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Published July 18, 2019
Established in 2015 by University of Wyoming alums and benefactors practicing in the areas of oil and gas and energy law, the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship is awarded to students demonstrating academic achievement and a commitment to the study and practice of energy law.
Due to the impressive slate of applicants, this year’s Salt Creek Selection committee decided to honor three students for their dedication to energy law and the promise they showed in the field, one as the Salt Creek Scholar and two as students with honorable mention.
The College of Law and the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Committee are please to introduce Connor Thompson as the 2019-2020 Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholar.
Thompson was raised in Rawlins, Wyo., where exposure to the energy industry played an integral role throughout his youth. He attended the University of Wyoming for his undergraduate degree in Psychology, graduating in 2017. During that time, he also completed an internship with British Petroleum (BP), which helped to kindle his desire to work within the energy field. Growing up with energy development on his doorstep, Thompson was perceptive to both the advantages and the obstacles that arise within the industry. This awareness led him to law school where he felt that his path lied in service to the state of Wyoming in order to preserve jobs and the economy, while at the same time finding innovative solutions to current and future resource issues.
While in law school he has been extremely active within the energy tract in the course offerings. In addition to an energy, environmental and natural resources curriculum, Thompson has wasted no time in gaining practical experience and extracurricular opportunities. He has served as an extern for the Honorable Alan B. Johnson of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming, shadowed the Honorable Tom Sullins of the Seventh Judicial District of Wyoming (Retired) in the Legal Liftoff Program, and served as a summer intern for the Rawlins law firm MacPherson & Thompson, LLC. He is also a member of the Natural Resources Law Club, and competed in both the ABA Negotiations Competition and the Energy Negotiations Competition.
“I want to thank the Salt Creek Committee for the honor of being named the 2019-2020 Salt Creek Scholar,” says Thompson. “My love for the state of Wyoming and for the people who live and work here helped inspire my passion for energy and natural resource law. Going forward, I hope to find work in the industry and to make a positive impact through my work. I believe that being named the Salt Creek Scholar will help me achieve these goals and I am excited for what the future holds.”
The Salt Creek Committee selected two additional students that demonstrated equally impressive backgrounds and achievements in energy as honorable mentions. As such, the students will be welcomed into the Salt Creek Network with equal enthusiasm and recognition. Honorable mentions were awarded to Tayler Heintz and Patrick Kent.
A native of Centennial, Colo., Heintz attended the University of Wyoming for her undergraduate degrees in History, and Environment & Natural Resources and completely fell in love with Wyoming. Drawn by the small town charm, the slower way of life, and the kindness and generosity of the people, she decided to stay to pursue a joint degree with the College of Law and the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources.
Her experience within the JD/MA program has allowed her to analyze energy and environmental issues through an interdisciplinary lens, which has come in handy during her legal education. Heintz has leaned heavily on the energy and environmental courses offered in the law curriculum and entered her first-year of law school as a standout energy student when she finished as a finalist in the Energy Negotiation Competition as a 1L. She was a repeat finalist this past year. She has also served as the president for the Natural Resources Law Club.
Heintz’s commitment to energy law is further evident through her work as an intern with the oil & gas firm Astrella Law in Denver, Colo. Through her position, she gained valuable experience in the lease negotiation process between mineral development companies and landowners, stoking her interest in the industry.
Heintz plans to stay in the region and pursue a career in within the energy field after completing law school.
Originally from Charleston, S.C., Patrick Kent earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in History from Clemson University where he graduated cum laude. Following a few years of post-graduate teaching as a history professor, he opted to move to the Mountain West and in particular Wyoming, to pursue a career in energy law.
Entering his third-year of law school, Kent is well positioned to continue on that path for a successful career in the industry. Like his Salt Creek counterparts, Kent has taken advantage of all that the law school has to offer in the natural resources area – excelling in the energy topics curriculum and competing within the Energy Negotiations Competition.
Kent has gained valuable work experience as an intern at Mowry Law, LLC in Denver, working on mineral title examination. His experience has also afforded him the opportunity to apply what he has learned in law school by performing extensive legal research and drafting documents for the firm.
Following graduation, Kent hopes to come full circle in his career by not only working as a successful attorney within the oil & gas industry, but also pursing energy law teaching opportunities within higher education where he can share his passion for natural resources, and mentor the up and coming generations in the field.
The College of Law is exceedingly proud of the caliber of the students forging a path within the energy realm and we are excited to see them develop within the Salt Creek Network.
More than just a scholarship, Salt Creek Scholars are 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. By connecting these students to a group of friends and donors, the intent is to provide an easier transition to employment and mentorship opportunities within the field. For an opportunity to meet these incredible students, mark your calendars for the upcoming CLERR conference.