Encana awards six $10,000 scholarships to local high school seniors

(RIverton, Wyo.) – Through its community scholarship program, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. gives Wyoming youth an opportunity to continue their education and develop the necessary skills to attain a career in the energy industry.

Jalen Abeyta of Lander Valley High School; Daniel Varichak of Pathfinder High School, Lander; Steven Monroe of St. Stephens High School; Ryan Heeg of Wind River High School, Pavillion; Thomas Linnan of Shoshoni High School; and Delbert Wichelhaus of Riverton High School each won a 2012 Encana USA scholarship for outstanding academic performance and dedicated community service. The students will receive $2,500 annually for up to four years, totaling $10,000.

Jalen intends to take STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) courses at Montana State University, and obtain a degree in civil or chemical engineering. Whether on the basketball court or sharing his culture through traditional Native American dancing, Jalen is proud to be on a team and work with others. A quick learner and natural leader, Jalen is a fine example of a determined student who motivates himself to excel in every aspect of his life and achieve a better future for himself and his tribe.

“The knowledge and skills I will acquire will enable me to educate my people on how to be good stewards of our resources and our land,” said Jalen. “Resources will have an important impact for the reservation, and I want to be prepared as a chemical or civil engineer to empower my tribe to use these resources wisely.”

Daniel plans to attend Central Wyoming College to earn an Applied Associate of Science degree in Environmental Health and Safety, an interest he developed through the Fremont County BOCES Energy Program. Daniel’s drive for continuous improvement has helped him overcome personal barriers, and develop the motivation and self-discipline needed to succeed as a student and individual.

“I would like to make a positive difference in the oil and gas industry through enforcement of safety regulations and improved training programs,” said Daniel. “I understand the importance of safety and aim to create safer workplaces. Thank you Encana for giving me this opportunity.”

Steven’s natural scholastic talent and ability to perform responsibilities at a high level has earned him Salutatorian of St. Stephens High School. Resilient and a hard worker, Steven has conquered many challenges over the years. His determination to reach any goal he sets for himself is a solid reflection of his strong character and encouraging attitude. Steven plans to study pre-engineering at Central Wyoming College in the fall.



An active member of his community, Ryan has played a big part in highway clean ups, volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and helped set-up many events from Festival of Trees to elementary school programs. Ryan serves his community with pride and also takes pride in his academics. His perseverance and enthusiastic spirit has helped him beat obstacles and prove his desire to succeed, graduate and continue his education.

“I have worked the fields and participated in the BOCES Energy Summer Academy, so I understand the workings of the industry,” explained Ryan. “This fall, I plan to attend Northwest College in Powell and earn an associate degree in engineering, then continue at the University of Wyoming and become an engineer. I appreciate Encana’s generosity and am fully prepared to do well in college.”

Thomas plans to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wyoming. Dedicated and an extremely hard worker, Thomas excels as an honor roll student, UW Upward Bound volunteer and athlete in football, basketball, wrestling and track. His honesty, dedication and willingness to work well with others proves he is a leader in the classroom and on the field.

“The UW Energy Summer Institute program described different areas of energy and how they are constantly advancing,” said Thomas. “I really want to be a part of the future in energy exploration and advancement, especially I Wyoming. I have always had strong interests in the way energy systems work and how we can make them better.”

Delbert plans to pursue a degree in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Wyoming. He has been involved in numerous activities and clubs, including football, Speech and Debate, track, Boys State and baseball. His academic integrity, ability to perform at the highest degree, and work efficiently with fellow students and faculty will allow him to thrive as he pursues his interest in Engineering.

“Encana’s scholarship will help me further my education in the energy industry and discover diverse and cultural information,” said Delbert, “As I enter this field, I hope to grow scholastically and personally, and gain experience to be a contributing member of society.”

Encana USA gives a scholarship every year to one graduating senior in each school district where the company operates. This year, Encana USA awarded 10 scholarships to Wyoming students who plan to pursue a degree or trade program associated with the oil and gas industry. The students can use the scholarship for any financial need, such as tuition, books or rent.

“Encana values students who work hard and focus their energy in optimizing success. Our scholarships encourage a higher education for our local youth and help augment a proficient and skilled future workforce,” said Randy Teeuwen, Encana USA community relations advisor. “We are proud of these students and their accomplishments. We wish them luck as they continue their education.”

-Encana USA