Adrian Oglesby, Director
Adrian Oglesby began his tenure as the Director of Utton Center in 2014. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law and has practiced water law since 2000, including working with the Utton Center on many projects.
Adrian’s legal career has been focused on river and riparian restoration, agricultural preservation, efficient water management, governmental accountability, and fish and wildlife conservation. He has advised irrigation districts, acequias, Pueblo and tribal governments, farmers, environmental organizations, and local water providers. He established and managed the New Mexico Living Rivers Program for The Nature Conservancy and served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission. He is currently a Board member at Rivers Edge West (formerly the Tamarisk Coalition) and a member of the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program’s Advisory Council. He is a past Vice Chair of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, past Chair of the Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law section of the New Mexico State Bar, and past President of the New Mexico Riparian Council.
Since joining the Utton Center, Adrian has led research projects on drought resilience, water policy and management, water and economic development in rural New Mexico, local food and small agriculture, and community outreach on the Aamodt adjudication for the County of Santa Fe. He speaks and contributes to many UNM, state, and local entities that have natural resource or water law and policy issues.
Stephanie Russo Baca, Staff Attorney
Stephanie Russo Baca joined the staff of the Utton Center in fall 2018. Since her graduation from UNM School of Law in 2017, Stephanie has been associated with the Barncastle Law Firm in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She worked previously with the Utton Center as a student research assistant during law school for her 2L and 3L years and as a paralegal following graduation. She holds both the Indian Law and Natural Resources and Environmental Law Certificates, served on the Tribal Law Journal as a staff member and editor, and received the Dean's Award upon graduation. Stephanie also participated in the Madrid Summer Law Institute in 2015.
As staff attorney, Stephanie will assist with the activities of the Joe M. Stell Ombudsman Program, the statewide program that provides impartial adjudication information and procedural guidance to unrepresented water right claimants in the state of New Mexico. Stephanie will also be contributing significantly to the Utton Center's overall mission of providing objective research-based public service to New Mexico's communities on issues related to energy, climate change, ecological conservation, food systems, and international natural resource management.
Laura Burns, Program Coordinator
Laura Burns joined the Utton Center in 2013. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and previously worked as a resource development director for the Corporation for the Northern Rockies, Samaritan Counseling Center and the New Mexico Family Business Association. Laura became interested in the work of Utton Center while she was copyediting the manuscript for the biography Al Utton—Aztec Eagle written by Michele Minnis and published by the Utton Center in 2015. Her duties at the Center include event and conference planning, resource development, communications, contract and grant administration, and office management. An avid fly fisherman, Laura was an outfitter and sport fishing lodge manager in southwestern Montana and on South Andros Island, Bahamas, for many years. Fly fishing the waters of the Rocky Mountains remains a passion for her.
Lauren Rust, Administrative Assistant
Lauren Rust grew up in Silver Spring, MD but has deep roots here in New Mexico from her mother's side of the family. Lauren has recently completed a dual undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico with a B.S. in Geography and a B.A. in International Studies & Spanish. She has also obtained a Certificate in Peace and Justice Studies. Her education aligns with the transboundary work of the Utton Center, and her proficiency in Spanish provides the ombudsman support to Spanish speakers. In addition, her experience with GIS and an externship with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has prepared her to contribute to conservation and environmental monitoring projects. As administrative assistant, Lauren helps with event and conference planning, human resources, website design, and assisting with translations and OSE filings for the Utton Center's ombudsman work.
Utton Center Affiliates
Melanie Stansbury, Senior Advisor for Policy and Community Programs
Melanie Stansbury is a consultant and senior advisor to the Utton Center, working on policy, community engagement, and strategic planning. Melanie has worked with the Utton Center a number of times over the past decade, including collaborations with the Ombudsman program on research, community engagement, and tribal water issues. Melanie holds a graduate degree in Development Sociology from Cornell University and worked for a number of years on natural resources, science and Native American affairs policy in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the White House Office of Management and Budget.