Charlie Bettigole, MS – Program Director | Charlie serves as UHPSI’s program director, managing day-to-day operations from either the New Haven or Ucross office. His background lies in spatial ecology, remote sensing, and wildlife biology – he has worked in academic and on-the-ground organizations across North America. Charlie has a hand in most of the projects the team takes on, but lends focus towards the cultivation of key relationships with Ucross Partners, generating new student interest in UHPSI research, and assisting with scientific analysis and writing. Charlie has lent particular effort to the development of UHPSI’s Change Vector Analysis algorithm, working with practitioners on the ground to maximize the utility of this change-detection tool, and building it’s reach through the development of an interactive web application. When not at work, Charlie can be found with his daughter Margot on his back, skiing, fishing, and hiking in the northern Rockies and rolling hills of Connecticut. Schedule Office Hours Here
Michelle Downey, MS – Assistant 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
Chadwick Oliver, PhD – Faculty PI | As the Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Chad serves as UHPSI’s fearless leader, ensuring that research remains relevant, timely, and effective. His research has taken him to more than 25 countries, where he has cultivated macro-level perspective that help to situate UHPSI within a larger framework. Outside of UHPSI, Chad teaches and researches forest ecology and silviculture, as well as natural resource management on local, region, and global scales. Chad and his wife Fatma recently published a new book on global resources.
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.