IMPACT that matters
Working with people means you can't just look at widgets produced or products built. But at the same time, I don't approach my work from the lens of "if I just change one life it's worth it." Scale matters, and it's important to me that my work is helping people live and work better together.
This page is a review of the industries I've been in and projects and accomplishments therein. I've kept as many live links and docs updated as possible - enjoy!
My undergraduate research focused on cross-cultural education, with a particular focus on how people's cultural and ontological backgrounds shape how they might perceive knowledge. My final thesis centered on assessing social and collaborative learning:
This required presenting a theoretical approach to defining and understanding the kind of learning that takes place formally and informally among peers collaborating in non-hierarchical educational environments.
...which is essentially a fancy way of saying, can we systematically make group learning experiences better? I specialize in sessions that encourage participation, the co-creation of shared knowledge, and leveraging playfulness, fun, and experimentation in the learning journey. A few projects within this work:
"Citisphere" was a symposium at Lewis & Clark College, focused on the intersection of urban living and the environment. I oversaw a $35,000 event budget, a staff of 12 students and additional volunteers, all logistics, and publicity. The best part was coordinating the dialogues and discussions over a week of 2 keynotes, 18 speakers, art galleries, movie screenings, and other related events. Later events included hosting the founder of Pleistocene Park for a 200+ attendee "social learning" event involving open space forums for collaborative discussion around the lecture.
I entered the outdoor industry at 14 running programs at the Arlington Outdoor Lab, and have since run camps, retreats, and expeditions around the country. In 2012 I graduated with honors from a National Outdoor Leadership School 90-day intensive training for outdoor educators. I am most involved in thinking about the intersection of social justice and the outdoor industry, with programs focused on access to these spaces.
My work on leadership development and training in outdoor spaces has been featured at several conferences, including the Wilderness Risk Management Conference and the International Associaton of Experiential education. Through the Bus for Outdoor Access & Teaching, we're making it available to other teams and organizations across the country. I run a variety of clinics and sessions related to working with groups in the outdoors, including a for-credit at Lewis & Clark on Cross-Cultural Leadership in the Outdoors.
I also offer consulting services to outdoor organizations, and have worked with several to either enhance the quality of their staff training or to better engage topics of culture and environment in their work. I am also the State Advocate for Leave No Trace in Colorado, and am available for workshops on Leave No Trace, especially as it relates to environmental ethics and social justice. My work in outdoor education earned me the nationally competitive Udall Scholarship in 2012
One of my primary projects is serving as the President of the Board of BOAT - the Bus for Outdoor Access & Teaching. BOAT is a fully functional "wilderness program on wheels," run out of a custom school bus that holds enough ear to take 35+ people camping at a time. We went through a lengthy design process with educators, youth leaders, and more to figure out what made it hard for groups to go outside - BOAT is the solution, and has reached over 10,000 individuals through trips and education programs since 2018.
Crystalaire was originally founded as a northern Michigan summer camp in the 1920s. With a business partner, we reinvigorated the brand and name as "Crystalaire Adventures" in 2012. I directed all aspects of the program over the course of several years, laying the groundwork for a burgeoning business. Crystalaire focused on using wilderness classrooms for social justice and civics education. We used experiential understanding of social and group dynamics in wild spaces to help youth and adults better process and understand lessons of power, privilege, communication, culture, and similar. We served over 400 families, and my team of staff managed dozens of expeditions. I continue as an advisor, though the curriculum has shifted significantly.
Sustainability & Ecology
My foray into environmental problem solving began in 2009, when I launched a community gardening initiative in my community and created a team of students who assisted in urban agricultural projects across the city. I was featured as the “next environmentalist” on public radio and my projects made it to the front page of Wisconsin’s largest paper. I graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark College, with a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies. While I picked up a few quirks (I no longer use the word "nature") it also proved incredibly helpful for thinking critically about both social and environmental issues.
My work was also described as the "lifeblood" of efforts toward's Lewis & Clark’s rise in Sierra Club “cool school” rankings, with the school hitting the number 1 spot by the year I graduated, up from sub-150. Alas, I still got in trouble for starting a large-scale oyster mushroom farming operation in a dorm basement. That hasn't stopped environmental work since!
Whitefish Bay Community Garden
At over 4,000 square feet, the Whitefish Bay Community garden was an effort I launched in 2009. We raised several thousand dollars, supported associated educational curriculum with the nearby high school, and created a long-term revenue model to suport the program. The garden has now operated for over a decade, supporting families, kids, and school programs. It was turned into a formal Parks & Recreation program and is now centrally managed.
From 2017 to 2019 I served as the president of the Udall Alumni Association, the organization coordinating all activity for alumni of the Udall Foundation's program community. My work included establishing organizational operations, founding a webinar program, opening leadership roles to all program constitutents, matching over 100+ mentor/mentee pairings, and hosting a global digital "Udall Week" of events and gatherings from London to Denver to DC. It's a fascinating crew of environmental and Native activisits, scholars, policy wonks, entrepreneurs, scientists and more - well worth checking out!
I used my time at Lewis & Clark College and Guild Education to engage Higher Education as a field. At L&C, I worked on projects addressing retention issues, auditing and reporting on the institution’s budget, student government, and residential life. I established two Living-Learning Communities. I have been honored to be accepted as a Pamplin Scholar and Udall Scholar.You are welcome to browse my work on the Situating the Global Environment project, and its extension in Digital Field Scholarship. While no longer involved in academia, I'm proud of my work in higher education on the student life and services side:
- Onboarded over 700 employees into an innovative higher education startup (Guild Education), providing context on the higher education industry amongst other services. Supported adult learners return to higher education via an in-house education benefit.
- Engaged in Student Government after finding evidence of financial irregularities involving approximately $150,000. I led a multi-faceted campaign to publicize the flow of student fee funding (>$750,000), reorganize fiscal management processes, and increase the flow of communication between stakeholders. Established an internal "auditor" role to provide quantitative and qualitative assessment as a baked-in part of official decision making processes. Work involved regular engagement with Dean of Students, Legal Counsel, CFO and other stakeholders.
- Worked with the Dean of Students at Lewis & Clark to found a Communication Assessment Team, conducting research in partnership with the Department of Institutional Research to assess campus information flow. Founding member of the Dean of the College's Committee on Student Retention.
- Served as a mentor and advocate for student initiatives including Black Lives Matter protests, increased funding for women’s health resources, preservation of staff union rights, and working conditions for entry-level campus professional staff (i.e. housekeepers, groundskeepers). Provided support, professional development, and coaching to a variety of student leaders and initiatives.