December 7, 2016

Faculty and Staff


Faculty Director


Indy Burke, PhD | Ingrid C. “Indy” Burke is the Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. Dean at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), an internationally recognized professional school that trains tomorrow’s environmental leaders and creates new knowledge to sustain and restore the long-term health of the planet and the wellbeing of its people.

Dr. Burke is an ecosystem ecologist whose research has focused on carbon and nitrogen cycling in semi-arid rangeland ecosystems. Her work with graduate students, postdoctoral associates, and colleagues has addressed the influence of land use management, climatic variability, and regional variability on these systems. She teaches in the fields of environmental science, ecosystem ecology, and biogeochemistry.

A respected educator and intellectual leader in the U.S. and internationally, she is particularly interested in fostering interdisciplinary scholarship. She came to F&ES in 2016 from the University of Wyoming, where she was the dean of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, one of the leading institutions in the western U.S. for research, teaching, and outreach on natural resource issues.


Program Staff


Michelle Downey, MS – Program Director | Michelle has spent more than 8 years in the West working on a variety wildlife and rangeland issues, and she now serves as program director for the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative. In this role, Michelle connects students to applied projects in western states, assists students develop project deliverables for partners, and conducts research to address land-management issues. Michelle also works to expand the Ucross influence by developing new partnerships across the West and the Yale campus. Michelle’s prior work in wildlife research and conservation has afforded her the opportunity to work in 7 states across a diversity of organizations, ecosystems, and species. Many of these experiences took place in the sagebrush-steppe and involved working with federal and state agencies as well as ranchers and farmers. When Michelle isn’t taking time to smell the sagebrush, she enjoys camping and hiking with her dog, a mixed-setter named Penny. Schedule Office Hours Here


sabrinaSabrina Szeto, MF – Geospatial Analyst | Sabrina graduated with a Master of Forestry degree at F&ES in 2016. Sabrina specializes in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing for solving environmental challenges. With a background in anthropology and forestry, she has a strong interest in understanding ecosystems and societies. Sabrina supports student research by providing tailored guidance on GIS and storytelling with maps. Sabrina also runs a working group for Google Earth Engine users at Yale. Outside the office, Sabrina enjoys learning new tunes on the hardanger fiddle and tending to her pollinator-friendly garden. Schedule Office Hours Here


In Memoriam: Founder & Advisor


raymond_pRaymond Plank – Entrepreneur, Visionary, and Skeet Shooter | UHPSI is the brainchild of Raymond Plank, Apache Corporation Founder and Chairman Emeritus. Through his life in the West, Raymond established a very personal connection to the landscape around him. This connection has manifested itself in many ways over the years, most notably in the acquisition of the Ucross Ranch, development of the Ucross Foundation and its artist residency program on the Ranch, and innovative Ranch management. The Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative is the newest manifestation of Raymond’s interest in, and affinity for the West, made possible only through his high-level vision and philanthropy.