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 assistant 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
Sabrina 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), remote sensing, and cloud-based distributive computing. 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
Founder & Advisor
Raymond 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. When he isn’t juggling business, developing educational opportunities, or supporting artists, you might find Raymond enjoying the sounds of the river or visiting with old friends on the Ucross Ranch.