Young Professionals Conclave


Committee Chair: Averi Reynolds Hale
Chair Email: averiqreynolds@gmail.com

Committee Chair Elect: Alejandro Orozco
Chair Elect Email:

BoD Rep: Susan Edinger Marshall
BoD Rep Email: sem11@humboldt.edu

Overview and Introduction

What is Young Professionals Conclave (YPC)?

Our Mission:

To strengthen the relationships between students, apprentice members, young professionals and experienced professionals within SRM to promote strength in leadership, education, research, and stewardship of rangelands. This mission implies three major roles:

  1. YPC is a group for individuals that are in the senior year of an undergraduate program, graduate program and/or in their first 5 years in the job field that will assist in retaining membership of the student and apprentice members in SRM.
  2. YPC will provide opportunities to help build relationships between students, graduate students, young professionals and long-time members.
  3. YPC is the initial liaison for undergraduate students, graduate students and young professionals seeking an active role and participation in SRM.


Be sure to follow us on Social Media!!




A History of Young Professionals Conclave

The Young Professionals Conclave (YPC) was formed in response to a brainstorming session that took place at the 2005 SRM Annual Meeting in Ft. Worth, TX. The group was organized by Dennis Phillippi (SRM Board Member) and asked to address the growing membership retention concern with SRM; where were all the young professionals? Approximately 12 people were invited to speak with Dennis Phillippi about the young professional movement in SRM. However, a diverse group of nearly 40 young range professionals took interest and attended the meeting. Mr. Phillippi facilitated the session as young professionals brainstormed their concerns and ambitions within the Society

The formation of YPC was stimulated by the recognized need to pass the torch from senior, more experienced members to younger or less experienced members. When formed, it was determined that the intention of the conclave was to ease the transition for range professionals from college to career, or for those changing careers and who may be new to the industry, by assisting in bridging the generational gap within the SRM. This would be done by hosting events designed for young or less experienced professionals, and by providing opportunities to network with other young professionals as well as with senior members. This strong collaboration with the SRM would, thereby, ease the maturation process of range management and associated professions, as a whole.

The document below outlines the officer team history from the formation of the group in 2005 to present:

YPC Officer Team History


Congratulations to our 2020 YPC Officers!

2020 Officers:
:  Kaelie Pena
Vice President:  Averi Reynolds
Secretary:  Jaycie Arndt
Treasurer: William Price
Public Relations:  Alyssa Whiteman
Recorder: Selby Boerman
Past President (Advisory Council): Veronica Urbanczyk
Advisory Council:
Bree Burton, Grace Woodmansee, Mary Jo Foley-Birrenkott, Josh Hanson, Julia Hanson, Mike Bartmess, Sarah Schwarz

2020 YPC Officer Team L-R: Selby Boerman, Jaycie Ardnt, Averi Reynolds, Kaelie Pena, Alyssa Whiteman, and William Price.

Kaelie Pena, YPC President:

I grew up in Susanville, CA where I was heavily involved in 4-H and FFA and family activities included hunting, fishing, hiking, and off-roading. After receiving my A.S. in Fire Technology, I knew I wanted to continue my education in agriculture or natural resources, but was unsure of which to choose. Luckily, I didn’t have to choose when I found the perfect combination of the two in the field of rangeland management. I attended Humboldt State University and received by B.S. in Rangeland Resource Science with minors in Fire Ecology and Ecological Restoration. While at Humboldt, I was heavily involved in the Range and Soils Club and a member of the Range Plant I.D. Team. I’ve been involved with SRM since 2015, having attended several Annual Meetings, competing in the Plant Identification Contest, the URME, and the university club booth, and served as Student Conclave Secretary for the St. George, UT meeting. Through SRM, I was lucky enough to be selected for a Pathways position during a Forest Service Direct Hire event. I interned during the summers of 2016 and 2017 and started my full time position with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest on the Bridgeport Ranger District in January of 2018. After serving as the YPC Secretary in 2018, I knew I wanted to stay involved and am grateful to have served as the YPC Vice President in 2019. Now, as the 2020 YPC President, I look forward to expanding YPC to benefit as many Young Professionals as we can! When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with family and friends (including my two crazy dogs, Lady and Josie, and cat Chloe), and being outdoors hunting, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and geocaching. I am very excited to continue my involvement with YPC and the Society. Being involved with YPC has allowed me to make many professional connections and friendships that I know will benefit me throughout my career. If you have any questions, ideas, or want to become involved in YPC, please feel free to contact me at kaelie.pena@gmail.com.

Averi Reynolds, YPC Vice President: areyno15@uwyo.edu

Jaycie Arndt, YPC Secretary: jarndt1@uwyo.edu

I grew up in Arvada, Wyoming on a family owned cattle and sheep ranch. I grew up being heavily involved with livestock production and range management. I then attended Sheridan College in Northeast Wyoming where I took my first class in plant identification. It was during that semester that I officially became a plant nerd. Since then I have attended the University of Wyoming where I majored in Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management with a minor in Soil Sciences. I am enthralled with how ecosystems work as a whole. The interaction between soil, water, plants, and organisms is an entangled yet remarkable system. My interest in rangelands is built upon the complexity of range ecosystems and is enforced by my college education and time interning for the University of Wyoming Research and Extension Center. Currently I am a M.S. Candidate at the University of Wyoming in Plant Sciences. My research is focused on germination, establishment, and survival of live plant materials of difficult range reclamation plants. I have been involved in the Society for Range Management for four years as a student member. I am excited to assist in YPC activities as the 2020-2021 YPC Secretary.

William Price; YPC Treasurer:

Hello, I am Will Price. Growing up in Eastern Oregon I saw firsthand the multitude of values that rangelands provide us. From land for livestock production, to habitat for a wide array of wildlife, and some of the most scenic and vast landscapes around, rangelands are a vital part of our lives. I am currently a master’s student at the University of Idaho, where I am researching the use of fall and winter grazing as a tool to help reduce the negative impacts of invasive annual grasses on low elevation sagebrush steppes. The first annual SRM meeting I attended was in Sparks, NV in 2018 where I competed in URME as an undergrad, and I was instantly impressed with the value of SRM. I look forward to the annual meeting every year because of the opportunity to gain new knowledge and interact with professionals from around the country. I got involved in YPC because I feel that it is important to keep young professionals involved in SRM as they move from undergraduate students to working professionals in range.

Alyssa Whiteman, YPC Public Relations Officer: 

Selby Boerman, YPC Reporter:

I grew up in northern California along the Oregon border where I moved onto a ranch in high school and discovered a passion for beef cattle production. In 2019, I received a B.S. in Animal Science with a Rangeland Resources minor from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Throughout college, I lived at the beef unit and was involved with management of the feedlot and cow-calf ranches. Seeing the positive influence of proper grazing management toward improving the coastal rangeland is what enticed me into the natural resource aspect of livestock management. Currently, I am interning at Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory, a 500-cow University of Nebraska ranch. The internship led to a research opportunity as a M.S. candidate, and this spring I will begin collecting data for my project involving beef cow milk yield influence on efficiency as well as cow-calf grazing behavior. My goal after finishing my education is to work for extension and provide resources to support producers in efficiently managing their land and livestock. I have a small commercial cow herd and also hope to expand it into a larger operation in the future. This is my first year as a SRM member, and I look forward to serving as YPC reporter. I enjoy communication and education through writing and am excited to work with other young professionals throughout the year.

Veronica Urbancyzk, YPC Past President : veronicaurbancyzk@yahoo.com

I am Veronica Urbanczyk, currently serving as the Society for Range Management-Young Professionals Conclave Advisory Council Chair as Past President. This year my focus will be on further developing our section outreach mission and to continue establishing section liaison representatives by recruiting active young professionals across all sections of our society. I’m finishing up my Master’s degree in Wildlife Aquatic Wildland Science Management at Texas Tech University. My research on Northern Bobwhite quail is looking into “Investigating Factors that Influence Bobwhite Chick Survival” including chick survival, brood ecology, brood movement and habitat assessment in the Rolling Plains Region of Texas. I received a Bachelors in Science at Texas A&M University, majoring in Rangeland Ecology and Management with a double major in Wildlife and Fishery Sciences. As an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to intern and volunteer with both private landowners and different federal and state agencies, such as Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and a few private foundations. During both my bachelor and master programs, I have been actively involved with the Society for Range Management at both section and national levels. My involvement began as a student competing in the Plant ID Competition, URME, and Extemporaneous Speaking Contests then to be elected as Student Conclave President in 2015. Through the Society for Range Management professional organization I have also served as Young Professionals Conclave Vice-President in 2018 and as President in 2019. At the Texas Section SRM level I have been appointed as Young Professionals Conclave Committee Chair since 2018. TSSRM YPC has focused our efforts on developing workshops and other activities to produce qualified young professionals in natural resources, expand professional networks, present mentorship opportunities, and help build progressive producer relationships. I’m now pursuing a career in natural resources management through an employment opportunity with a private consulting agency or private ranch where I can continue to promote the conservation of native plant communities, encourage good land stewardship, and to educate others about our natural resources.


Bree Burton, YPC Past President: bree.lind33@gmail.com









Josh Hanson, YPC Advisory Council (Young Producers Forum Chair): josh.hanson722@gmail.com   

Hello, my name is Josh Hanson and when I heard rangelands described as “the interaction between plants and animals” in a class during my undergrad at Oregon State University, I was hooked and switched my major to Rangeland Science. I am currently a master’s student in Animal and Range Sciences at Montana State University. My project is focused on grazing first year after the Lodgepole Complex fire and how to best communicate that science to the working land manager.

I first attended an SRM annual meeting three years ago competing in Plant ID and URME. I have since gone back to maintain the relationships I have built as an SRM member, as well as make new ones. I was introduced to my major professor at a YPC Bridging the Gap and that is where I developed the relationship that turned into a master’s project. I decided to join YPC because I see a disconnect between agency folks and producers, and would like to voice my opinion on a platform where it can be heard. I have a desire to advocate for production agriculture and this provides me with an opportunity to do that.

Julia Hanson, YPC Advisory Council (Wildrag Task Force Chair): julialbarnes@gmail.com

I first became interested in rangeland science when I was attending Oregon State University studying Animal Science with a focus on beef production. Learning about how cattle can be used to manage and improve rangelands really sparked my interest and provoked me to take more range classes and learn more about range science. I attended my first annual SRM meeting in 2018 in Sparks, NV where I learned more about the society and first learned about Young Professionals Conclave. In Minneapolis, MN I was the 2019 annual SRM meeting intern and was able to get more involved with SRM as well as YPC. I see the need for more young professionals in range as well as building positive connections between producers and agencies. I’m excited to be on the Wildrag task force to be able to help fund YPC’s activity and create beautiful wildrag designs!

Grace Woodmansee, YPC Advisory Council: gwoodmansee@ucdavis.edu

I become interested in rangeland science and management my junior year of college, working as a student research assistant in the Chico State College of Agriculture. After attending my first SRM meeting in 2014 I was hooked, and have been working on the range ever since! I am currently a graduate student in the UC Rangelands lab at UC Davis, and look forward to integrating my interests of rangeland management, livestock production and outreach into a career in cooperative extension. I am excited to continue my involvement in YPC as a member of the Advisory Council and to remain involved in SRM as a young professional. Attending SRM meetings as an undergraduate was an integral aspect of my collegiate career and provided the opportunity to network with professionals and other students, opening the door to internships, jobs and friendships across the country. I hope to assist fellow recent graduates in bridging the gap between student and professional SRM membership.

Mary Jo Foley-Birrenkott, YPC Past President: srmoutreach@rangelands.org 











2020 YPC Travel Scholarship



The Society for Range Management-Young Professionals Conclave (YPC) offers travel scholarships to outstanding young professionals active in range management to assist in paying for attendance to the national Society for Range Management (SRM) Annual Meeting. 

Congratulations to the 2020 YPC Travel Scholarship Recipients:

Bill Wells, Katlyn Uhart, and Lewis Mendive!

Katlyn Uhart

Katlyn Uhart is a recent graduate from Utah State University with a degree in Agricultural Communication and Journalism. Her passion for rangelands stems from her background in cattle ranching with her family, a lifestyle that she is proud of and feels blessed to have grown up in. Ms. Uhart is newly employed as a Range/Resource Technician with Resource Concepts, Inc. where she enjoys learning and growing every day. She is proud to be part of such a wonderful team and is excited to see where her career takes her!

Ms. Uhart has been involved with the Society of Range Management since she was a senior in high school, when she participated in the High School Youth Forum and took first place in the public speaking competition. She was also an active member in the SRM Student Conclave and had the honor of being elected the 2017-2018 Public Relations Officer. Now, as a young professional, Ms. Uhart is thrilled to take an active roll in the Young Professionals Conclave. She is thankful for all of the opportunities and connections she has made through the SRM and appreciates the continued support and encouragement of everyone she meets through the society.

Bill Wells

My name is Bill, I grew up in North Carolina and moved to Wyoming after high school to work on ranches and have remained in the state ever since. I have now been in Wyoming for seven years, worked on a variety of ranches across the state and graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Agricultural Business. After graduation I started to come to the growing realization that what I loved most was the interaction of the land and the cattle. This growing passion has driven me to try to learn everything that I can about rangeland grazing and seek to be an active member of SRM. I want to make a difference in ranching by helping strike a balance between cattle and the land by becoming a consultant. I am currently job searching and hoping to get into grad school in the near future to further my understanding of the underlying science.

Lewis Mendive

Lewis Mendive is a Rangeland Conservationist with Resource Concepts, Inc. in Carson City, Nevada where he has worked since his graduation from the University of Nevada Reno in 2018. Mr. Mendive received his degree from UNR in Rangeland Ecology and Management. He has been an active participant in the Society for Range Management since 2016, and was honored to serve as the Student Conclave President from 2017 to 2018.

Mr. Mendive is particularly drawn to learning more about livestock management and how he can help producers in Nevada. He fondly remembers growing up and helping friends during branding and haying seasons, as well as camping trips with his family on northern Nevada’s public rangelands. He believes that it’s important for public land to be maintained in a way that is positive and viable for everyone. Mr. Mendive values the networking and knowledge that he has received through the SRM over the years, and looks forward to many more conferences.

Congratulations to the 2020 Young Producers Scholarship Recipient:

Selby Boerman!

I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where I received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and minor in Rangeland Resources. Involvement there included Young Cattlemen’s Committee, the mule packing team, and the animal science academic quadrathlon team.

My love for livestock was initiated in high school when I began working on a friend’s cattle ranch near Montague, CA. I started my own herd by buying a bottle calf from them and currently have 15 head of commercial Hereford/Angus cattle with goals to expand the herd into a more viable operation. In college, I lived at the beef unit where I gained experience with every aspect of the production cycle from breeding cows to fabricating beef at the meat processing center. My interest in rangeland management began while I was working on the Cal Poly ranches and saw the positive impact that grazing management had on the annual grasslands. This led to my second career goal of becoming involved with applied research to benefit producers and help them efficiently manage their natural resources, potentially as a university extension advisor. I recently finished an internship with UC Cooperative Extension and plan to take an internship with UNL extension at the Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory.

This is my first year getting into SRM and YPC, and through involvement I look forward to making connections with resources that will enhance success in my career endeavors. I also hope to network with other young professionals and become more involved with SRM in the future.









YPC/Student Conclave “Bridging the Gap” Mentorship Event”!

The Young Professionals Conclave, in conjunction with Student Conclave, is excited to host the third annual Bridging the Gap mentorship event at the SRM 2020 annual meeting.

The objective of  this mentorship event is to build more connections between the student/young professional membership of SRM and established professionals. Mentees and mentors will participate in a semi-structured activity to facilitate discussion and networking, with the intent of helping mentees navigate career opportunities in rangeland science and management.

Students and young professionals looking for a job, internship, grad position or career advice will not want to miss this event!  

Documents & Publications

Current Members