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Published April 25, 2022
By Chavawn Kelley
The Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship Selection Committee has announced Jenna VonHofe of Laramie is the 2022-23 University of Wyoming College of Law Salt Creek Scholar.
The Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship, named for the oldest producing oil and gas field in Wyoming, was established to encourage students who demonstrate a strong interest in energy and law.
Other Salt Creek Scholarship recipients for 2022-2023 are Nicholas Espenan of Austin, Texas; Blake Godwin of Sheridan; Iva Reckling of Cheyenne; and Carson Tanner of Brooksville, Fla.
The Salt Creek program facilitates mentorship and employment opportunities, as scholars are introduced into a professional community of donors and practitioners dedicated to the energy law sector.
“This scholarship is unique in the number of donors who come together to promote energy scholarship, professional networking and employment in the industry,” says Joe Evers, Salt Creek Scholarship Committee member in Denver.
The committee is made up of donors, alumni and UW law faculty members. Two committee members, Madeleine Lewis and Casey Terrell, are past Salt Creek Scholars now active in the Energy and Natural Resources Section of the Wyoming Bar. See all the Salt Creek Scholars HERE.
VonHofe says her interest in law began with her upbringing in a small agricultural town in Texas and was solidified through her work as a journalist in Wyoming. “I saw firsthand the force of energy law and policy,” she says.
Under the guidance of UW Law Professor Tara Righetti, VonHofe now conducts legal analyses for CarbonSAFE, a full-scale carbon capture and storage project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy in Gillette. “The project raises a host of complicated legal issues that Jenna is helping resolve,” says Kipp Coddington, Senior Advisor in the UW School of Energy Resources.
She gained key experience in 2021 as a judicial extern for Judge Gregory Phillips of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and as the Janet D. Steiger Fellow in the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Unit of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office.
At the University of Texas at Austin VonHofe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology and Bachelor of Science in biology with a concentration in ecology, evolution and behavior.
“When you stand on the rim of an operational coal mine in the Powder River Basin, you can see the deep hold that energy has in this region, rooted in the very ground that stretches out beneath you,” VonHofe says. “Here, I saw the intersection of energy and policy, natural resources and public lands, wildlife and agriculture that are now at the core of my legal education.”
Evers notes that through gifts to the Salt Creek Endowment, this year’s awards represent the highest single monetary award, largest total awards ($14,250), and most expansive award (five recipients) in the scholarship’s seven-year history.
“I am honored to be recognized alongside the other esteemed scholarship recipients,” says VonHofe.
She will work with Holland and Hart, LLP, in Cheyenne this summer, seeking to foster client-centered approaches in energy law. “The importance of this opportunity is paramount,” VonHofe says, “as I seek to understand the corporate and individual relationships of relevant stakeholders in the region.”