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Published September 25, 2023
The University of Wyoming has received a major gift from NextEra Energy Resources LLC to support the growing Professional Land Management (PLM) program in the School of Energy Resources (SER).
The gift of $30,000 over three years will establish the Excellence Fund in Professional Land Management, which will be used to expand the recruiting efforts and maximize student retention.
A formal announcement was made as part of SER’s Energy Day celebration reception Sept. 22 in the Energy Innovation Center.
SER’s PLM program is one of two concentrations offered in the energy resource management and development bachelor’s degree. It provides an interdisciplinary learning experience founded in practical engagement and exposes students to many different disciplines, including law, business, mathematics and environmental science. It is among only 11 undergraduate programs accredited nationally by the American Association of Professional Landmen.
“NextEra Energy Resources is proud to support this program, which will continue to build momentum for SER and the University of Wyoming,” says Ryan Fitzpatrick, NextEra Energy Resources executive director of development and a UW alumnus. “We are hopeful this donation will accelerate progress for renewable energy and help students gain valuable practical experience in one of the fastest growing job fields in America.”
The program specifically trains graduates to determine mineral and surface ownership, prepare necessary reports and serve as the public-facing agent for mineral and energy development lease negotiations. Students are trained for a career addressing the business and legal challenges within the industry. The program has a strong reputation for producing successful students who work in a variety of fields within the energy industry and beyond.
“The PLM concentration in the energy resource management and development degree program has grown over the past decade,” says SER Academic Director Kami Danaei. “Due to opportunities to learn in the field and engage directly with industry professionals, our students have flourished and benefited from a competitive edge when exploring employment prospects. NextEra Energy Resources’ recognition of the value of our program and its investment in helping our students achieve excellence will help to bolster enrollment and, in turn, meet the needs of the energy industry through a talented workforce.”
Examples of activities that would be supported by the excellence fund include field courses; recruitment events for college and high school students; engagement with high school and community college advisers; student organization support; and sending current PLM students to professional development opportunities such as industry conferences.
Since NextEra Energy Resources established a presence in Wyoming, it has been an extremely engaged industry partner with the university, bringing employment opportunities to UW graduates and economic growth to the state.
“We are so grateful to NextEra Energy Resources for their generous gift to drive student success,” says Angela Ver Ploeg, UW Foundation senior director for corporate engagement. “This is a great example of industry collaboration with UW to understand what the needs for growth are within an academic program, which, in turn, helps grow the workforce pipeline. NextEra Energy Resources’ gift will make an immediate impact while building on a strong foundation to support continued success for years to come.”