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Dream Jobs

April 19, 2018
woman outdoors with skis
Tylynn Smith worked ski patrol at Snowy Range Ski Area prior to beginning her job with Shell.

Five young graduates share their career stories. 

By Micaela Myers 

Notable alumni from the University of Wyoming include CEOs of top companies, celebrated educators, top lawyers and judges, famous inventors, military leaders, well-known artists and entertainers, successful engineers, NFL and NBA players, and many others who stand out in their fields. But what about those just a few months or a few years out from graduation? Here, we profile five young graduates using the skills they gained at UW to take on the world. 

Tylynn Smith, Shell

Tylynn Smith secured her job with Royal Dutch Shell as a drilling engineer before graduating from UW in the winter of 2017. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering and a minor in outdoor leadership.

“It’s like my dream job, and I’m really excited about it,” Smith says. “I’ll be starting as a drilling engineer in training in the Gulf of Mexico. I didn’t want a desk job as an engineer. I want to work in the field and travel. I hope that working with a global company like Shell, I can one day be sent abroad.”

As a student, Smith completed three internships with Shell and served on different teams. Shell is home to many UW graduates, including key members of the leadership team.

A Daniels Fund recipient from Ruidoso, N.M., Smith had her pick of universities but chose UW for its excellent petroleum engineering program, small-town feel and recreational opportunities. “I really love the outdoors, and I ski a lot,” she says. “The longer I lived here, the more I liked it.”

This winter, Smith worked as a ski patroller at Snowy Range Ski Area.

“I worked at the UW Outdoor Program for four years,” Smith says. “I feel like I grew and got a second degree at the same time.”

During her time at UW, Smith spent a semester abroad in Switzerland. “UW was phenomenal,” she says. “It was an exchange, so I paid tuition like I would here. What other time in your life can you do that?”

Smith also participated in Campus Ventures ministry work and was a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

UW’s alumni connections and professors of practice set UW apart, Smith says: “The network UW provided is really special.” She also loves UW’s affordability, quality and sense of community.

“I’m convinced you get just as good of an education here as you would at any Ivy League school,” she says. “Shell hires from all over. I was paired with interns from MIT, Harvard and Stanford, and I felt I was just as competitive and just as knowledgeable from my schooling here as they were. I think that speaks to how the university develops you. I’m sold.”

man standing in hallway
Josh Law (Photo courtesy of Josh Law)

Josh Law, Flood Marketing

A 2010 graduate, Josh Law returned to his hometown of Sheridan, Wyo., with his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics to run his own business, Flood Marketing. With his partner Brady Mclean, Law grew the company into a full-service advertising and marketing agency with about a dozen full-time employees.

“I love hiring people and giving them a culture and an environment to succeed in,” Law says. “A vision I have for Flood is that I want to continue to start new companies and use Flood to grow those companies. What I want to do the next five years is use our team to grow our own projects.”

For example, Law is a partner in Sheridan’s Luminous Brewhouse. “We worked with them developing their brand and identity a number of years ago, and when it came time to relaunch and move to a different location, my dad and myself stepped in and offered some investment and business consultant/development work,” Law says. Other examples include Let’Er Buck Car Wash and Go Fast Don’t Die motorcycle apparel.

Entrepreneurship is important to Wyoming’s economy, and Law says that UW helped prepare him for this path. “I use my economics education all the time,” he says, adding that the networking was also key. “I knew I wanted to stay in Wyoming, so I love the fact that I met people from all over the state.”

His advice for other entrepreneurs includes having a good plan and a great mentor. In addition, stay patient and realize that not every idea will pan out, he says.

At UW, Law participated in undergraduate research and was active in Campus Ventures ministry. He enjoyed skiing throughout college and is also serving the role as chief operating officer in charge of fundraising for the Antelope Butte Foundation—a project to reopen the Antelope Butte Mountain Recreation Area for skiing and other year-round mountain recreation.

Law appreciates UW’s affordability and sense of pride. “It was great,” he says of his time here. “I loved it. There’s pride in being at UW. I’m not sure you get that when you attend a larger school.”

woman walking on dirt arena
McCall Linke (Photo courtesy of NILE)

McCall Linke, Northern International Livestock Exposition

In December 2014, armed with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in marketing, McCall Linke headed straight from graduation to her dream job as the equine events director and communications director for Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) in Billings, Mont. “I love the planning, working with committees, getting kids involved with livestock and promoting agriculture,” she says. “I believe in our mission of preserving the Western heritage.”

Linke gives credit to the real-world experiences she gained at UW, which included working as an office assistant for College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Programs Office, serving as an Ag Ambassador, completing an independent study with the video department of UW Extension and internships with Always Mountain Radio Network, NILE, AKSARBEN Stock Show and UW Public Relations.

“I’m a big believer in learning outside the classroom,” she says. “The opportunities to get real experience were irreplaceable. The ability to learn outside the classroom propelled my success.”

A native of Granby, Colo., Linke has a number of family members who are UW alumni. She jumped into student life, fitting in as much as she could, including attending sporting events, theater productions, fashion shows, and Singing Statesmen and The Bettys concerts. “It was wonderful,” she says. “I met some of my best friends while in Laramie.”

Linke also played intramural basketball and studied abroad in Finland for a summer. “Traveling is so eye-opening, especially traveling alone,” she says, adding that UW’s study-abroad grants helped make it possible.

“UW has so many big opportunities,” Linke says. “You can be a big fish in a small pond—that success and confidence helps you become a big fish in a big pond after graduation.”

man standing beside helicopter
Dr. Will Smith (Photo courtesy of Dr. Will Smith)

Dr. Will Smith, Wilderness & Emergency Medicine Consulting

While the term “medical doctor” may conjure up thoughts of white coats and white-walled hospitals, you’re just as likely to find Dr. Will Smith in the great outdoors. Smith likes to stay busy, and his titles include attending emergency medicine physician at St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyo., lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps, and co-medical director for Grand Teton National Park, Teton County Search and Rescue, Bridger-Teton National Forest and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS. He also serves as medical director for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., and runs his own business, Wilderness and Emergency Medicine Consulting LLC.

Smith has served multiple tours in the Middle East, as well as in Egypt, Croatia, Panama and El Salvador. Back home, he’s overseen numerous wilderness rescues, including the largest single rescue at Grand Teton, which involved three parties of climbers struck by lightning.

What does he love most about his jobs? “Being able to care for patients in prehospital settings, while overcoming the challenges of wilderness and rescue medicine,” Smith says. “There are great opportunities to practice medicine and be close to the outdoors in Wyoming.”

Smith grew up on a 22,000-acre cattle ranch near Wheatland, Wyo., and his love for emergency medicine started young. He completed his first EMT course in high school and then enrolled in pre-med at UW, where he continued on into the WWAMI Regional Medical Education program.

“It was a great program,” says Smith, who now serves as a WWAMI faculty member. “It provided the best opportunity to experience Seattle and the large city populations needed for training, paired with the small community clinics and locations to really provide that individual remote patient care. I spent seven years in Laramie between undergrad and my WWAMI medical school first year. UW was a great place to attend. I’m hoping to have my children attend there as well.”

While in Laramie, Smith worked at Ivinson Memorial Hospital as an emergency department technician, volunteered for ski patrol at Snowy Range Ski Area and was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He loved the small town feel with big town opportunities.

During medical school, Smith spent five months of rotations in Jackson. “I was able to find a practice environment that suited me well, and there was an opening when I began looking for a job in emergency medicine,” he says. Smith plans to continue practicing emergency medicine while expanding his consulting and teaching work.

head portrait of a man
Jonathan Updike (Photo by Michael A. Hernandez)

Jonathan Updike, Stanford University residency program

When top UW students decide to go on to graduate school, they are accepted into some of the most prestigious in the world. Jonathan Updike of Banner, Wyo., graduated with honors with bachelor’s degrees in molecular biology and physiology in 2013 and is finishing his fourth year as a medical student at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Last May, Updike graduated from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., after being selected as a Sommer Scholar. In March, he was matched into Stanford University’s general psychiatry residency training program.

“I’m thrilled and honored for this opportunity. I am interested in multiple sectors of psychiatry, namely the integration of more robust mental health care into primary care settings,” he says. “The great mentorship at UW has served me incredibly well. At UW, I felt encouraged to explore and pursue my passions.”

In his senior year of high school, he was offered the Trustees’ Scholar Award. “Strong financial support helped influence my decision to attend UW, and I am very grateful to walk away from my undergraduate education with no debt,” he says. “My mother and father are both UW alumni, and I wanted to attend a university with a campus I was familiar with and liked. I particularly enjoyed having small class sizes, which not only allowed me to have close contact with professors but also other students.”

During his time in Laramie, Updike appreciated the walkable downtown and the spirited athletic events. He served as a tutor, played intramural soccer, volunteered at the Lincoln Community Center through AmeriCorps and spent a semester in Patagonia through the National Outdoor Leadership School.

UW also offered Updike access to international speakers: “In my first month on campus, I met Salman Rushdie and would later see Elton John, Mikhail Gorbachev and numerous other influential persons.”

He encourages incoming students to explore their interests and passions at UW. Updike stays in touch with the mentors he gained here and carries a piece of the state with him: “The land-grant mission imbued a connection to my state and a sense of service that I will continue to have going forward.”

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