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Meet the 2020-2021 Salt Creek Energy Excellence Recipients

October 18, 2020
lizzie stephani and rachael buzanowski

Named for the oldest producing oil and gas field in Wyoming, the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship was founded to encourage students who demonstrate a strong interest in energy law, and to help them as they move forward in their academic endeavors towards a career in the field of energy and natural resources law.

More than just a scholarship, the Salt Creek Energy Excellence program is a community of donors and practitioners dedicated to the legal energy sector. By connecting students to a group of friends and donors, the intent is to facilitate employment and mentorship opportunities, and to provide an easier transition to practice within the field.

The scholarship has already gained substantial notoriety in the energy field, and past recipients have continued to live up to the expectations of this prestigious award.

Each year the committee selects one Salt Creek Scholar, and if the application pool is particularly impressive, selects an additional scholarship recipient(s) to welcome into the Salt Creek energy network.

Lizzie StephaniThis year, the College of Law and Salt Creek Energy Excellence Committee are excited to recognize second-year law student Elizabeth “Lizzie” Stephani as the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholar for 2020-2021.

With an interest in sustainability, public land management and a passion for private property rights, Stephani came to the College of Law after earning her bachelor’s degree in Government with a minor in Environmental Science and Policy from Smith College in 2018. Prior to starting law school, she spent a 4 months in South Africa working on a waste management project, and also gained experience as a fellow at the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, and as a Project Manager for a non-profit called AeroAngel. 

During her first year of law school, she served as a Research Assistant for the Rural Law Center where she was able to utilize her background in government regulations to develop a comprehensive research strategy for wildlife migration corridors.

An impressive student with notable writing abilities, Stephani was one of two students from the UW College of Law that were recently selected to the editorial board of the esteemed Harvard Journal of Law and Policy’s Thirty-Ninth Annual Federalist Society National Student Symposium issue.

Stefani did not let her commitment to legal writing deter her from gaining practical legal experience. Busy editing articles this summer; she also worked as an extern with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver, Colo. where she was able to acquire expansive litigation exposure and make valuable connections.

She took the fall 2020 semester off from law school to run an election campaign in Colorado, but will resume her studies in the spring with an eye on expanding her education in energy and natural resources.

“In law school and afterward, I am looking forward to exploring the intersections between sustainability, public land management, and private property rights,” she says. “I’m so grateful to attend the University of Wyoming College of Law and have a space to consolidate my questions about resource allocation and correlative rights, while gaining the legal acumen to contribute to the energy industry in the future. I can' t thank the Salt Creek Network enough for their support and generosity!”

In addition to the Salt Creed Scholar, the Committee selected a second recipient of the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship this year, third-year law student Rachael Buzanowski.

Rachael BuzanowskiA native of Montana, Buzanowski grew up on her family’s ranch where she was often exposed to landowner issues as they relate to the development of natural resources. 

With an extensive background in agriculture, the draw to energy law was a natural fit for Buzanowski. She earned an associates degree in agricultural science from Butler Community College of 2016 where she was also a standout collegiate athlete in both volleyball and track & field, earning All-American and Academic All-American honors. She went on to finish bachelor’s degree in 2018 from Kansas State University in Animal Science before deciding to attend the University of Wyoming College of Law.

During law school she has been an active member of the Natural Resources Law Club, serving as President for the student organization during her 2L year. She has been extremely proactive about her energy education, taking advantage of the energy laden curricular opportunities and attended every possible industry field tour offered to better understand the inner workings of the industry in Wyoming. She has also served as a staff member for the Wyoming Law Review.

Throughout her legal education, Buzanowski gained valuable experience working as a compliance extern with the University of Wyoming Department of Athletics, and as a contract Legal Research Assistant for Righetti Consulting, LLC where she focused her time on issues relating to the determination of mineral ownership. Between her second and third year of law school, she worked as a Summer Associate with the Cheyenne-based Falen Law Offices, LLC, where she worked on land use, industry, and natural resource issues.

In addition to her aptitude for energy law research and writing, Rachael also excelled in the courtroom and was a recipient of the Judge James E. Barrett Scholarship for her outstanding performance in the Summer Trial Institute. Following graduation, she has accepted a permanent position with the Falen Law Offices, LLC.

“I am honored to receive this award and to have such an incredible support system as I begin my legal career,” comments Buzanowski. “I am so excited to be part of the natural resources field and look forward to seeing where this path takes me.”

Salt Creek Scholars are typically announced at the annual College of Law Honors Banquet, honored at the Center for Law and Energy Resources in the Rockies (CLERR) annual Landscape Discussion on Energy Law and Policy, and promoted to potential employers throughout the Salt Creek Scholars donor network.

Due to the complication that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Law was unable to honor these students at the annual Honors Banquet, or at the annual CLERR Landscape Discussion on Energy Law & Policy in the Rockies Conference.  However, we would like to ensure that these phenomenal students are recognized for their hard work and dedication to energy law in Wyoming.

The College of Law congratulates the Salt Creek Energy Excellence recipients on this incredible accomplishment and looks forward to watching them excel in their legal careers.

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Fax: 307-766-6417

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