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, the scholarship committee had the difficult task of choosing the recipients from a number of qualified applicants representing member law schools.
This year’s beneficiaries came from eight different law schools, with West Virginia University College of Law, Appalachian School of Law and the University of Texas School of Law each having two honorees. Other schools represented were Louisiana State University Paul M. Herbert Law Center, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, University of Houston Law Center, University of Oklahoma College of Law and Washington and Lee University School of Law,
EMLF Law Student Scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year totaled $32,000, and were awarded to the following eleven law students:
- Madeline Bugh, University of Oklahoma College of Law (Mary Sue Schulberg Scholarship)
- Douglas Conant, West Virginia University College of Law (Cabot Scholarship)
- Amanda Demmerle, West Virginia University College of Law (Cabot Scholarship)
- Arsalan Eftekhar, University of Texas School of Law
- Thomas Geeker, Washington and Lee University School of Law
- Caroline Huber, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
- Sara Lampert, University of Texas School of Law
- Bailey Latham, Appalachian School of Law
- Erika McDonald, University of Houston Law Center
- Elias Medina, Louisiana State University Paul M. Herbert Law Center
- Caitlin Young, Appalachian School of Law (James H. Davis, III Memorial Scholarship)
Unless noted, all awards are from the general scholarship fund.
Madeline Bugh – Mary Sue Schulberg Scholarship
Third year law student Madeline Bugh came to the University of Oklahoma College of Law from the Colorado School of Mines where she received a degree in petroleum engineering.
A Vermont native, the oil and gas industry, as she wrote in her scholarship application, was foreign to her but she soon became fascinated by it. And that fascination grew after an internship following her junior year at Mines when she worked as a reserve engineer in Houston. That interest increased when she took classes in energy policy and environmental law:
“I became excited by the possibility of doing more with my engineering degree. It was at this time that I began contemplating going to law school so that I could study the intersection between the law and the technologies used for producing oil & gas.
At the Colorado School of Mines, she was active in the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Association of Drilling Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers. After graduation, Madeline worked as a production engineer with Marathon Oil Corporation, where she managed and maintained all of the company’s South Central Oklahoma Oil Province; coordinated and organized the 2017 operations budget for the Mid-Continent Asset Team; worked with a multi-disciplinary team to pull, organize, and analyze data; and worked with the land department to monitor, track, and determine if wells were holding leases.
She hopes to positively affect the oil & gas legal community in the realm of energy policy, particularly how the law and technology intersect.
“I believe that the oil & gas industry is critical to economies all over the world and that we as attorneys have so much ability to create a positive change on the policies and the public perception so as to promote fossil fuels. I am confident that with my petroleum engineering degree, and a certificate in Oil & Gas law, I will be able to make a large impact on the legal community in a positive manner. I am grateful to have so many opportunities, in a field that is so critical, and at such an exciting time in the Oil & Gas industry.”
Douglas Conant – Cabot Scholarship
West Virginia native Douglas Conant transferred to West Virginia University College of Law from the University of Akron, having gone to Akron after receiving a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from WVU.
Now a third year law student, he has been elected president of WVU’s Energy Law Association, a student organization at WVU’s College of Law and participated with WVU’s team in an energy law negotiations competition hosted by South Texas College of Law this past April.
Douglas characterizes his path to law school as less than traditional. He has owned a business where he performed maintenance and repair of concrete slabs through applying a concrete overlay system. He has even dabbled in politics, serving as a councilman for the City of Flatwoods. He just completed a summer internship with Cabot Oil and Gas.
As he wrote in his application, “On a personal level, as someone who has grown up in West Virginia I have seen the benefits that this area’s natural resources have provided. I care deeply for this area, and my wife and I plan to raise our daughter somewhere within either West Virginia or Western Pennsylvania. I see great opportunity that the continued extraction of these natural resources could provide for these areas, and this is what has driven me into pursuing an education, and a future job, within this field.”
Married, he is the father of a daughter.
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Amanda Demmerle – Cabot Scholarship
First in her class, third year law student Amanda Demmerle came to West Virginia University with two bachelor of arts degrees in environmental sciences and environmental thought and practice.
Amanda just happened into her chosen field of study. “Like most college students, I did not come to college
expecting to make this a career path. However, as a first-year student, getting into some of the classes you want or need is difficult, so you take what you can get. One of the environmental classes I got into turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to me.”
The Virginia native has been active while at WVU — she is a senior managing editor the West Virginia Law Review and vice president of the Energy Law Society. She will have an article published in Volume 122 of the Law Review — Pain in the Ash: How Coal-Fired Power Plants Are Polluting Our Nation’s Waters Without Consequences.
Presently she is working as a research assistant at the College of Law; she has served as a judicial extern for the Hon. Irene Keeley, Northern District of WV, and spent a summer as a summer associate for Bailey and Glasser LLP in Charleston. Honors include nine CALI awards (for the highest grade in each class)
As Amanda wrote in her application, “As I take more classes, I find more and more fields of interest within the energy and environmental world. . . . This is my passion, and I will not be happy until it is what I do every day. And luckily, my passion corresponds with demand. As renewable energy and natural gas become more affordable and as citizens become more concerned with climate change and environmental degradation, demand for energy and environmental lawyers will only continue to increase.”
Houston native Arsalan Eftekhar is now a third year law student at the University of Texas School of Law, having graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor of arts in internal relations and global studies.
While there he was both a scholar in the Next Generation Scholars Program, and junior fellow in the Junior Fellows Honors Thesis Program. Now that he’s in law school, he is associate managing editor of the Texas Law Review and managing editor of the Texas Journal of Oil. Arsalan has also been involved in the Texas International Law Journal and Texas Business Law Society.
His International Petroleum Transactions seminar paper will be published in the next volume of the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law.
He spent two summers as an associate in energy law with Baker Botts.
“Being born and raised in Houston, the largest hydrocarbon base in the U.S., naturally reinforced my interests in energy-related matters,” Arsalan wrote. “My pursuit to understand how energy resources impact a growingly interdependent global system led me to the United Nations in Switzerland, where I conducted 120 hours of field research as the foundation of my honors senior thesis on the Iranian nuclear energy program and national security interests of the United States and Iran. My studies in Switzerland opened my eyes to the importance of obtaining multiple perspectives on a given topic, and reinforced my understanding that energy and international affairs are inseparable.”
He continues to be passionate about energy law and looks forward to becoming an energy law advocate.
Florida native Thomas Geeker graduated from Washington and Lee University with a bachelor of science in business administration and politics.
While an undergraduate, he served as co-editor in chief of the Washington and Lee Political Review among other activities. Now a third year law student, also at Washington and Lee, Thomas has been a member of the Powell Lecture Board, a hearing advisor in the Hearing Advisor Program and is a lead articles editor and staff writer for the Washington and Lee Law Review.
It was a summer job with a Birmingham law firm that piqued Thomas’ interest in energy law and from there onto classes in energy law.
“Regardless of where my career takes me,” he wrote, “I would like to make the representation of oil and gas companies, utilities, energy-focused private equity firms and investors a major part of my practice. My particular interest in energy and natural resources law stems not only from the abundance and complexity of issues but also from their practical relevance in the world and the global economy.”
Third year law student Caroline Huber, a Pennsylvania native, is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, earning a degree in anthropology and sociology. While at Washington and Lee, she was a litigation paralegal and member of the Pi Beta Phi fraternity.
Once in law school at the University of Pittsburgh, she became active with the Student Bar Association, the Moot Court Board, and Pitt Law Women’s Association. She is currently president of the Energy and Environmental Law Association.
This summer she worked as an intern at Gemondo & Mcquiggan. As a firm focused on title work, Caroline wrote, they provide the legs on which the oil and gas industry in this region stands. “I plan to build a career within this industry with the goal of promoting not only oil and gas extraction in the region, but also the possibility of new energy source development.”
It was seeing what the industry could do to benefit a community that drew her to the study of environmental and energy coursework.
“I have spent a significant amount of time in North East Pennsylvania, specifically, in Susquehanna County beginning in high school. Susquehanna County was previously one of the poorest counties in Pennsylvania. I have witnessed the way in which fracking has changed lives in that area for the better. Family farms are being resurrected, unemployment has decreased, and infrastructure is being restored. The transformation in the area is astounding. Upon entering college, I was determined to find a way to promote this growth in my future career.”
A graduate of Louisiana State University with a bachelor of science in business management and entrepreneurship, Sara Lampert went on to earn a masters in business administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette before coming to the University of Texas School of Law, transferring from South Texas College of Law in Houston.
Sara has long been interested in energy law, intending to work for an oil and gas company upon receiving her masters degree.
“I was drawn to the fact that energy plays a role in almost every facet of the global economy and wanted to be involved in making meaningful changes that resulted in a more efficient use of resources and safer processes,” she wrote.
That segued into attending law school and continuing working with firms that focused on energy law, including a summer internship with Kirkland and Ellis in Houston, which she calls an “energy law hotspot.”
The Louisiana native, a third year law student, has been active with The Review of Litigation, serving as a staff editor and research editor and more recently with the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, & Energy Law as a staff editor and this year, director of projects.
Her varied legal experience: judicial intern for Judge Tony Davis, the United States Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Texas; law clerk for Cokinos Young; summer associate for Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz; and finally, judicial intern for Judge David Hittner, United States District Court, Southern District of Texas.
Graduating from Morehead State University with a degree in agricultural business, Nebraska native Bailey Latham is now a third year student at Appalachian School of Law.
She is serving this year as the president of the Student Bar Association at ASL, where she previously had been a senator on the Fiscal Policy Committee. Other organizations in which she is involved are the Environmental Law Society where she served as treasurer; Appalachian Journal of Law, associate editor; and Energy Mineral Law Society, president.
Her legal experience includes clerking for Street Law Firm, which is a current position; summer law clerk for Justice Elizabeth McClanahan; and law clerk, Hardin County Commonwealth Attorney’s office.
Growing up in rural Nevada, Bailey said she has always had a passion for the environment, citing how her grandfather taught her the importance of taking care of, and respecting, the land.
“As I entered high school and joined FFA, I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge of agriculture and natural resource conservation. It was then that I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.”
That led to her degree in agribusiness, wanting to make a change, as she writes, in “the way that business and agriculture are melded.” But as she began her studies at ASL, she became more interested in energy law.
Her goal now is to take the Texas bar and pursue a career in energy law. “My favorite thing about energy law and environmental law is the fact that these are two areas of law that are constantly changing. I look forward to my future in Energy Law.”
Brownsville, Texas native Erika McDonald earned a bachelor of arts in communication from the University of Saint Thomas, Houston, before coming to the University of Houston Law Center where she is a third year student.
While at Saint Thomas she was quite active, including a stint as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She served as an investigator with the Texas Innocence Project and volunteered with numerous organizations. While in law school, her activity level has continued — oralist and brief writer with the school’s Moot Court and representative for the Health Law Organization. She holds memberships in a number of organizations and is the founder of the Food Law and Policy Student Organization.
Presently she holds several part time jobs, including one with a local law firm.
She has written extensively on energy and environmental topics, with one piece that was accepted for publication in next fall’s Texas Bar Association’s International Law Section journal titled Armed with Data: How Public Health Methodology Can Move U.S. Human Trafficking Law from Punishment to Prevention.
Her interest in natural resources law emerged during her 10 years as an independent journalist in Houston, covering environment and energy issues, revealing that she had a particular passion for stories with an environmental justice angle, but she became frustrated by the growing number of open cases.
“What began as a subtle sense of doubt that would eventually drive me from a profession I loved, finally crystalized into the singular idea that propelled me toward a legal career: that the only way to effect environmental justice is through the law. Inspired by the numerous attorneys I interviewed as a journalist, I came to law school to take a new direction on a course I have long felt called to pursue.”
As Erika writes, she is committed to continuing her track of public interest work. “My goal is to combine as many of my interests into one role as possible, for example working for a regulatory agency on international environmental justice issues.”
Graduating with a degree in political science from Louisiana State University, third year law student Elias Medina first began his fascination in natural resources law while studying Atoms for Peace as an undergraduate student.
“I expressed this interest when I first became a student at LSU Law and was fortunate to earn a summer fellow position at Van Ness Feldman in Washington, D.C. There, in addition to nuclear-related assignments, I learned both policy and legal considerations surrounding nuclear, offshore wind, and hydro markets.”
Activities while in law school include managing editor and articles manager for the Louisiana Law Review. He will have an article in the 80th issue — Recognizing the Need to Recognize: A Proposed Foreign Judgment Recognition Statute and Enforcement Procedure for Louisiana.
As Elias wrote in his application, “My learning experience as a legal fellow was not just in the office — I was able to meet U.S. senators and others related to the energy sector and attended hearings with the EPA, FERC, and NRC. I am ready to take my experience and apply it to thrive in future endeavors.”
|Caitlin Young – James H. Davis, III Memorial Scholarship|
Another Appalachian School of Law student, Caitlin Young came to ASL having earned a degree in aviation and aerospace engineering from Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Presently she is president of the Energy Mineral Law Society and the Environmental Law Society. Caitlin has served as both a member and chair of the Moot Court Board, and is a member of the ASL Student Ambassador group.
She also volunteers at the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.
During her time in law school, her interest in water resource policy has evolved to the point that she wants to make it a career.
“I spent my winter break reading about water rights and state water compacts, which have major impacts on all industries in Colorado, my home state. I started to use my connections in Colorado to get in touch with lawyers who practice in the water resource field. After meeting with several lawyers and discussing what practice in water law would be like, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in water law.”
This past spring Caitlin put the knowledge she has gained to good use, competing at the National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition at West Virginia University College of Law.
Aa she wrote in her application, “I enjoyed working on a problem that had water law issues, and I look forward to becoming more knowledgeable on these types of issues as I advance in my career. I know that I am capable of making significant contributions to this field, because I am passionate about water law. I look forward to a career in water law, and I hope I inspire others to consider practicing law in this field.”