EMLF General Fund Scholarship recipient Mack Dowiak resides in Wexford, Pa., and is in his third year at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

He was in high school when the Marcellus Shale boom struck in southwestern Pennsylvania.

As he watched the drilling rigs on his uncle’s property, and learned of his extended family’s experience with development of the Bakken formation in North Dakota, he became inspired to study petroleum and natural gas engineering.

Penn State’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Program teaches traditional engineering principles, hydrocarbon extraction methods, and the fundamentals of economic resource evaluation provided a strong foundation. Following the direction of his mentors, he sought out practical experience.

“I first worked on liquefied natural gas terminal projects located in Louisiana, Texas, and Washington, and then on the construction of the first new nuclear power plant units built in the United States in the last three decades. Finally, before starting law school, I analyzed cost and engineering hurdles for pipelines in the Carolinas. These varied experiences helped me appreciate my mentors’ guidance because I now have an in-depth, practical understanding of how the energy industry functions,” Dowiak said.

Now a student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Dowiak says he wants to apply what he’s learned – building energy infrastructure projects safely, environmentally consciously, and cost-effectively – on a larger scale.

“It is critical for Pennsylvania to continue to create and reform energy laws that meet the needs of the environment while also providing affordable energy that does not unduly burden working families. With my education from Pitt Law, I intend to help Pennsylvania find a balance that satisfies the needs of consumers, politicians, and environmentalists as a lawyer focused on the practice of energy and environmental law, aiming to advise corporations on business decisions,” Dowiak said.

Kevin Abbott, one of Dowiak’s professors at Pitt, recommended his student to the scholarship committee.

“Mack is the strongest candidate that I have ever seen. He was the given the award for the highest grade in my Oil and Gas Law class last semester,” Abbott said. “He worked as an engineer for Duke Energy and McDermott International. At Pitt Law, he has made Law Review, is a staff editor for Law Review, has served as a research assistant to the Dean (doing energy law research), and has interned at Equitrans and FERC.”

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