Quint Shear, Aerianna Preble and Tim Foster
CMU President Tim Foster and WSCOGA President Quint Shear surprised Aerianna Preble, center, with a surprise visit to her high school to announce that she had received the award.


Student selected for prestigious Colorado Energy Scholar Award

The Colorado Mesa University Foundation, the CMU Unconventional Energy Center and the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association announced Aerianna Preble, of Parachute, Colo., as the 2016 Colorado Energy Scholar. This new annual award recognizes Colorado’s most outstanding students pursuing a career in western Colorado’s energy industries.

The Feb. 26 announcement was accompanied by a surprise visit from CMU President Tim Foster to Preble’s high school. Foster made the announcement in front of an impromptu school assembly.

“Mr. Foster’s visit was a surprise to us all and really demonstrated a commitment to communicating with future students where they are — in the communities and schools throughout rural western Colorado,” said Dave Walck, principal of Grand Valley High School.

“This award covers the cost of tuition and fees but is about a whole lot more than a scholarship,” said Quint Shear, president of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association, who was also along for the visit. “The Colorado Energy Scholar Award Series was created to showcase the skills, talents and hard work of western Colorado’s science- and community-minded students. President Foster and I believed this type of award deserved more than just a phone call or email so we drove up to tell Ms. Preble in person.”

The Colorado Energy Scholars Endowment Award Series was initially funded by a $25,000 donation from WSCOGA. The gift was matched by the CMU Unconventional Energy Center and then combined with additional energy funds from the CMU Foundation.

“Colorado Mesa University prides itself on thinking outside the box to create partnerships that leverage resources and create opportunities for western Colorado students,” said Foster. “We’re looking forward to having Aerianna on campus this fall,” Foster added.

While Preble is the first official Energy Scholar Award winner, she won’t be the last. Carley Nelson, WSCOGA’s program coordinator and an alumna of CMU, noted the association’s long- term commitment to fundraising.

“Our organization will be looking to grow this endowment over the next decade to become Colorado’s most prestigious science-based scholarship award. We’re already receiving interest from additional donors and that is truly an exciting development,” Nelson said.

Watch the surprise visit to Preble's school and learn more about the 2016 Colorado Energy Scholar Award recipient.

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