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Jane V. Thomas -- 2001 Outstanding Alumna
Master of Science -- 1971 -- Chemistry
Jane V. Thomas founded Wyoming Analytical Laboratories, Incl. (WAL, Inc.), a commercial laboratory business, largely aimed at coal, petroleum, water, and trace element analyses, in 1977. Currently, WAL, Inc., has division offices in Laramie and Rock Springs, Wyoming, and Denver, Colorado.
A Kentucky native, Thomas grew up mostly in southwest Alabama. She earned her B.S. degree in chemistry from Murray State University, Kentucky, in 1961. She worked at the Illinois State Geological Survey for five years before beginning her master’s work at Texas Women’s University, Denton. Thomas transferred to the University of Wyoming where she received her M.S. degree in chemistry in 1971.
Known internationally as a preeminent expert in quality analysis of coal and coke, petroleum and petroleum products, and tars and tar sands, Thomas also specializes in classical wet chemical analysis, qualitative determination by emission spectrography on geochemical samples, X-ray fluorescence on rocks and coal ash, and analysis of trace elements in geochemical samples. Since 1981, several of Thomas’ manuscripts have been published in Analytical Chemistry. She is the second woman ever to receive the R.A. Glenn Award for outstanding accomplishment within the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee D5 Coal and Coke Committee.
Thomas is active in several professional organizations, including the Society for Applied Spectroscopy; mining associations in Wyoming, Colorado, and West Virginia; the American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL); the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute; and the Wyoming Section of the American Chemical Society, for which she currently serves as counselor. In 1989, Thomas was president of the Denver Coal Club.
Community involvement is important to Thomas because she believe people should give back what they receive. She is a past member of the Laramie Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and past chairperson of its Governmental Affairs Committee. Thomas also is a member of the Laramie Chapter of Zonta International and the Laramie section of Toastmasters.