Michael S. Johnson Scholarship for students doing research in petroleum exploration, development, and reservoir characterization.

The Michael S. Johnson Scholarship is awarded to a graduate student at any accredited college or university who is pursuing petroleum-related research.  It was established by a generous gift to the RMAG Foundation from Michael Johnson, a well-known and highly successful petroleum geologist in the Denver area. Michael has been active professionally throughout his long career in the Rocky Mountains and in international plays.

The 2024 Michael S. Johnson Scholarship was awarded to:

Izabelle Buentello, M.S. student, Petroleum Geology, Oklahoma State University

Izabelle Buentello, M.S. student, Petroleum Geology, Oklahoma State University

Izabelle’s thesis is titled “Unconventional Hydrocarbon Reservoir Characterization of the Newly Explored Caney Shale, Southern Oklahoma.” She is advised by Dr. G. Michael Grammer. The Caney Shale has a diverse suite of carbonate-siliciclastic facies, with a range of micro- to nano-size pore types. Her study is designed to investigate the variable pore system architecture and depositional distribution patterns and their relationships to the petrophysical response in the different facies. An estimation of reservoir quality can be made using pore geometrical data combined with sonic velocity as a proxy for permeability. This study intends to support that discerning pore architecture provides a direct connection to predicting porosity vs. permeability trends that influence the development and production of the reservoir. She also plans to identify the most viable zones for hydraulic fracturing.

Izabelle has a B.S. in Petroleum Geology from Oklahoma State University.

Recent winners of the Michael S. Johnson Scholarship:


Brigham Cardon, M.S. student, Geological Sciences, Brigham Young University

Brigham’s thesis topic is “Geological and geophysical model of the Sand Wash extensional decollement.” Brigham’s work is under the direction of Dr. John McBride. The Sand Wash fault is located in the Uinta Basin, Utah. He will be integrating geological and geophysical observations to derive a mechanical model of the strike-slip (and/or oblique slip) Sand Wash structure that could be applied further throughout the Uinta Basin.

Brigham has a B.S. in Geological Sciences from Brigham Young University.


Carolina Mayorga, PhD candidate, Colorado School of Mines
“Oil Potential of the Asquith Marker, Lewis Shale, Greater Green River Basin, Wyoming”