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Program Leaders

Donald RakowDonald Rakow, Ph.D.
The Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations

Donald A. Rakow is the MPS program director and serves as the fellows' major professor for their graduate committees. Don is also the fellows' primary mentor and assists fellows in selecting other committee members and coursework as well as in developing their graduate project. Don has been director of Cornell Plantations since 1996 and was previously the associate director starting in 1993. Prior to coming to Plantations, Don worked as a Cornell Cooperative Extension Agent for Broome County and then as a faculty member of the Department of Horticulture. He is still an associate professor in the Department. Don earned his Ph.D. and M.P.S. in horticulture from Cornell University and his B.A. in English from SUNY Albany. Don grew up on Long Island.


Sonja SkellySonja M. Skelly, Ph.D.
Director of Education of Cornell Plantations Ph. 607-255-2406 E-mail: sms92@cornell.edu Sonja M. Skelly is the MPS program coordinator and serves as the primary contact for interested, prospective, and current fellows. Sonja also serves a mentor for current fellows in selecting their coursework, developing their project, and working with Cornell Plantations. Sonja joined Cornell Plantations in May 2002. Prior to that she worked as the consumer horticulture specialist and master gardener coordinator for the Mississippi State University Extension Service. She earned her Ph.D. in horticulture from the University of Florida and her M.S. in horticulture and B.A. in anthropology from Texas A&M University. Sonja grew up in Seabrook, Texas.