By MICHAEL DIBIASIO, News-Record Writer email@example.com
Published: Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:45 PM MDT
Coree Schmitz loves energy. She loves it so much that she is traveling half way around the world to feed her passion for it, but not all on her own bill.
Schmitz, a 2003 Campbell County High School salutatorian, leaves for Spain as a Fulbright Scholar in November and hopes to explore that country’s renewable energy sector. She will be overseas for 13 months working on her international master’s of business administration at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid.
She said it has been a personal goal ever since she came back from her Spanish exchange program in college.
Schmitz and two other applicants received the scholarship out of 35 applicants. It will cover her tuition, books, plane tickets, health insurance and a roughly $1,600-per-month stipend to live on.
“Working in an accredited MBA will just open the door for more learning experiences,” said Schmitz, who’s had a variety of experience in the energy industry already.
She was a field hand for Western Gas, checking natural gas pipelines for leaks for three summers in college.
From that position, she became a company intern in summer 2006, where she decided she liked the corporate side of the energy sector. She’s spent the past two years in Denver working for Bill Barrett Corp. as a natural gas scheduler for its marketing department, “but I knew I wanted to take a year off and focus on my studies,” she said.
Schmitz also said she was craving some international energy exposure.
“Spain is a big sponsor of wind energy, and I want to see the alternative energy base they are working on there,” Schmitz said. “Their renewable energy sector is moving faster than others out of necessity, and while I enjoy natural gas, primary energy is shifting to renewable. It may not be very efficient yet, but I want to go somewhere that’s trying to be cutting edge so I can apply what I learn when I come back.”
Schmitz isn’t sure what her plans will be when she returns.
“I want to keep my options entirely open,” she said.
“I’d like to come back to Denver, or maybe work a couple years overseas. Whatever I do, I’d like to remain in the energy sector. It’s a passion of mine,” she said.
Schmitz graduated magna cum laude from Valparaiso University in 2007 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration and minors in finance and Spanish.
What is a Fulbright?
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study or conduct research abroad for one academic year.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
It was established in 1946 by Congress to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”