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UW Students Win National Landman Scholarships

May 12, 2015
Head portraits of two men
Zach Barr and Tyrell Duncan

Two students in the University of Wyoming’s Professional Land Management Program (PLM) have received scholarships from the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL).

Tyrell Duncan, of Sheridan, and Zach Barr, of Spring, Texas, will continue their studies with the support of the national organization that accredits programs to train professional landmen.

UW’s PLM program, one of just nine accredited in North America, is a concentration within the energy resources and development major in the School of Energy Resources (SER). AAPL awarded 30 scholarships for the nine accredited programs this year, “so it is quite an honor for UW students to receive two of the scholarships,” says Don Roth, director of the UW program.

Thirty-seven students are enrolled in the program, which aims to produce professional landmen capable of providing sound stewardship of energy and mineral resources. Landmen determine land ownership and availability for mineral leasing; negotiate agreements with landowners for drilling and production rights; draft and administer contracts with the assistance of corporate counsel; coordinate workflow with geologists and engineers; and ensure compliance with government regulations.

Duncan enrolled in the PLM program after completing a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business at UW. He discovered the program after attending a job fair on campus and interviewing for a position with an oil and gas company.

“I was originally investigating graduate school but, after speaking with the School of Energy Resources, I decided that I wanted to do a second bachelor’s in this program instead,” he says. “I was attracted to the program because it has such a diverse curriculum that intrigued me because there are so many opportunities for a successful career in this field.”

Duncan, who’s scheduled to graduate in spring 2017, plans to pursue a career in the region as a land professional.

“Receiving this scholarship from the AAPL is a tremendous honor for me,” he says. “I am new to the PLM program and new to the field, so the fact that they are willing to invest in me is very motivational for my future.”

Barr began studying in SER’s fossil fuels concentration in 2012 while the PLM program was going through the final stages of accreditation. He switched to the program “because of the diverse business, engineering and law courses that were in the curriculum,” he says.

Barr is scheduled to graduate in May 2016 and has accepted an internship this summer with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. He hopes to have a career with Anadarko in the Rocky Mountain region.

“The AAPL scholarship means a lot for my career personally. It’s more than just money,” he says. “To me, the scholarship means all of the hard work I have put in, the long hours, the missed outings with friends, were not a loss, but a worthy price to pay for my future.”

SER developed the PLM program, in partnership with the Wyoming Association of Professional Landmen and the energy industry, in part, to meet an increasing demand for well-trained land professionals with specific knowledge of Western land issues, culture, heritage and environment. The program includes coursework in business, geology, law, engineering and math, with opportunities for practical application. It emphasizes direct industry experience through internships, collaborations with practicing professional landmen and attorneys, field trips and other interactions with the energy sector.

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