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Western Student Wins AAPL’s Outstanding Graduate Award

students in front of business building

For the first time in the history, a Western Colorado University student is being honored with the American Association of Professional Land (AAPL) Management’s Outstanding Graduate Award. Each year, the AAPL gives out awards, varying in category, to 10 of the association’s 450 student members.

This year, senior Gabriel Pardue, an energy management student and president of the Western Energy Management Student Association, will accept the award.

“The AAPL Outstanding Graduate Award is a big accomplishment for not only me, but the Energy Management program at Western. It recognizes the hard work of the faculty, my peers and our director,” said Pardue.

Walking the Walk

Gabriel PardueAfter being nominated for the award by Jessica Laramie, Ph.D., director of the Energy Management program, Pardue had to complete an application process for consideration. This application included an essay discussing his future role in the land and energy industry. Once an essay is submitted, the applicant is considered for and in-person interview where the final decision on the award is made.

Although the application and selection processes are intense, the selection of Outstanding Graduate goes beyond this process.

“I think it’s important to note that the application process wasn’t limited to the application in January and February of this year,” said Laramie. “In his role as club president, Gabe has actively engaged with the AAPL for over two years, including attending meetings, networking events and seminars.”

Dedication to the Energy Industry

Since he was an active member of the association, Pardue’s dedication to the energy industry was well known throughout AAPL.

“The AAPL has supported my academic career in varying capacities and for that, the organization means a great deal to me,” said Pardue. “The [association] opened doors for me to interact with industry professionals and develop long-lasting relationships with people of similar backgrounds. If it were not for the AAPL, I would not be where I am today.”

While Pardue has strong ties with the AAPL, this award is a result of his hard work throughout the years.

“In my perspective, the interview sealed the deal. But it was really the personal growth, consistency in showing up, engagement, passion and unprecedented drive that he demonstrated, coupled with the relationships he cultivated over time, that won him the award,” said Laramie.

Finding the Right Program

When Pardue came to Western, he was determined to find a program that suited all his needs. He was most interested in the value he could gain from a major that provided development through industry experience. He sought networking opportunities and a solid curriculum. The Energy Management program, he said, offered him the opportunity to develop marketable skills while also engaging in extracurricular activities such as AAPL.

Next Career Steps

After graduation, Pardue plans to attend The Colorado School of Mines to pursue a Master of Science in Mineral and Energy Economics. Yet, his accomplishments at Western will live on in the Energy Management program.

“His legacy at Western embodies the Mountaineer spirit and is a success story that will motivate future students,” said Laramie. “Winning this award demonstrates that Western, just like Gabe, isn’t to be underestimated and can compete and win against top-tier undergraduate programs.”

Learn more about Western’s Energy Management program.



Author Credit: Kinlee Whitney

Photo Credit: Carley Clegg