Morgan Pettit, Utton Center Student Research Assistant, Receives Al Utton Award

May 14, 2024 - Stephanie Russo Baca, Sairis Perez-Gomez


Congratulations to former Utton Center Student Research Assistant, Morgan Pettit, for receiving the Al Utton Award. We are so proud of your accomplishments and cannot wait to see where your career takes you!

From Morgan Pettit's mentor, Ombudsman Program Director, Stephanie Russo Baca: 

Morgan Pettit has served since 2021 as a legal research assistant at the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the University of New Mexico School of Law. Morgan planned, drafted, and completed a nonpartisan overview of the legal and regulatory frameworks governing the oil and gas industries in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. This publication was part of a grant funded through the Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI), expected publication by the Fall of 2023. 

Moreover, Morgan had a research task to draft detailed legal research documents on produced water reuse in the Southwest United States (NM, TX, OK). She not only took charge of the task but also exceeded my expectations with her ability to synthesize extensive information into discernible, understandable synopses. This skill, coupled with her collaborative work style, has allowed her to consistently produce comprehensive reports and written materials on time, manage networking, interviews, legal research, and report writing, all of which are essential skills in the legal field. 

Morgan also planned, organized, and implemented a three-part Agriculture Speaker Series for New Mexico attorneys, law students, legislators, and the public. This speaker series garnered the attention of other law schools specializing in agricultural law. Additionally, Morgan helped Professor Russo Baca draft the first Agricultural Law Syllabus at the UNM School of Law. She and her cohort of "Ag Law" students successfully finished the Spring class of 2024, receiving high marks! 

Morgan’s academic excellence, rigorous research, writing, analytical skills, and passion for the law make her a standout student. Currently ranking in the top 15% of her class, she excels academically and demonstrates leadership qualities that set her apart. Her commitment to going above and beyond in all her endeavors is a testament to her success in and out of law school, and the Utton Center is pleased to know that she received the Al Utton Award upon graduation. 

morgan-pettit-2.jpgPictured Above: Morgan Pettit alongside Professor Reed Benson after receiving Al Utton Award.