Two Mewbourne College Alumni Receive OU Regents’ Alumni Awards

Two Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy alumni were among the 10 exceptional University of Oklahoma alumni and friends honored with 2021 Regents’ Alumni Awards in recognition of their dedication and service to OU. The awards were presented to this year’s honorees in an Oct. 15 ceremony on the OU Norman campus.

Presented by the OU Board of Regents and the OU Alumni Association, the Regents’ Alumni Award honors the important roles of OU alumni and supporters to the life of the university. This is the second-highest award bestowed upon alumni by the university, only matched in prestige by the honorary degrees given at commencement. A committee formed by the Alumni Association selects the award recipients from nominations made by alumni, friends, and OU faculty and staff. Recipients each receive a plaque, and their names are engraved on a permanent plaque in Oklahoma Memorial Union.


Pam Pierce


Pam Pierce OU Regents Alumni Award

Pierce has over 40 years of broad energy industry experience and knowledge. She joined the Scientific Drilling International Board of Directors in 2011. Currently, she serves as the CEO, having moved into the interim CEO role in May 2020.

Pierce started her career with ARCO in 1977 as an offshore drilling engineer and progressed through various positions of increasing responsibility. She led the Offshore Business Unit when ARCO formed Vastar Resources as its lower 48 exploration and production company. Later, she led Vastar’s Business Development function responsible for mergers and acquisitions. Since 2007, she has been a partner in Ztown Investments focused on domestic oil and gas non-operating working interests.

Pierce currently is a member of Laredo Petroleum’s Board of Directors, where she serves on the compensation and governance committees. She is also on the Board of Directors of Shawcor, a Canadian oilfield services company, where she is chair of the Compensation and Organizational Development Committee.

A member of OU’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy Trailblazer Society and Board of Visitors, Pierce also served on the Board of Visitors for the Mewbourne College of Engineering and the Advisory Board of the School of Civil Engineering. She is passionate about supporting students and that is reflected in her scholarship endowment. In addition to this, Pierce’s  impact is further reaching as she uses her position and resources to help students secure career placement opportunities in a highly competitive field.

Pierce is one of a few women who have made their way to the Mewbourne College Board of Visitors. She provides the Dean and board with a unique and invaluable perspective from a largely male dominated industry. As one of only a few women in the 1970’s to have graduated with a degree in Petroleum Engineering, Pierce generously shares her expertise, and she tirelessly provides countless hours of student support as a mentor.

Her advice to those following in her footsteps has always been, “The first key to success is to find a mentor who will challenge you.” Her second piece of advice is, “Irrespective of gender, if you are willing to go into a situation with an open mind, to learn and ask questions, to roll up your sleeves and demonstrate your willingness to work alongside everyone else, you will succeed.”

Pierce earned her bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering from OU and an MBA in corporate finance from the University of Dallas.



Ashley Zumwalt-Forbes


Ashley Zumwalt-Forbes Regents Alumni Award

While a student at OU, Zumwalt-Forbes was an active and engaged student. She interned with the Center for the Creation Economic Wealth and was active in the Campus Activities Council, Crimson Club, Student Government Association, Soonerthon and Howdy Week. She was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Letzeiser Award; Outstanding Freshman, Sophomore and Junior; and selection to PE-ET Honor Society.

Zumwalt-Forbes graduated summa cum laude from OU in 2012 with a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering and also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

An engineer with nine years’ experience in acquiring, financing and developing both greenfield and brownfield natural resources projects around the globe, Zumwalt-Forbes currently serves as a director, co-founder and president of Black Mountain Metals, a private battery metals mining company; Black Mountain Exploration, a private natural gas company; and Black Mountain CarbonLock, a private carbon negative company.

She also serves on the Strategic Advisory Board for Hennessy Capital’s fifth SPAC (NASDAQ: HCICU), the Female Venture Fund, Texas Christian University’s Energy Institute, Polestar (Volvo’s EV brand) and the School of Petroleum Engineering in the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy. Prior to joining Black Mountain in 2017, Zumwalt-Forbes worked in several lead engineering roles at ExxonMobil and XTO Energy, managing drilling, completions and planning aspects of international shale exploration, laying the groundwork for a $1 billion capital deployment. She was recently highlighted as the featured honoree on the 2020 Forbes 30 under 30 in Energy list.

Zumwalt-Forbes was recognized in 2020 as a Young Engineering Alumni, Pursuit of Excellence Class Member. This class shines a light on young alumni who are actively pursuing excellence and using their time, talent and treasure to pay it forward at OU and in their communities. This class uses their platform to model to other young alumni how to be engaged and find their voice. She is also a member of the Trailblazer Society and OU President’s Associates.



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