Meet the 2022 Brimmer Scholars

Two women in suits smiling
Jessie Salas and Cristina Salazar

Salas, Salazar earn top UW College of Law scholarship

Jessie Salas of Pueblo, Colo., and Cristina Salazar of Centennial, Colo., have been named University of Wyoming College of Law Brimmer Scholars for 2022-2023.

In addition to Salas and Salazar, scholarship finalists were Hope Bringhurst of Hurricane, Utah; Hannah Mink of Durango, Colo; Jenna VonHofe of Fulshear, Texas; and Austin Waisanen of Deadwood, S. Dak. The Brimmer Scholarship Selection Committee included representatives from the College of Law, the judiciary, the Wyoming Bar, and members of the Brimmer family.

Established in 2011, the Brimmer Scholarship honors the career and service of Judge Clarence A. Brimmer. The Brimmer Scholarship is meant to ensure Judge Brimmer’s legacy serves as an inspiration to new generations of legal professionals.

Brimmer practiced law in Rawlins before serving as Wyoming Attorney General from 1971 to 1974 and U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming in 1975. He was nominated in 1975 by President Gerald Ford to the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming. He served as Chief Judge from 1986 to 1992 and stepped into senior status in 2006. He continued serving until his death in 2014.  

In his observations on the legal profession, Brimmer stated, “The serious law student must…make excellence his or her foremost endeavor.” The title of Brimmer Scholar comes with the expectation that recipients commit to excellence and service throughout their legal educations and careers.

Jessie Salas

Playing cello was an unusual path for a 12-year-old girl from an Hispanic neighborhood in Pueblo. Jessie Salas credits the support of her grandparents. “I practiced every day and dove headfirst into the music of Bach, Brahms, and Mozart.”

Salas recounts a “rude awakening” during her first semester at Colorado State University when she realized how far she was behind other students in both music and general classes. 

“At first, I turned inward. I avoided making friends, my grades slipped, and I considered dropping out altogether,” she says. “Then came my second rude awakening: I would either fail or take charge of my success.”

Salas went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree from CSU and followed with a Master of Cello Performance from the University of Wyoming.

On May 19, her legal and musical worlds will converge in a cello performance at the Yellowstone National Park 150th Anniversary Symposium in Cody. The event is organized by the UW College of Law and the UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. 

Salas is a member of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and vice president and founding member of the Wyoming Sports and Entertainment Law Club. In 2021, she served as a summer law clerk for Strive Health in Denver.

In June, Salas will join a group of ten summer associates at Sherman & Howard, LLC, a Denver-based firm serving national clients from nine offices in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada.

Cristina Salazar

Cristina Salazar says even as a Division I athlete and member of the soccer team that won the University of Wyoming’s first soccer conference championship in 2018, her goal was always to attend law school.

From the time she was a child, Salazar says her grandpa instilled in her the phrase “para nuestra gente,” “for our people.”

“I come from a family where none of my grandparents graduated high school and neither of my parents went to college,” she says. “As a first-generation Mexican-American woman, I understand the weight of ‘for our people.’ It means to strive for all the people who have never had a seat at the table.”

In her first year, Salazar served as the representative to the American Inns of Court, an association of lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals dedicated to serving the law and seeking justice.

Salazar also worked as a research assistant at the George W. Hopper Law Library at the College of Law and as an extern for Judge Tori Kricken of the Albany County District Court. She has held leadership roles with Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and OutLaw, the student organization for LGBTQ awareness and advocacy.

Salazar says the truest showing of her commitment came in fall semester:

“The day before my first law school final ever, my favorite person in the world, my beloved grandpa passed away from COVID. I woke up the next morning with my grandpa’s phrase ringing in my ears and I began my first final. That phrase played on repeat throughout the week as I finished my finals while writing his eulogy.”

At the end of this school year, Salazar will work as a summer associate at the Denver office of global law firm Holland & Knight, LLP.    

Not Alone

The selection process for the Brimmer Scholarship ensures finalists are evaluated on individual merit; law school, however, is not a solo effort. As Salazar emphasizes, “I am honored to be selected as a Brimmer Scholar. I could not have accomplished this without the love and support of my family and friends.”

Says Salas, “Previous Brimmer Scholar Celyn Whitt was my mentor, and I have taken what she taught me and the skills I have honed the past two years and tried to pass them on to incoming first-year students. Being a mentor for younger law students has been fulfilling.”

Salazar, a member of the Student Ambassadors Program, says, “I have moved into a role where I can now provide support and community to diverse students.”

In October 2021, Salazar and Salas were the winning team at the College of Law Richard E. Day Client Counseling Competition. In February, they represented UW in the ABA regional competition, where they placed third. Next year, both will serve on the editorial board of the Wyoming Law Review, with Salas as a research editor and Salazar as an articles editor.


Contact Us

College of Law

1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3035

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6416

Fax: 307-766-6417


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