a prosecutor in the U.S. Army JAG Corps, stationed at Fort Hood, TX.

The $5000 EMLF Presidents’ Scholarship, established to honor the service by the Foundation’s presidents, was awarded for the first time this year to University of Pittsburgh student Meredith Odato. Meredith is finishing a summer’s work as an associate at EMLF member Babst, Calland, Clements & Zomnir, P.C., in Pittsburgh. During the academic year Meredith will be participating in an externship to earn academic credits towards an Environmental Law, Science & Policy Certificate, and plans to work for the PA DEP or the Army Corps of Engineers. In acknowledging the scholarship, Meredith wrote “I sincerely appreciate EMLF’s efforts to encourage and support students who wish to practice in the area of energy and mineral law. Thank you for making such a generous contribution to my legal education, and a significant impression on my overall legal career. I look forward to becoming an active EMLF member in the near future.”

It’s nice to envision these students as future members of the bar, working to solve the many legal issues related to natural resources and energy development. As you learn more about these students, you can understand why the EMLF Scholarship Committee members are willing to dedicate so much of their time to this program. Many thanks to Professor Bob Beck (Southern Illinois University), Professor Buzz Belleville (Appalachian School of Law), Dick Emens (Emens & Wolper), Professor Joe Dellapenna (Villanova), Melanie Kilpatrick (Rajkovich Williams Kilpatrick & True), Tim Means (Crowell & Moring), Joe Reinhart (Babst Calland Clements & Zomnir), and Professor Ernest Smith (Texas) for volunteering their time on the Scholarship Committee.

Careers in Energy Law Programs
at EMLF Member Law Schools

Are you interested in volunteering some time to talk to students about your legal career? We’ll be scheduling visits to EMLF member law schools over the academic year, in our continuing goal to interest students in pursuing a career in energy and mineral law.

We usually have a 50-minute daytime program with three attorneys talking about their practice and how it developed, then answering any student questions. Programs have customarily been held at West Virginia University, Washington & Lee, University of Kentucky, American University, University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University. If you would like to volunteer, contact Sharon Daniels.


Aaron Meek

Alayne Gobeille

Betty Lam and Husband Brandon


Meredith Odato