Page 1

HIGH MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE where nature & minds meet


Measuring Our Success page 3

An Interview with

Danny O'Brien page 11

Wilderness & Technology:

Unplugging and Connecting at HMI page 8


inside this

issue ON THE COVER: David Silverman, Summer Term 2013, Developing a Sense of Place class Above: Anna Gibson, Semester XXXII, 2nd Expedition, Homestake Peak

2 | HMI Spring 2013

3 Measuring Our Success 5 Alumni Summit Challenge 6 Cultivating a Growth Mindset in the Math Classroom 8 Wilderness & Technology 11 An Interview with Danny O'Brien 14 Lake County Adopts Expeditionary Learning 16 Human Ecology

18 20 23 29 30

HMI in Flight Alumni News The HMI Fund The Founders Fund Grant's Recipe

Measuring Our


By Danny O'Brien, Acting Head of School


ast fall, I attended an HMI alumni event during Parents' Weekend at Colorado College. The great turnout was a testament to the powerful hold HMI still has on the people we impact, and I had a tremendous amount of fun seeing old friends and meeting other members of the HMI family. I also tried an experiment. I first asked alumni in the crowded room to raise their hands. The hands of the thirtyfour former HMI students went up. "Now," I asked our alumni, "keep your hands up if you think Colorado College would have been the school where you ended up for college if you had not come to HMI." Only two hands stayed raised. Our alumni's choice of college is just one of the tangible ways HMI has influenced the lives of our students. In fact, one of the reasons I most love HMI is the outsized role our school plays in shaping the values, careers, and life choices of our alumni. We love HMI because it is important and transformative—factors sometimes rare in contemporary education. But how transformative? How consistently do we have the same impact? How important is HMI in relation to the myriad experiences our students enjoy throughout their lives? Where would they be without HMI?

These are questions schools across the United States are asking. In the spring issue of Independent School magazine, HMI Trustee-elect John Gulla (past HMI parent and current Executive Director of the E.E. Ford Foundation) writes, "We are called to support our actions and decisions with data and to quantify the value added offered by our schools." Our current strategic plan calls upon HMI to answer such questions. Doing so will ensure HMI stays true to the culture that has produced great results though 16 years. We are also continually looking for ways to show students, parents, and traditional high schools that semester schools can be an essential component of many students' educations. This work is not new. Many of you remember filling out surveys for us, answering questions about the quality of HMI teaching, senior year grades, and who wrote college recommendations for you. We track alumni and parent giving and regularly ask the schools that send us students why they continue to do so. We are participating in the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) to assess the strengths of our culture and the student experience.

We love HMI because it is important and transformative— factors sometimes rare in contemporary education.

…continued on page 4


‌continued from page 3 These are all pieces of the puzzle that help explain what HMI students learn and gain. Last fall, in this space, I offered one hypothesis: HMI teaches us to "do well while having fun." Ben Dougherty, our Assistant Head of School and Academic Dean, sought a more data-driven metric while completing his graduate school work in independent school leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.

schools for senior year. We also learn, explains Ben, "that alumni attribute this as much to the confidence they gained at HMI through small classes, hiking in the wilderness, and living in wood-stove heated cabins as they do to specific skills they picked up in classes." I was surprised by how few students mentioned improved leadership skills as a take-away from their HMI experiences. After all, I think we teach leadership in more sophisticated ways

means for HMI. Used well, it will help us ensure similar outcomes in line with our mission and guide us into the future. How do we do this? We are currently investigating ways to turn Ben's results into questions we can ask next generations of alumni. I would expect the responses our future students offer will be consistent with those of the students who came before if we work diligently to remain focused on the promises of our mission. Divergence

I realized that our alumni see the leadership training they receive at HMI as essential to the ways in which they currently see themselves. To complete this work, Ben interviewed scores of HMI alumni who ranged in age from their mid- 30s to early 20s. As he analyzed interview transcripts, coding themes emerged that highlighted important outcomes of the HMI experience. He found remarkable consistency as he talked to our alumni: through our first sixteen years, HMI has consistently produced alumni who are more appreciative of learning through experience than through theory. Our students told Ben that they build productive relationships and are ready to confront challenges life throws at them. They are self-aware about their abilities and impacts on others. These results tell us why our alumni are so loyal to HMI. For example, survey data we have collected for years tells us that the GPAs of our students tend to rise when they return to their

4 | HMI Spring 2014

than just about any secondary school in the country. We certainly devote a lot of time with students to the subject.

over time from original answers might warn us to pay attention to unintentional shifts in our culture.

However, as I dug deeper into Ben's results, I realized that our alumni see the leadership training they receive at HMI as essential to the ways in which they currently see themselves. Leading a hiking group up a 14,000 foot peak made them more confident; the ability to give and receive feedback made them more self-aware; the task of maintaining fires overnight in cabin stoves led them to understand how to build productive relationships.

I also want all of you to talk comfortably about the HMI experience and with growing confidence in the important role we play in the educational landscape and in the lives of teenagers. In return, we will keep exploring the best ways to measure our success and live up to the trust everyone in our community so resoundingly places in us.

The results of Ben's work will help us navigate the challenge of maintaining the commitment to the mission that has guided HMI for years. Ben's research affirms for us what our call to "nurture personal growth through interaction with nature and participation in a strong community"

Alumni Summit Challenge

After setting the bar high in 2012, HMI alumni once again came out in strong support of this year’s Summit Challenge. Over 30% of our Semester and Summer Term alumni participated in the 2013 Alumni Summit Challenge, helping to raise $17,500 for the HMI Fund! In its third year, our alumni continue to show strong support for the Challenge and for the HMI experience, and for this we are truly grateful. Your participation not only demonstrates the impact of your time in Leadville, but also shows your commitment to ensuring that this will be a lasting opportunity for many years to come. We are proud to announce that several classes eclipsed the 50% participation mark and improved their participation rates from last year. Semester XXX stood out from the rest this year and won the Challenge with an impressive rate of 95% participation!

For more information, or to join the Challenge and make your gift today, please visit 5

Cultivating a Growth Mindset in the Math Classroom By MaryClaire McGovern, Math Faculty


hy is six afraid of seven? Why am I afraid of math?"

At the beginning of every semester, HMI students write a personal "math story" in which they reflect on their history with the subject and formulate goals for the semester. Inevitably, almost every story includes a reference to one or more traumatic experiences. Whether it was long division, geometry, or the dreaded algebra, most students have had visceral connections with the subject. The overwhelming majority go so far as to say "math and I do not get along," "I'm going to warn you MC, I am just not a math person," or from the more romantic: "math is my Kryptonite". For many students the idea of succeeding in math is comparable to dividing by zero; it is simply not possible. Current research shows that HMI students are the norm; at least twice as many people polled hated math in particular in school versus other subjects. Hate is a strong word. Where does this widespread fear and loathing come from? Dr. Jo Boaler, a Mathematics Education professor

6 | HMI Spring 2014

at Stanford University, has spent her career performing longitudinal studies of student growth and exploring this question. Her book, What's Math Got To Do With It? identifies many reasons for this unfortunate trend including standardized testing models, stereotypes, tracking from an early age, and "traditional" lecture-based teaching methods that focus on memorization of facts rather than concepts. The reasons that Dr. Boaler mentions all lead to the most disheartening explanation students frequently offer for their fear of the subject: "I'm bad at math." First, this statement is selfactualizing. How do you know you will be bad at a new skill before you even try it? Second, it comes from the unfounded belief that certain people are not capable of succeeding in math. Sure, you hear about people who are more "left-brained" or "right-brained" and individuals certainly have preferences based on all of the experiences in their academic career. Being more of an "English person", however, does not imply that you and math cannot get along.

This directly relates to an exciting new concept in education called "mindset". Dr. Carol Dweck, also a Stanford professor, was the first to coin this term in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Those that believe they are bad at math have a fixed mindset—they believe that people are born with a certain amount of intelligence and a range of abilities in specific areas. Others who exemplify a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed. Individuals with a growth mindset do not believe that everyone can or should be an "Einstein" but rather that everyone can improve their intelligence through practice. These people repeatedly demonstrate eagerness for more challenging tasks, perseverance, and an ability to learn from mistakes. They are generally more successful than fixed minded individuals who fear failure and avoid challenge. Many studies have demonstrated improvement in intelligence after practice and coaching as indicated by improved ability to complete a complex task. While not everyone may become an astrophysicist, everyone has the potential to be good at math.

Dweck further states that not only can intelligence be improved, but people can also change their mindset. Now this is all very encouraging in theory, but how do we put it into practice? How do we cultivate a growth mindset? At HMI we have the luxury of giving every student a clean slate. We also encourage students to give their relationship with math a clean slate. In part, we want to demonstrate to each student that they are capable of achieving success in the math classroom. We attempt to do this in a number of ways already, and also

proof or the idea that there is only one answer can be appealing. In reality, however, math is often more related to finding patterns and making connections than about systematic methods to approach problems. In the real world, sometimes there are many answers to questions and determining which answer is most realistic can be the more important skill. In general at HMI we strive to teach students how to think, not what to think, by promoting independent thinking and helping students

Every student arrives in Leadville with a different math background and responds differently to our approach to teaching math. One student from several semesters ago stands out to me as someone who clearly benefited from thinking about math in a new way. This student constantly pushed back against our emphasis on independent exploration. She had particularly low self-confidence regarding her math abilities and requested straightforward answers about the "correct" way to approach problems. This request was reasonable and I began the semester

"math is my Kryptonite."

"math and I do not get along."

"I am just not a math person." constantly seek out ways to improve our own pedagogical techniques to meet this goal. Before students have the desire to improve, they first need to experience how math can be relevant and intriguing. As teachers we try to do this by making concepts accessible to students through place-based applications and emphasizing the greater themes of the subject. For example, problems such as measuring the height of the East Building using trig equations, or modeling the exponential decay of a plate of cookies put out for an afternoon snack, are much more relevant than a contrived word problem involving apples and oranges. Many students already appreciate or acknowledge the argument that math is beautiful; the simplicity and elegance of a perfect

develop habits of mind and skills of learning that will serve them across many disciplines in life. In the math classroom, we focus on problemsolving skills such as looking for patterns, making connections between ideas, asking critical questions, critiquing reasoning, and using evidence to support conclusions. I am certain that the improvements we see over the course of the semester in the math classroom are reinforced by our students' personal growth in all areas of life here at HMI. The confidence built navigating during a challenging hiking day certainly transfers to tackling a challenging integral problem. Overlapping focus on developing habits of mind in other areas of the semester makes our jobs a little easier in math class, and also increases the likelihood that students will transfer these skills.

by giving her much more scaffolding than I usually do while she developed skills that helped her tackle problems on her own. Later in the semester, I began to answer more of her questions with questions. Sometimes this made her frustrated, but she slowly started to ask more critical questions and formulated her own conclusions. During one of the last days of class, she asked, "Is this correct?" and before I even responded she sighed and said, "forget it, I know how to check it myself"‌ and, after a few minutes she exclaimed, "I got it! Yes!" Success. Here at HMI we do not pretend to take on all the challenges of math education in the United States. We can, however, try to help as many students as possible realize that they can be good at math, and perhaps (hopefully!) even love it.


y g o l o n h c e T & s s e Wildern

Unplugging and Connecting at HMI

By Eliza O'Neil, Residential Life Faculty


ince its inception, HMI has taken students into the wilderness for up to fourteen days at a time. Wilderness travel is often associated with lessons in leadership, selfreliance, communication, and risk management. And ever since cell phones have become mainstream tools, HMI's wilderness trips also bring an unexpected perk: the opportunity to unplug.

Only a few days after arriving at HMI and giving up their cell phones, students go into the field on their first expedition during which they unplug completely without phones, internet, or screens. Early on, students talk often about Facebook, status updates, and profile pictures. But as the week passes, students start to think and talk about other, more relevant things—their feet, what's for dinner, what the clouds are doing, and how to communicate best with a groupmember. Students are introduced to an expedition culture where being part of a high-functioning community means giving and receiving constructive, solution-oriented feedback, confronting and managing group conflict, and practicing risk-taking and vulnerability in order to improve. Often, the raw, face-to-face conflict management practice is one of the most profound and transferable skills our students learn in the wilderness. Back on the HMI campus, students no longer carry cell phones but they still have access to the internet on their laptops, and often use landline phones to contact friends and family back home. Compared to their usual lives, their interaction with technology during their time at HMI is limited. Our reasoning? We emphasize the importance and power of fully engaging and living in a small and intentional community, especially in the context of a short, immersive experience. Personal phones and similar

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distractions, we tell students, can inherently detract from the experience. But does unplugging actually add to the experience? And does it have a lasting impact on students upon their return home? Does removing cell phones from students' lives actually make a difference in the impact of the HMI experience as a whole? What about fully unplugging on expeditions? I decided to reach out to some of our recent alumni to find out. Repeatedly, alumni and current students alike reflected on the notion of HMI as a place they could live in the present. A recent NPR article by Linton Weeks entitled "We Are Just Not Here Anymore" suggests that "As technology seeps through society, dampening every dry aspect of our lives, something is happening to the idea of being present; the desire to be in the moment; the notion of living right here and right now. Whenever we go anywhere, we are—and we want to be—somewhere else simultaneously." Students say that those pockets of time at HMI when they could not reach for their device became precious. Our alumni put it well: Martha Longley, Semester XXX, reflects "I think it was really incredible because we were forced to think about what was right in front of us instead of everything else going on in the world. If there was a moment of silence I would reflect thoughtfully instead of simply finding an app to ease my immediate sense

…ever since cell phones have become mainstream tools, HMI's wilderness trips also bring an unexpected perk: the opportunity to unplug. of boredom. I feel like this generation really struggles to be present but on expedition we had no choice." David Bai, Semester XXX, recalls "Some of my favorite moments on expedition were when the day's hiking was over, the tarp was pitched, everything was shipshape, and I could just sit idly, relax, and be in nature. It was nice how simple life [was] in the backcountry. You could be totally present there. There was nothing else but to be completely and wholeheartedly in the moment savoring the experience." Back on campus, though more distractions are available, students still must engage daily with each other, without being able to defer to

a cell phone or screen during an idle moment. "I was focused on where I was. That's important," writes Dale Storti, Semester XXX. As HMI alumni can attest, it was the relationships they made that truly shaped their HMI experience. Though many factors of the HMI environment contribute to this fundamental takeaway, many students attribute the low level of technology in their lives to the fostering of an inclusive and open environment. In the wilderness, students face each other, and themselves, in their most real and uninterrupted state. And back on campus, there is no buffer—

no excuse—not to interact. This tends to bring out the best in people. Caroline Grip, Semester XXXI, reflects on social interactions at HMI and how they contributed to forming bonds: "I think that relationships were stronger. If you wanted to communicate with someone, you had to actually find them and talk directly with them. And in finding them, you would end up talking with other people too. It encouraged conversation and interaction." In addition to the small campus being conducive to social accidents, the absence of cell phones also tends to …continued on page 10


‌continued from page 9 focus people's attention on what is in front of them. Melanie Variano, Semester XXX, recalls, "Being unplugged made me realize that conversations become more meaningful when they are in real life, when the other person can see you’re giving them your full attention and really taking in what they say." Not only are students available to have an impromptu conversation with a peer or teacher, but they are also better listeners when they do.

feelings of frustration around their peers' inability to truly focus on one thing at a time. Elly Blum, Semester XXX, experienced a newfound selfawareness: "I became very aware that I was never giving my full attention to people around me if my phone buzzed in my pocket," Elly says. Regardless of the accompanying challenges, I asked these students would you unplug again? The answer was a unanimous "yes!". Martha Longley: "In a heartbeat." David Bai: "Most def."

Based on many student testimonials, the experience of "unplugging" is surely a valuable one. But the question remains: does effectively unplugging for a semester or a summer have a lasting impact? Many students say "yes," though with one caveat; upon returning home they experience unexpected

Jesse Metzger, Semester XXX: "Definitely—can't wait!" Jack Gilbert, Semester XXX: "Without a second thought." Many of these students are now seeking out more opportunities to

Regardless of the accompanying challenges, I asked these students would you unplug again? The answer was a unanimous

"yes!" 10 | HMI Spring 2014

disconnect, such as camping trips with friends or working as camp counselors in rural areas. For these students, the benefit of taking away cell phones and other distractions came down to an enhanced community experience. "I think it was the greatest first move towards crafting an inclusive, welcoming, engaged community of kids who are together to be together," writes Melanie Variano. "Cell phones are a method of escape from reality. Why would you want to be anywhere but HMI?"


An interview with

Danny O'Brien Acting Head of School By Whitney Johnson, Spanish Faculty

"More than anything else, my job is to make sure that HMI continues to be the fantastic place that it is from every dimension."

any of you know Danny O'Brien, the High Mountain Institute's Acting Head of School, as he's been an integral part of HMI's story. He first arrived at HMI during Semester XIII as a history faculty and thus began his multiyear journey. Danny taught history until Semester XVIII and thoroughly enjoyed connecting with students in the classroom. As his understanding and appreciation of HMI's mission deepened, Danny began participating in the admissions process. He taught history and traveled for a number of years wanting to spread HMI's "phenomenal product" through multiple channels. In Semester XIX, Danny took on the role of Director of Admissions in order to pursue his curiosity about "why the semester program wasn’t filling as the school hoped." Even though he was not in the classroom, Danny still tried to keep himself involved in the semester and is fondly remembered as a joyful presence in the Barnes Building, an advisor, and an expedition instructor. Danny says, "It was something that was really important to me—that I was integral to the HMI experience— because it reminded me that we're all in this together as one community." After Semester XXIV, Danny moved on from HMI to serve as the Assistant Director of Upper School at Greensboro Day School in Greensboro, North Carolina. He spent three years in that role and while "life was pretty good in Greensboro," Danny said he really missed what made HMI such a special place: "how every day, students can be and really are their best selves, and they push themselves to do the right thing, to try new things, and to …continued on page 12


…continued from page 11 explore." When he was offered the Acting Head of School position during the summer of 2013, Danny knew it was the right next step. I had the opportunity to sit down with Danny and talk with him more about his return to HMI along with his perspectives on his role and leadership.

Whitney Johnson: What originally drew you to HMI and the history position? Danny O'Brien: Well, I needed a job! At the same time I applied to HMI,

The process of working on this side of the ledger is always changing and

I was applying to Ph.D. programs in history. I remember staring at an offer letter from HMI and the offer letters from different Ph.D. programs thinking, "Well, I'll just do this for a year or two, defer from the program, and go back to it later." That was in 2004, and I never really looked back. I had a couple of friends who were apprentices here, and they told me a lot about it. I worked at The Island School and loved the idea of a small community where learning was central. Every school in the country talks about educating the whole child and educating for life. I believe that at HMI we actually do this, rather than just talk about it. On wilderness expeditions I saw how much students could grow and learn and have fun at the same time. When you combine that with an academic program… I think the two are better together than either alone.

evolving. I think oftentimes

WJ: How would you describe your role now as Acting Head of School?

my desire has been driven

DO: More than anything else, my job is

first by my love for HMI rather than my desire to be a great administrator.

to make sure that HMI continues to be the fantastic place that it is from every dimension—the way that we teach and the way that students learn, our financial sustainability, employees who are happy and feel a part of something special, alumni who remain connected to a place that meant so much to them, sending schools who believe we enrich their educational models. These are all part of a constantly moving puzzle. My job is to make sure those puzzle pieces fit together in a way that best serves a strong mission.

WJ: And what has been your favorite part of the role so far? DO: I don’t know that I can name any one thing. There are so many parts that interest me, from what happens in cabins and classrooms to Trustee meetings to development and construction. I also appreciate the ability to go down into the trenches whether that is doing chores with students or to visiting a group in the field to drop off needed supplies and surprise them with ice-cream. There is a huge spectrum of places I could be in any given day, and all of them are valuable and useful. WJ: Are there specific leadership techniques—things you've learned or taught over the years—that you see yourself using now? DO: I think a lot about the leadership grid. I might need to be a driver, or a spontaneous motivator. At other times, I'm asking questions as an analyst/ architect, or I'm working to be a relationship master and connect with the person across from me. I often ask myself, am I using the best tools at the right times? I also try to ask for feedback as much as I can. This practice is really important to what we learn and teach.

WJ: When did you start thinking about taking on a role in the administrative world?

WJ: Are there changes that you have noticed since you returned to HMI?

DO: When I began to ask questions

the same. HMI is comprised of an incredibly talented group of faculty who give their hearts and souls to an eager bunch of students. That part has not changed, and the positive student

about why we weren't getting a million applications. This thought fired off my brain in different ways. The process of working on this side of the ledger is

12 | HMI Spring 2014

always changing and evolving. I think oftentimes my desire has been driven first by my love for HMI rather than my desire to be a great administrator. But I see places that we can improve or do better and where we can stay strong. To me, HMI has always come first and the roles that I've taken on have come second.

DO: The fundamental piece is still

outcomes remain. There's something for everybody here. We've matured. I felt like my first years here we were still at the end of the start-up phase. We are more established now. But I want us always to remember that in the world of schools we are still the scrappy underdogs. We are the people that find a niche and grab onto it and don't let go. Most people go to school. You do not, in theory though, have to go to a semester away. Although I argue that when I talk to our alumni, they would say they had to come to HMI in order to do what they are doing now. Because of our unique school model, we have to remember that we are always going to be fighting for our place in the landscape of education. However, I believe it is such an important place that it is worth fighting for.

WJ: Are there new perspectives, especially coming back in this role, that you feel you bring to the school?

DO: Everything that you do shapes what you believe. There's that great quote on a tea bag—"I am part of all that I've met." I’m thankful for the perspective that I bring from my time in Greensboro. Specifically, I have a better sense of teaching and learning than I did before. We do so many things well at HMI, so many things that we should be proud of. One of the things I think we can continue to focus on is that we have the chance to be a laboratory for other schools. We have some of the most talented, committed, openminded folks that you can imagine working for us. We think quite a bit about what it means to emphasize skills over content in a classroom. People use the terms “studentcentered classroom” and “21st century learning” all the time. I think we are in a strong position to be a leader in defining what those terms really mean. I would not have thought about that in the same way before.

WJ: This piece about teaching and learning seems like an important part of a vision that you have for the school. What other factors shape your vision for HMI moving forward?

DO: We need to continue to stand out— I want us to be essential. Over the past 15 years we have been earning our stripes, but I want high schools across the country to know about the semester and summer options out there. I want scores of students eager to come to HMI. I want people to recognize that they will not have the same opportunities moving forward if they have not come to HMI. To say I want us to be essential is a very broad answer, but it is something I want us to keep striving toward. WJ: Anything else you'd like folks to know? DO: The real reason I was driven back to HMI was the 15-Year Anniversary this past summer. It was such a powerful experience to see over 300 alumni in one place, all of whom affirmed the hard work that we do, and who said universally, "we wouldn't be in the same spot we are now if it wasn't for this school." I left that weekend thinking HMI is truly making a difference. My job now is to make sure that we keep growing and doing just that.


Lake County Adopts

Expeditionary Learning By Christina Reiff, Director of Summer Term & Adjunct Programs

here are many ways in which HMI works in partnership with Lake County and the Leadville community, not to mention that many of our faculty and staff have young children entering the local school district. Recently, we have been carefully watching and participating in conversations about some major changes that will ultimately impact our community of schools, as well as many of our friends and local families.

In December, teachers and administrators in the Lake County School District voted unanimously to adopt an Expeditionary Learning curriculum model in kindergarten through 6th grade, starting at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. The move follows a year of in-depth investigation into various different curriculum models that would help turn around Lake County’s ailing schools. Based on the ideas of Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound, Expeditionary Learning (EL) engages students in project-based “learning expeditions” that last from six months to a year. Expeditions challenge students to develop an in-depth

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knowledge of a subject from different disciplinary angles. Students work in groups and in their community to engage in original research, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.

develop a connection with the natural world, and building character. First launched in 1993 with ten demonstration schools, there are currently 30 EL schools in Colorado

Inherent in the EL approach is a focus on experiential learning, helping students develop a connection

with the natural world, and building character. Expeditions culminate in a trip to a relevant location or with a visit by a guest speaker who is an expert in the field. Assessment is in the form of cumulative projects, public presentations, and portfolios. Inherent in the EL approach is a focus on experiential learning, helping students

and 165 in the United States. Examples of learning expeditions include a “get out and vote” PSA as part of a study of democracy, water quality testing as part of a study of mining, and a visit to a local lowincome housing complex as part of a study of poverty. Touted as a model

for comprehensive school reform, EL schools claim such positive outcomes as higher student achievement and participation, and a more positive and productive school culture. In many EL schools, students’ test scores exceed district averages by substantial margins, with particular success among black and Latino students.

who work at HMI are deeply invested in Lake County. Learning about Lake County’s adoption of the EL curriculum model is inspiring. On a practical level, I am inspired by the potential for HMI to learn more about Expeditionary Learning in order to further develop and deepen our curriculum. More fundamentally, and much more

importantly though, I am inspired by the potential of Expeditionary Learning to unleash the greatness inherent in each and every current and future child in the Lake County School District, as I know we do so well with our own experiential curriculum.

Several former HMI employees now work in the Lake County School District including Karl Remsen who teaches math at the high school, Kate Bartlett who serves as the Director for Special Projects, and Katie (Redding) Baldassar who serves as the President of the Lake County School District Board of Directors. As a parent of a rising kindergartener, I am heartened to see our local schools adopt a curriculum model that uses such descriptors as challenge, curiosity, responsibility, failure, natural world, and community as part of its core tenets. These are words that harken back to HMI’s mission statement and are core elements of our own curriculum. During the Summer Term, for example, students spend six weeks completing what amounts in many ways to a “mini learning expedition” about Leadville: students investigate Leadville’s history, geology (why is there mining here?), conduct water quality testing, and interview the town's residents who range from outdoors enthusiasts, to recent immigrants, to old-time miners, in order to learn about present-day Leadville. HMI’s future is inextricably tied to Lake County’s future. As community members, parents, local board members, coaches, home owners, mentors, and volunteers, all of us


Human Ecology By Becca Katz, Dean of Students


n her Human Ecology Project reflection, Semester XXXI student Caroline Zerilli pondered one of the project's Enduring Understandings: Everything, biotic and abiotic, interacts in relationships that can influence one another. She wrote, "We were standing on top of a tailings pile left behind from mining. During science field class that day, I thought about how everything is so interconnected. The most mind-blowing thing for me was realizing that Leadville would not exist and HMI would not exist if the Laramide Orogeny hadn't happened."

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Many small towns are dependent upon natural resources for their survival. Just as mining and ranching are industries rooted in resources from the land, so too are tourism and outdoor recreation. As a town whose economy and community are deeply tied to and affected by the land and vice versa, Leadville offers an ideal case study for the relationship between human beings and their surrounding environment. The Laramide Orogeny, a mountainbuilding event occurring some 35-80 million years ago, is thought to be responsible for the early formation of the Rocky Mountains. Caroline is correct that this one geologic event helped determine where Leadville

and HMI are located today. We were after exactly this type of connection between the natural world and human reliance on resources when Practices and Principles teamed up with the Natural Science class for the Human Ecology Project during Semester XXXI. The project's central question, "how has the land shaped the people and how have the people shaped the land in Leadville?", forced students to examine the larger natural forces at play in shaping lifestyle and human settlement, while simultaneously considering how human behavior can mold a landscape.

Likewise, interviewing locals or listening to guest speaker panelists gave students a profound awareness for just how much the landscape can impact culture. Lisa Morton, one of our guest panelists and a Leadville resident, explained that challenges associated with Leadville's mining booms and busts make people tougher. In Lisa's words, "Part of the reason that I'm here and that my family loves Leadville is its grittiness and its room for opportunity, growth, and change." While the Human Ecology Project was a new curricular endeavor for the HMI Semester, it was really an outgrowth of the Sense of Place projects that students participate in during the HMI Summer Term. In this way, Summer Term has become a space for HMI to explore new ideas, some of which are now percolating into the relatively more structured Semester curriculum.


The educational innovation, though, is a two-way street, and after thinking about the long-term implications of relying on the local community for interviews yearround, Summer Term director, Christina Reiff, is contemplating how we can move forward with similar projects to the Sense of Place and Human Ecology Projects while giving back to the community in a living history. To this end, we plan to explore National Public Radio's "StoryCorps" model to help catalog and save the interviews HMI students conduct and then provide them to the local community as a historic resource for the people of Leadville. The Sense of Place Project and the Human Ecology Project left an indelible impact on the students, helping Leadville's landscape, both cultural and physical, past and present, come to life for them. Marcia Martinek, one of the guest panelists and the editor of the local newspaper, the Leadville Herald Democrat, wrote in an editorial on November 13, 2013, "Whether or not the students started out with any preconceived notions about mining, they seemed to understand at the end of the project what mining has meant to this area, including some of the conflicts related to our Superfund status. The old saying, 'If you can’t grow it, you have to mine it,' seemed to resonate with some." Finally, these two projects have enhanced HMI's ability to adhere to its core value of "place and communitybased education." We're looking forward to more partnerships with the people and environment of Leadville.

As a town whose economy and community are deeply tied to and affected by the land and vice versa, Leadville offers an ideal case study for the relationship between human beings and their surrounding environment.


During the Human Ecology Project, students were fortunate to learn from experiences like the one Caroline described above, standing atop mine tailings piles from the late 1800's. They also had a special opportunity to see modern-day mining operations at Climax Molybdenum Mine. Experiences like walking by the giant ball mill which helps separate rock from ore by breaking it down into smaller pieces, peering down into the extraction pit (as deep as a mountain!), and hearing the blasting on the nearby mountainside gave students a strong sense of appreciation for how much human behavior can shape the natural environment.

HMI in Flight By Paul Landsberg, Semester XIV alumnus

"Despite flying at 15,000 feet and hundreds of miles an hour, the foundational navigation skills HMI taught me still applied."

18 | HMI Spring 2013


’ 've had a deep connection with HMI for the past nine years. I was a RMS XIV student, RMS XXVI apprentice, participated in two summer programs, and I am currently on the Alumni Council. A year ago I started on a very different career path than my HMI peers; I commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. I am now in training to become a Combat Systems Officer (CSO). CSO is a blanket term for a number of aircrew positions, including navigator. Generally, a CSO plans and runs the mission in an airplane while pilots physically fly the plane. After a nine week Basic Officer Training last year, I am now nearing the end of my yearlong CSO training. Soon I will receive my aircrew wings and be assigned to an aircraft at a new base. Throughout my time in this training I have regularly used skills I learned at HMI to become a better aviator and officer. A constant piece of advice for Air Force aviators is to “grow a thick skin,” because every flight is followed by an extensive debriefing. On HMI expeditions, the lengthiest debrief was after what felt like the longest hike of the expedition. I learned in these sessions that no matter how tired, cold, or hungry I was, thorough feedback was incredibly important to becoming a better leader and outdoorsman. Most days in training I have a flight event, either in an aircraft or simulated. Following each flight I debrief with my instructor on the flight about how I can be better. Tired, mentally drained, and hungry, I always remember the advice from HMI on how to treat feedback: like a gift from a grandparent, you nod and smile and say “thank you.” I find that I intuitively value these debriefings

after experiencing how much feedback helped me grow at HMI. The primary phase of my training focuses on navigating using charts and instruments in the plane to fly a specific route. During a recent simulator flight, my instructor paused the flight to demonstrate a technique he uses in reading the charts for final approach to landing. He keeps his thumb in the approximate location of the aircraft on the chart based on the navigation instruments. As an apprentice at HMI, I had specifically taught students to “thumb along” their topo maps during expedition travel to stay oriented. Despite flying at 15,000 feet and hundreds of miles an hour, the foundational navigation skills HMI taught me still applied. At its core, the crew of an aircraft is a small team working to safely achieve a common goal. My time at HMI allowed me to hone the skills that make these teams successful. Learning communication, risk management, feedback, group dynamics, and endurance through physical and mental hardship at HMI prepared me to succeed as an aviator. My Air Force career will take me to new and different places and continue to challenge me physically and mentally. I am excited to continue to build on the foundation of skills that I laid during my time at HMI when facing these challenges.

Throughout my time in this training I have regularly used skills I learned at HMI to become a better aviator and officer.



news SPRING 2014

RMS II Jill Patterson continues to work at her coffee shop, Happy Trails Coffee, and ride her road bike during any free time she has. She joined a registered road racing team and will travel throughout Japan, and perhaps internationally, for races this upcoming year. Morgan Hincks had her second boy in August, Mica León. She and her family have returned to Carbondale, CO. Chris Milton still lives south of Denver in Englewood, CO. He is now a Portfolio Consultant with Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory supporting the San Francisco area and recently obtained his CFP® Professional Designation. He skis and hikes as much as possible when not at work, mainly in the backcountry because he prefers to avoid lift lines! Lindsay (Wolpa) Pasternak got married last August to a wonderful Coloradan who she had the chance to bring to the HMI 15-Year Anniversary. They were joined by another RMS IIer, Chris Milton. Currently, Lindsay is wrapping up her second quarter of graduate school where she is working toward her Master's in Public Administration, back at the University of Washington in Seattle. Oh, and she had the chance to visit with Hilary Halstead, who was also recently married. — Hilary Halstead O’Keefe (

RMS IV Noah Munro still lives in Concord, NH with his fiancé and will complete his MBA from Babson College this June. He continues to run his family's business, The Mill Fudge Factory and Ice Cream Cafe. Nick Teich got married to Erika Sabbath last June. Nick is the founder and CEO of Harbor Camps, which runs camp programs in New England & California for youth and families from marginalized populations. Molly and Christopher have been great nonprofit entrepreneurial role models to him! Jessica Stonberg finished her dual masters in Landscape Architecture and

20 | HMI Spring 2014

Urban and Regional Planning in December. Since graduation, she’s been working for Denver Downtown Partnership, a non-profit business organization that plans, manages and develops the downtown Denver area. She’s been spending a lot of time skiing in the Rockies with friends and family. — Jessica Stonberg (

RMS VIII RMS VIIIers are reaching their professional stride and are starting families—we have a bunch of engagements, weddings and births to report. Carly Ackerman is settling into motherhood and trying to balance work, parenting and marriage. Carly, who is in Fort Collins working on her submission for an international hair color and styling competition, gave birth to her son a few weeks after the Anniversary. John Shubert and his wife moved to Winston-Salem, NC, and in September, they welcomed their first child, Elizabeth Grace. Mike Ryan is still in Brooklyn, NY. He celebrated his first wedding anniversary last July and is expecting a child this summer. Over the past year he made his way to Paris as well as Aspen—he and RMS VII alumnus Brett Herter made sure to stop by HMI on the way. Tim Hagist’s daughter, May, will be two in March, and he is expecting another (a boy) in June! When he’s not with his family or at work for an excavation company, Tim squeezes in some snowmobiling, dirt biking, fishing and hunting. ABBY SMITH got married this summer and just bought a house. Abby is in the second year of her PhD program in biostatistics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and her son, Xavier, is now in kindergarten. RUTH POLAND is in her second year teaching 8th grade science and math, recently bought a big-time project house (there’s chicken poop on the floors!), and is now engaged to her boyfriend of 5 years. GRACE BOWMER has been planning her wedding when she’s not tending to 400 sheep with the help of two border collies and her fiancé, working part

time for an architect on residential projects, or trying to finish her own house. LEIGH BROWNING enjoys dissecting brains at CSU’s Veterinary School—she wants to make sure that everyone is impressed. Speaking of animals, TED STARNS has rekindled his love for fishing. He recently relocated from Texas to Anchorage, AK for his work as a geologist with ConocoPhillips and is taking advantage of the AK climate learning to skate ski—he’s given up on downhill skiing. JOE MARSH is also in the energy industry, though, unlike Ted, he hasn’t given up on downhill skiing. Joe lives in Denver, but he’s been spending a fair amount of time working in North Dakota. LINDSAY (Emmott) LEAHY bought a house just north of Boston a few years ago with her husband and is working with a group of financial advisors. She is still skiing around the New England area; however, it doesn't compare to Colorado! ODILE SCHALIT loves being a social worker at Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn, NY but is thinking it might be time for a new adventure. She reports that blues and bluegrass singing has become her favorite other life. LIZ (Bagley) LEMOINE is living in WA and knows she made the right choice leaving her heartless finance job to start her own photography business. MICHELLE MAY has found her calling as a psychotherapist in a group practice in Arlington, VA. She is still playing piano, soprano and baritone ukulele, and cello. EMILY MOULTON and her partner are in NYC running a two-year acting conservatory and overseeing their intensive courses worldwide. In her free time, she still loves playing the violin, singing, painting and hanging out with her two German Shepherds. CARLA CROCKER is wrapping up her master’s degree at Tulane and is still spending time at home in Costa Rica. When ISAIAH THOMAS isn’t modeling his leadership as the Assistant Director of Student Affairs at one of Penn State’s smaller campuses, he’s with his awesome cat, Twister. COLIN KELLEY lives in a Brooklyn art gallery that he started with friends; He wanted people to know that he has a banjo.

After two weeks in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, MEGAN DENAULT returned to work at The Hotchkiss School in alumni relations. She loves catching up with the alumni and throwing them parties, but she’s contemplating her next steps. I (DAN LUSTICK), too, am contemplating my next move. I am still doing medical research for a Boston law firm, but I’m looking for something new. JP BLEIBTREU is still in Austin, TX working at Apple’s corporate campus and playing with his two sons (and five dogs). He says his older son, Bodie, who is 8, is already bugging him to go winter camping so they can build a quinzhee. In his position as Marketing Manager at Bicycling Magazine, ANDREW BERNSTEIN runs events and forges partnerships with cycling-related advocacy organizations. Andrew is active in elite-level bike racing, and currently competes against Olympians on the famed velodrome in Trexlertown, PA, near his home in Allentown. ADAM KLAFFKY lives in DC, working as an accountant for a kayak school where he used to teach. In the spring he'll head back out West as a NOLS instructor. Finally, with a little persistence, the elusive ROO DRAKE popped back on the radar from Los Angeles where she’s living with her fiancé, cats, and dog that looks like a wolf. Roo’s working full time as an office administrator at a restaurant and taking classes to become a kindergarten teacher. — Dan Lustick (

RMS X Here we are, another year older (and wiser?) and all over the country! Liz Bubriski just returned from an epic wedding in India and is trying to resume “real life” in LA where she works for a cable TV studio and lives in West Hollywood. Liz sees Sarah Tooke and Jamie Poster from time to time, and they are looking for more visitors. Eliza Parsons still lives in Leadville and works for HMI. She reports that Leadville is reliably full of snow and wacky HMI students, although nothing is as fun as when RMS Xers visit. Jenny Shaw and Michael Gregory did not send updates, but Eliza assures us they are alive and still know how to whitewater raft. Paul-Harvey Weiner is also now on the West Coast! He works outside of LA (in the “high desert”) and if you can find him he’ll take you in! Emily Carson is not far from the LA crowd…she lives with her boyfriend on the ocean in San Diego. Tyler

Genge is a law student! He goes to law school at the University of Pittsburgh, where he lives with his dog, Mira. Ellie James, now Ellie James Pitney, may or may not be living in Denver…but I’m pretty sure she is married and has a gorgeous dog. Katie Clark is in the first year of her pediatric residency at the University of Virginia. I (Dylan Graetz) got to spend some time with her in Orlando last October at the American Academy of Pediatrics National conference! When Katie is not in the sunshine, she is skiing in Colorado; but unfortunately she did not make it to Leadville on her most recent trip. I am in my last year of medical school, and in approximately 3 weeks a computer decides the rest of my life! The resounding message from everyone is ‘we miss you’! — Dylan Graetz (

RMS XII It’s been 10 years, RMS XII! Alice Longley lives in Portland, OR where she just bought a house with her fiancé. Between working towards getting dual Master’s degrees in social work and public health, she is planning her wedding for this summer. Julia Schoen moved back to the US from South Africa and lives in Berkeley while she gets ready for med school this fall. Claire Moriarty lives in Boston where she continues to work on fashion, luxury, and travel brands at PGR Media, a boutique advertising agency. Lilly (Haberl) Nannes married Cal Nannes in August and honeymooned in South Africa in December. She lives in Baltimore, where she is finishing her Counseling Master’s program at Johns Hopkins University and working as a therapist at a women’s prison and substance abuse clinic. Louise Cocks lives in Brooklyn where she works in music publicity. Emily Zuckerman ran away with the French circus. After her three-year internship in Paris ends, she is considering forming her own performance company in Europe. Ilse Griffin lives in Minnesota where she works with at-risk teenagers. After a long hiatus, she recently skied for the first time since HMI. Beth Bai is currently backpacking through Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru before she gets married and moves to Boston. Delaney Burke got engaged to her college sweetheart and lives in Asheville, NC where she works at a local middle school teaching science and social studies. Ashley Saunders

is back in Colorado after spending a year in Alaska. She teaches preschool in Littleton, where she also volunteers at Children’s Hospital twice a week. Nick Matisse’s status is thumbs up. Kevin Brashar works as a heli flight instructor in Alaska where he lives with his wife and four dogs. Jess Jong does higher education research in Washington, DC. She is backpacking through Asia next month. Ben Greenblatt made a movie in Upstate NY last summer and now lives in Brooklyn with his girlfriend. Sophie Danforth is finishing up nursing school at Johns Hopkins and is hoping to move to Utah or Wyoming this summer. Julia (Sands) Robinson got married last April and is studying Interior Design while working for a corporate foundation awarding grant money to nonprofits in the Dallas area. Ali Ashburn lives in Washington, DC and works as a policy associate, writing about how legislation affects stocks. I (Greer Schott) recently moved from Washington, DC to Portland, OR, where I’m starting a new job as a social media strategist. While in DC I was lucky enough to reconnect with Lilly (Haberl) Nannes and spend some quality time with her in Baltimore, Annapolis, DC, and Costco. I’m happy to be back out west! — Greer Schott (

RMS XIV Amanda Kesselman teaches 11th grade English in the Bronx and lives in Harlem. She is happy that it leaves summers open for exploring! Eric Gustavson continues to enjoy living in the Bay Area, near San Jose. He is working for Netflix, and occasionally gets out for mountain biking, weekend camping trips, or a drive in the mountains. Lia Engelsted lives in the DC area, working as a federal consultant at IBM. Kendall Mackey also works in DC as the National Tar Sands Organizer for an environmental organization called Energy Action Coalition. She is primarily focused on fighting Keystone XL and other tar sands pipelines that are being proposed throughout the United States. Nina Gannes lives in San Francisco and works for a healthcare startup. She is inching her way closer to a job in brand management at a creative agency or bigger startup. Hannah Darrin is in Mozambique, working for Eyes on the Horizon. She will soon be back stateside in search of a NOLS contract, and will be in the Northwest,


Northeast, and Mexico. Jamie Cohen works at Boston education recruitment and retained search company called Carney, Sandoe & Associates. Evan Daniel works as a product designer for Patagonia in Santa Barbara, designing baselayers, trail clothes, and accessories. Emily Gasperetti graduated from UMass Amherst last May with a Master’s in Architecture. She now lives in West Hartford, CT and works for a firm that designs trains. I, Paul Landsberg, currently live in Pensacola, Florida. I am near the end of a year-long training to become a Combat Systems Operator (navigator) for the Air Force. I commissioned last May as a Second Lieutenant and have been in flight training since last June. — Paul Landsberg (

RMS XVI All the way in Swaziland, Joanna Cowan is working with kids as Peace Corps Volunteer. Also living abroad, Timmins Mervin loves life in Costa Rica where he works for a clothing company and a sushi kitchen and kills time with the incredible surf and spearfishing. Terrence Word moved from Seattle to Los Olivos, California where he teaches math and lives in a dorm at the Dunn School. Terrence also coaches mountain biking, the rock climbing team and helps with the outdoor trips. Farther north on the Pacific coast, Betsy Bayliss coaches crew in Seattle. She got to spend last summer in Leadville with Outward Bound. Joining her in the Pacific Northwest, Emily Chant is settling into life in Bend, Oregon after moving from Bozeman. After her life-changing World Race she was a part of last year, she is now working on a Master’s in Social Justice, which she hopes will allow her to travel overseas to do the work she loves. Gill Conly has taken Emily’s spot in Bozeman, where she’ll be working as a Youth Crew Leader for the Montana Conservation Corps. I, Hilary Burt, am not too far south in Jackson, WY. After raft guiding this summer, I started working with Teton Valley Community School as their teaching intern, where I spend most days teaching third and fourth graders and getting a ski lap in on Teton Pass after work. In Colorado, Alex Kahnweiler is still ski patrolling in Aspen. He took full advantage of the ski town off-season and traveled down to Guatemala for a Spanish immersion program this fall.

22 | HMI Spring 2014

Over the pass, Cam Deamer-Phillips works for HMI in alumni relations. He’s taking on more responsibility next year with FOD’ing, having advisees and leading expeditions. Justin Silverman is in Med School at Duke University. He’s only a few months away from getting his PhD and is now engaged! Now for our northeast contingent: Rob Elliot is working on his PhD at Columbia in ecological engineering and tries to get out of the city for adventures as often as he can. Brooks Ross is also in NYC, working at AMEX and escaping up to Vermont to ski when he can. In Brooklyn, Charlotte Buck decided to take a break from film and is nannying for several different families. She’s loved working with children and is considering elementary education as a future career path. Just a state away in CT, Ben Hayes is working on a Master’s in Forestry at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Also in CT, Joy Shure is the coordinator for an outdoor education and experiential learning program. This summer she’ll be directing a backpacking program in the Adirondacks. Abby Beaudette is finishing up her Master’s in Maternal and Child Health at Boston University and spent a few weeks this fall in Ethiopia. Also in Boston, Gregg Miller recently changed career paths and now works for a venture philanthropy foundation that gives money, strategic planning services, and pro bono consulting to education, child welfare, and family self-sufficiency social entrepreneurs. Close by, Leif Amber lives in New Hampshire working for a small power electronics company. And last but not least, Daniela Marino teaches sixth grade Special Education in Portland, Maine and absolutely loves it. Thanks for the all the great updates everyone! — Hilary Burt (

works at Kieve-Wavus, where she teaches middle school teambuilding and leadership skills, as well as leads wilderness trips in northern Maine. Forrest Devitt is a sous chef at a local restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina. Cori McGinn is in her second year at New York Law School. She spent last summer out in California working at Warner Bros. Cori spent New Year’s in Colorado and was excited to bump into fellow HMIers Hannah Baranes and Dan Corman! Catie Czajkowski recently moved to Denver and started a Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning program at CU Denver. She enjoys spending the weekends in the mountains skiing and hiking with her new puppy, Kiebo! Nubia Galindo works at Kiewit in Omaha, Nebraska as an engineer and travels quite a bit to area offices throughout the US. She comes back to Leadville whenever she can! Justin Hudgins is graduating in June from UChicago, and just got back from nine months studying in China. He hopes to return to study Mandarin for another year. Sarah Heely lives in San Clemente working as an administrative assistant and marketing coordinator for a local company.

RMS XVIII's Hannah Baranes and Cori McGinn enjoying some CO snow!

RMS XVIII Laura Castleman is a Master's student studying counseling at Indiana University Bloomington, and works for IU Sexual Assault Crisis Services. She is getting married to her fiancé David in December in New York! Jud Packard is in school at Kansas State for creative writing and works as a bartender. Charlie Phillips is studying economics in Dublin, Ireland for the semester. He’s been busy soaking in the sites and partying with the locals. He plans to visit Colorado soon! Hannah Lovejoy lives in Maine and

Alex Sonnenblick, Hildy Schott, Dylan Stewart (RMS XVIII) together at the HMI reunion in Boulder, CO

She will be visiting her sister in Paris this spring, and is obsessed with bikram yoga and beach hikes! Cakey Worthington is almost through a year-long fellowship at a non-profit land trust and trail building organization in Charlotte, NC. She’s gearing up for a dual Master’s program this fall at Duke University in Environmental Management and Forestry. Hildy Schott has been living in Denver for the past year and a half because she clearly can't escape the appeal of the Rockies. She works in market research and sees Alex Sonnenblick far less than she would like to. Clare Boals works in NYC. She had brunch with Cakey a few months ago, and is off to ski Aspen shortly. Hannah Baranes is working on her Master’s in Geoscience at the University of Massachusetts, where she researches tsunamis in southwestern Japan. Dylan Stewart lives in Boulder and makes puzzles for Liberty Custom Jigsaw Puzzles. He misses the ocean terribly. Next February, he will ride from San Francisco to Maine with his girlfriend. Sydney Chun lives in NYC and interned at Guggenheim Museum last fall. Now she’s interning at a gallery called Dieu Donné and thinking about going to business school. And I, Alex Sonnenblick, have finally returned to Denver after a year of traveling around the globe for solids control and waste management work for on-site rig operations. When I’m not working, you can most likely find me up in Breckenridge skiing. Happy Spring! (But, keep praying for more snow!) — Alexandra Sonnenblick (

RMS XX Joe Coplan was living in Seattle working at a rock climbing gym, but he recently moved to Texas where he enjoys warm weather and is training for a new job. Roz Brokaw graduated from Colorado College last May alongside nine other RMS XX alumni! She is currently a teaching fellow at the Alzar School, a high school semester program based out of Idaho. She will soon be spending six weeks in Chile with the kids kayaking, backpacking, and living with host families. Lizzie Beale graduated from the University of Alabama and lives in Nashville, TN, working on an urban farm, bar tending, and researching environmental internships. She hopes to live abroad next year, before applying to grad schools for Natural Resource Management. Ben Sandalow graduated

from Colorado College, went to India for a while, and now lives in Bozeman, Montana. Katie Fellows is a senior at Colorado College studying anthropology. After graduation, she’ll take a couple more classes and then will apply to nursing school. Liz Flynn moved to Chicago in November and hopes to see Cayla Marvil soon! She is writing for a political startup and consulting for a healthcare company, or otherwise trying to find opportunities in the freelance world. Cayla is completing an associate degree in brewing technology. She's moving to Cambridge, MA after school with plans to start a microbrewery and bar with college friends. Hopefully it'll be up and running by next January! Kari Siceloff lives in her hometown of Seattle while figuring out her next move. While applying to environmental internships around the country, she babysits, works for a children's clothing company, cooks and loves to cycle around the city. After graduating from Whitman in May, Lauren Maricle moved to Seattle. She's been spending her time working at a T-shirt screen printing shop and developing her art portfolio to apply to grad school. Haley Preston works as an intern in college counseling at Western Reserve Academy, a boarding school in Hudson, Ohio. She is also the Varsity Field Hockey Coach and gets to live in the dorm with 30 wonderful sophomore girls! Zoe Solomon lives in the little town of Aspen, Colorado working for an adaptive ski company. She helps people with disabilities get out to ski. Gabe Rosenstein finished work as a trekking guide in Nicaragua in December and is now bumming around Central America practicing Spanish and trying to sustain himself entirely on coconuts. Dan Eppstein lives in Bushwick, NY and works at Thuzio, a sports marketing start-up founded by Tiki Barber. He enjoys the city and the fast pace lifestyle it harbors. Emma Katz works at an animal hospital in NYC. She is very excited to be attending veterinary school in the fall! Alex Huber-Weiss teaches full time at an all-girls boarding school in Maryland. She loves her job, but plans to go travel within the next few years, and will hopefully get to see some HMI people. Katie Kornman just graduated. She lives in New York and is planning her next move, hoping to explore some new places. Kat Teter is in Denver working for the Colorado House of Representatives. In May, she will move back to Colorado Springs to manage Representative Pete Lee's re-election

the HMI


On average, 40% of HMI students receive financial aid which makes their participation in an HMI Semester, Summer Term, or High Peaks Adventure possible. Each and every year the HMI Fund provides dollars to help make an HMI experience available to every student excited about and deserving of a unique and transformational educational experience. Every contribution, small or large, makes a difference in providing financial aid and in supporting the talented faculty that make our programs run. Thank you all for your generosity and your faith in the mission and vision of HMI.


campaign, and then hopefully head on to law school. Matt Hogan teaches English in Shijiazhuang, China. He enjoys waking up to weather forecasts of 'smog,' playing real life Frogger in a lawless driving society, and manipulating the minds of the masses. He does not enjoy the Chinese mockery of ice cream. Andres Sainz is taking a chef course in Kansas City and will soon be moving to the Australian outback in hopes of finding some cool things that can kill people with one bite. Becca Joseph lives in Boston and is a member of Community HealthCorps. She works as the Youth Sports Coordinator at a community health center and plans to start medical school in the fall. Will Thompson, Heather Cabot, Charlotte Kaye, and David Scott all graduated from Colorado College and now live in Denver. Charlotte is a health policy fellow. Heather is an administrative assistant at Arts Street. Will and David live together and enjoy their new Crock-Pot and nightly episodes of Jeopardy. Joe Ali lives in Saint-Etienne, France teaching English. He enjoys two euro wine, French culture and baguettes. Kerry Sullivan is enjoying some time off after graduating from Green Mountain College last spring. She lives in Vermont and works part time at an art shop and is applying to physician assistant school this coming fall. Hanson Smith is a senior at Colorado College. While he is not working on his math thesis, he is trying to climb as much as possible. If all goes according to plan, he will end up in a math PhD program somewhere in the mountains next year. After graduating from Colorado College, Henry McKenna traveled across country by car and visited Minnesota, Chicago, Lexington, Baltimore, New York, St. Louis, Connecticut, Maine, and finally settled in Washington, DC. He is welcoming the freelance era by working in television and website production at Comcast SportsNet. Casey Lillis graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in political science and is back on the East Coast on the grind, spending spare time fly-fishing.

finishing up at Barnard, applying for teaching fellowships for next year, and trying to survive NYC's failures to deal with snow. She saw Liz Martin in December as she was filming a documentary and doing interviews in NYC. Sarah Bates is currently writing her thesis on Aristotle's philosophy, just started serving on Middlebury's Community Judicial Board, and is planning a backpacking trip for next year. Jack Lee is graduating in April as an English major, moving to CO, and pursuing spirituality with yoga and meditation practice which integrates skills he learned at HMI. Sarah Baranes interned with Spencer Petterson in Argentina at TerraCycle, is now back at Colgate finishing her senior year with Maddy Tennis, and has developed an interest in public health and will soon be applying to a Master’s program mixing two years of school and two years in the Peace Corps. Maddy has been rolling around with Baranes eating ramen and grilled cheese. She wants to become a professional cuddler but her parents don't like the sound of that. Libby Fones spent half of last summer teaching kids in rural Oregon about science and the environment and the other half doing Lyme disease research in Texas. She'll be graduating from Whitman this May with a degree in Environmental Studies-Biology, and will return to HMI this summer as a Wilderness & Residential Life intern. Clara Bicher went on a dinosaur dig this summer

— Henry McKenna (

RMS XXII Adrian Pforzheimer is enjoying senior spring, playing a lot of Ultimate, working as an EMT, and climbing mountains when he can. Maddie Pantalena is

24 | HMI Spring 2014

Tom Erdman, Chris Duda, and Seton Talty (RMS XXII) navigate Mt. Sherman during the 15-Year Anniversary

in Wyoming where she uncovered a Cretaceous Hadrosaur. She went ski touring in Revelstoke, British Columbia; she finally got boot heaters, so no more deltas in self-care on expeditions! Chester Lindley is currently completing his senior capstone on the effects of bycatch reduction devices on blue crab catch in North Carolina. He plans to continue his work in marine fishery research and if that does not work, he's loading his car with surfboards and traveling the West Coast. Tara Moriarty spent one month at the Army ROTC training Leader Development and Assessment Course where she shadowed a 1st Lieutenant in an Apache Helicopter Unit in Korea. She is about to graduate with a double major in Linguistics and German, officially be a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, and will be heading to a National Guard Military Intelligence Unit in Indiana. She just got engaged in December! Conant Neville was abroad in Kenya last spring, which was inexplicably fantastic. He spent this past summer at St. Lawrence working for North Country Public Radio and doing a lot of hiking, climbing, and fly fishing in the Adirondacks. He will graduate in May with a degree in Government and African Studies and will be guiding in Skagway, Alaska this summer. Emma Rouse is the captain for her Ultimate Frisbee team and is on three campus committees: the Mental Health Committee, the Campus Safety and Security Committee, and the search committee for the new director of the health center. She will spend this summer in Quetzaltenango working with Somos Hermanos, a public health and Spanish language immersion program. Mackenzie Naert is returning to Yale after being abroad in Kenya studying health and human rights. This summer she will research diabetes among the indigenous population in Panama and then will be in NYC at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. While working for The Mission Continues in New York for the summer, Tyler Nimick was lucky to catch up with Clara Bicher, Mackenzie Naert, Jeff OliverSmith and Chester Lindley. He enjoys playing squash and doing his best to graduate from Brown on time, and hopes to spend some time in Boston this summer before going to Navy Officer Candidate School next fall. Parker Watson is graduating from the University of Denver with a BS in Computer Science and will continue his graduate education for an MBA. Nancy Conolly has just returned to Boston University after spending four months studying abroad in Sydney, Australia

Fall in Buenos Aires – Kevin Lewis, Spencer Petterson, and Seton Talty (RMS XXII) where she snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef and went skydiving. Charlotte Zelle is graduating from Middlebury College this spring with a joint Sociology/Psychology major. She is returning to Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in the Hero's Journey program this summer, a wilderness program that focuses on empowerment for 16-18 year olds with chronic illnesses. Avery Kernan enjoys the Colorado sunshine at CC while she writes her senior thesis for sociology and works towards a minor in education. She has one more semester at CC next fall and will be spending a lot of time in the Colorado Springs public schools. Kevin Lewis spent six months this year studying in Montevideo, Uruguay, learning to Tango. He will start at Northwestern's Medical School in August and looks forward to competing in Ballroom and Latin dancing with David Cutler-Kruz. David is at Carleton studying Physics. He joined the Competitive Latin and Ballroom dance team, and spent this past summer leading ice climbing, backpacking, whitewater rafting, and

Maddy Pitkin and Maggie Harwood (RMS XXIV) meet up while abroad in Spain

sea kayaking trips in Southeast Alaska. Kirk Seaman will either be working for an oil company or flying for the Navy after graduating in June. Susannah Conway is loving life in Colorado! She looks forward to another summer at camp and then her last year at CC next fall. She loved seeing so many XXII-ers at the 15-Year Anniversary and can't wait until the next reunion. As for me, Lucy Williams, I am in my last semester and am working nonstop to finish my senior capstone and final portfolio for printmaking, while hanging with my dog Oliver. I am excited to return to camp this summer and hopefully teach abroad next fall. — Lucy Williams (

RMS XXIV Carla (GNARLA) Frankenbach is hanging out under the sun in California, playing Frisbee and making films. She will be in LA through the summer, if anyone needs a place to crash! Also in the Golden state, Jennie Saget lives in San Luis Obispo, and is going to massage school—not surprising considering her ever-so-popular AMX yoga classes that always ended in massage trains. Hannah Weiss is on the West Coast as well, biking on the 101 with four crazy girls and sharing a house with five girls at Pitzer. For the spring, Hannah will be studying abroad in Santiago, Chile. Hannah was also lucky enough to meet up with all of the RMS XXIV apprenti in Seattle! Ellie Turner is living it up in Montana, staying in school, ski patrolling in the winter, raft guiding in the summer and hanging out with her cat. Our CC crew is spending their time adventuring—as expected. Virginia

(BAVA) Hill was in Mongolia for her fall semester, living with nomads, eating sheep heart, riding camels and doing a variety of ridiculously cool things. Becca Marks spent her first semester in Ecuador studying ecology and now that she's back at CC, she’s skiing as much as she can. Ari Solomon is a junior majoring in Environmental Science and thinking about adopting a dog. Maggie Harwood and Maddy Pitkin spent their fall semester abroad together in Barcelona, Spain. Maddy traveled to 13 different countries (including Morocco—adding a new continent to her list!) and is now getting into the groove of things back at CC and starting up lacrosse season. Maggie is studying psych and education while playing on the tennis team and skiing on weekends. Sam Freidman is also at CC skiing a lot and majoring in Elementary Education. He is often spotted around campus with other HMI alums. Maeve O’Connor-Bethune spent last summer interning at a group home for teens who are in need of educational and therapeutic support in Yonkers, NY. She loves CC but was excited to spend the spring semester in Northern Ireland focusing on creating democracy and social change to promote recovery from their history. She is interning at a local organization and traveling all over the country. Our last (but never least) CC alum, Tom Crandall declared a Film and New Media Studies Major. He is trying to motivate himself to apply to a semester in China for next year. Some of his accomplishments this year include landing his first backflip on skis and watching 12 Hitchcock movies in a block. Jack Pantalena is excited for his brother Max (Semester XXVIII) to follow in his footsteps again and join him at SMU next year. Jack will be interning at Silicon Labs this summer in Austin. Over in New Orleans, Brandon Kaplan interned at a film studio where American Horror Story + Dawn of the Planet of the Apes were housed. He also wrote his first film score for the 48 Hour Film Project as a part of the team from the studio! On top of all that, he recently had his first performance of a piece he composed. Laura Rozier is a junior at Northwestern majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology. She’s excited to spend her second summer in Evanston working as an intern for Northwestern Law's Center on Wrongful Convictions and as a sailing instructor for the Sailing Center on campus. Tom Erdmann is a junior at the


University of Michigan, where he experiences the same long winters he enjoyed in Leadville. He'll spend the summer in San Francisco as a software engineer. For more information on Tom’s recent achievements, Google “Tom Erdmann University of Michigan impressive students”. This past summer, Amy Domanico studied abroad in Barcelona. She was able to take classes relevant to her major in Computer Science while using her Spanish skills (thanks Chewie!) and traveling around different countries like England, the Czech Republic, and Italy. Max Braun spent his fall semester at the University of Georgia, pursuing a degree in Finance and Spanish. He is now living abroad in Vienna, Austria studying finance. Skiing with Austrians has been a humbling experience. Gillian Dobbin is in her second year at Rollins College in Florida, and loving every second of it. She is studying Elementary Education with a minor in Communication and Social Entrepreneurship. Gillian is planning on studying abroad in Ireland next fall. Up in Annapolis, Maryland, Jordan Sinclair Lovinger is still at St. John's College studying Mathematics and Philosophy. He is also working as a correspondent in the South Africa division in Voice of America. In the spring he will commence work on an essay which will center around the connection between humor and malice in Don Quixote. Max Rosen is still double majoring in Criminology and Sociology at Penn State University, but he is currently studying abroad at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Max will be interning at a consulting group on Capitol Hill in DC this summer. Our little Bucknell crew all made it to the Anniversary this summer, and are now each on their own adventures. Andrew Spina is no longer in ROTC but has recently joined a Frat. He is also looking for a special someone (maybe try Tinder, Friendsy, etc?). Will Smart was fortunate enough to spend a month in Thailand training with US and Thai Special Forces. His HMI experience has had such an amazing influence on his leadership skills and helped him to succeed in ROTC at Bucknell. After spending the summer working for HMI and the fall semester on campus at Bucknell, Chris Duda is studying in Otago, New Zealand. Ariana King is keeping herself very busy at Mount Holyoke, studying Africana Studies with a concentration in Urban Education Policy. Ariana is also a part of the theater department and frequently involved with the Association of

26 | HMI Spring 2014

Pan African Unity. Michaela Tepler lead backpacking trips for teenagers on the coast of Maine this past summer. She is studying abroad in Copenhagen and will be interning at the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation this coming summer. Over in the Ocean State, Sydney Blattman is back at Brown taking biochemistry classes and working in a lab after her fall semester studying community health and living with host families in Infia, Vietnam and South Africa. Pamela Stegar is enjoying her junior year at Boston College; she joined a church and was baptized and is really looking forward to summer and warmer weather! Corey Sobotka is super excited to be back at Weslyan after he spent his fall semester helping start a gear shop in Brooklyn. Corey is trying to plan a hiking trip in Colorado for spring break. At Skidmore, Van MacDonald is studying philosophy and hoping to go abroad to Paris for the summer. This past summer, Sophie Wheelock worked in Durban, South Africa with several nonprofit organizations. She swam in shark-infested waters, ran around looking for elephants, and worked with the International Centre on Nonviolence. Now she is in Paris for the semester eating 3 baguettes a day! Sam Peterson plans to marry Maggie in the Summer of 2018 (it’s unclear is this is a mutual decision or a romantic proposal, but it could be a first for the HMI Newsletter)! Sam is looking to study abroad next spring ‘somewhere crazy’ and will be in his hometown of Newport, Rhode Island, this summer renting a house with Hobart friends. Laura (Simba) Donaldson is an English & art double major at Hamilton and babysits for a local family. Simba will be interning at Studio in a School in NYC this summer, which works to provide art programs to underserved public schools. A little further upstate in Canton, NY, Colin Lilis is studying Sociology at St. Lawrence. He works at the climbing wall, as a guide, and lives at the Java Barn, a student run music venue. Connor Laird spent this winter kayaking in Mexico again. This semester he is studying at Cardiff University in Wales and enjoys exploring the UK. Seton Talty is in the midst of a year abroad studying at ORT University in Montevideo, Uruguay. She is studying International and Global studies, focusing in Latin America and Geography and will be interning at a law firm during her spring semester. When Seton gets home this summer, she will work as a lifeguard in Southampton, NY. Clark Sulloway has been studying

at UMaine, working on his Civil Engineering degree. Molly Knox was at Bowdoin last semester, studying Art History. She is now in Madrid, Spain this semester and loving it! Charlotte Smilow is majoring in math and music but is looking toward grad school for her LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) degree. With regrets, Mccabe Sommers declined to comment, Willy Kerber was too busy scaling mountains to respond, and Kate Mullaney seems to have gone off the radar. Everyone sends their love to their XXIV community and the greater HMI community! — Seton Talty (

RMS XXVI Rachel Dahan has recently discovered the wonderful world of illustration, and is currently in her first term at Art Center College of Design! She is very excited to pursue a career based on storytelling and entertainment, and still finds time to hike every now and then. Ben (SunShine) Gardner is studying adventure-based environmental education at Unity College in Maine, where he has been Nordic skiing and dealing with the sporadic snow conditions. This summer, he will be leading canoe trips for Widjiwagan. Anna DiPaola is continuing her major in Biology at UC San Diego, working in a lab studying bee behavior, and rock climbing as much as possible. Jill Gardiner is at Skidmore College, where she also climbs as much as possible, aka when she's not too tired from waking up at 5 am for crew practice. Aedhan Loomis is studying mechanical engineering, and was happy to have another great New Year's Eve in Vermont with Sam Fox, Scott Berkley, Charles Nunziato, Mary Loomis, Haley Abbott, and Maddie Peltz. After completing a marathon in the fall, Mariah Foley is at the University of Denver, where she founded a student organization called "Students for Sustainable Food." Meanwhile, Jonah Rosenblum is balling out at Marlboro College. Marisa Thompson is at Notre Dame studying Electrical Engineering, where she will also spend her summer working as a music mentor; she still says "y'all" like a champion. In light of the recent polar vortex, Daly Montgomery is overjoyed with her decision to go to school in California, where she has not had to shovel snow once. She is studying aeronautics and astronautics

and plays on the Stanford Women's Rugby team. Alex Garner has just finished his first semester at Colorado College. He loves being back in Colorado, is skiing as much as possible, and will work as an intern in an aquarium in Florida this summer. Also at CC, Barrett Donovan is studying environmental science and Spanish, and looks forward to spending another summer at Sanborn Western Camp. Nina Murray has also joined the CC coalition and loves it; she is getting leader trained by the ORC and is excited to go backpacking over spring break. She also received a surprise visit from Julia Riback, who is now a sophomore at Bates and will major in math and engineering with a minor in education. She's looking forward to leading backpacking trips in the Adirondacks this summer. After a great year off, Mary Loomis started at the University of Vermont where she is double majoring in environmental studies and education. Unsurprisingly, she is very involved in the outing club, and is training for her first half marathon with Genevieve Meller and Emy Takinami (RMS XXV). In recent months, Scott Berkley has experienced one trip to Walden Pond with Nina Murray, two road trips with Mary Loomis, three conversations about postmodernism with Charles Nunziato, four days of skiing with Aedhan Loomis, and five winter runs with Erinn Geyer. Sam Fox (who is still happily with George) has been surviving her 6 month internship by taking advantage of these crazy south northeastern snow days. She has seen a bit of Mary Loomis and Scott Berkley this winter for some skiing and running in Vermont, which has definitely been this winter's highlight. — Jill Gardiner (

Semester XXVIII MEGAN KONEN is busy between her sorority, Phi Mu, her involvement as the Alumni Relations Chair and participation in Florida State University's Flying High Circus. She is in a human jump rope act called quartet adagio and is working towards a double major in history and education. LILY FISHLEDER went on a Voyageur Outward Bound dog sledding trip over winter break and is highly involved in her school's outdoor education program. She is teaching an indoor rock climbing class and taking an outdoor rock instructing class, and is Vice President of Nominations at Earlham. Rosa

Shipley is at Kenyon College, reading a whole lot of books and trying to explore the elusive Ohio wilderness as much as possible. She is involved with the student-run Arts and Music Gallery, the outdoors club, the literary magazine, and she spends a lot of time on the student-run farm. ELI DAVIS is a film and television major at University of Vermont with Rebecca Roman. He enjoys skiing every weekend and has recently joined the debate team. Rebecca is layering up in freezing Burlington. She has officially declared her major in environmental science, and is very excited. EMILY LUCAS loves Colorado College, and is hopefully going to be in Costa Rica this summer to work with sea turtles. Max Pantalena is at Southern Methodist University and plans to lifeguard this summer. Andrea Silvestri is enjoying her first year at Green Mountain College in Vermont. She was an orientation leader this spring and is working to be a leader for her school's outing club. This summer she will return as a counselor at Wavus Camp for Girls in Maine. Alexa Adams made the Bates soccer team, which kept her busy this fall. She is also in the Big Siblings/Little Siblings mentorship program at school. She is soaking up the liberal arts lifestyle and is interested in studying Anthropology and Biology. Nolan Bishop is working at Geelong Grammar School's Outdoor Education program in Victoria, Australia until July, and touring New Zealand and Tasmania every spare moment he has. While his family is moving to San Francisco in June, Nolan is stoked to start at Whitman in the fall. Grace Fowler is at Colby College and plans on studying environmental studies and education. She joined the rugby team and took a fly fishing class for JanPlan where she got to fish in California for a week. Recently, she’s been leading telemark clinics for the Outing Club. Toni Jonas-Silver finished her bike

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The High Mountain Institute (HMI) is an academic and wilderness semester school for high school juniors, accredited by the Association of Colorado Independent Schools. We offer a 4-month long HMI Semester each fall and spring, a 6-week Summer Term, and a 5-month apprenticeship in traditional and outdoor education for recent college graduates. We also offer a 2-week summer program for 7th & 8th graders, the High Peaks Adventure. Finally, HMI offers wilderness medicine courses, avalanche awareness training,

Adam Sodano and Arthur Whitehead (Semester XXVIII) climbing in Patagonia on their gap year

and provides custom programs for select schools and programs.


trip from Bellingham to San Diego just before Thanksgiving. Since then, she’s been living in Olympia working at a restaurant and trying to paint. Toni will be working with Rosa at Camp Nor’wester this summer. Alex King is at Tufts University and is thinking of studying Engineering Psychology and Computer Science. He plays Ultimate Frisbee and is also involved at the campus radio station, writing features and concert reviews for their website. Arthur Whitehead has been traveling around Patagonia for the past 3 months with Adam Sodano. They’ve been hiking a lot, and Arthur will be running the 4 Refugios Ultra Marathon in Argentina next month, before traveling in Bolivia and Peru until June. After splitting with Arthur, Adam will go to carnival in Brazil and then travel to Israel. Finally, he will travel in the States before returning to camp. Luc Mosely loves physics at Imperial College (where he just transferred to the Theoretical Physics department). He climbs every week at the local gym in London, and enjoys the city’s endless options. Hannah Glosser is currently a freshman at CC! Eliza Hoffman is a freshman at Dartmouth, where she is studying engineering, working in an ice research lab and is coxswain for the Men's Lightweight Crew team. She's been tele skiing as much as possible and has class with someone that wears a Melenzana. — Rosa Shipley (

Semester XXX Carl Anderson is honing his teaching

skills this winter. He spends Saturdays in the mountains working as a ski instructor and looking for opportunities to let his goofiness shine. He anticipates the arrival of summer when he will work at Camp Deerhorn in Wisconsin as a wrangler. David Bai is having a fun senior year and looks forward to playing Ultimate in the spring. He will be going to Colorado College next fall. Julia Borges joined the dance team at The Masters School, and is the president of Muse, one of her school’s dance clubs. She discovered a new love for art history and chocolate. Alex Cherry works as a ski instructor in Vermont and appreciates all of the perks of being a senior. Victoria Garner took the fall semester off and had an internship with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D, New York). She just started school at Bard College at Simon's Rock. Katie Goodman was the captain of her field hockey team this fall, and she could not help but lead her team to countless victories. She misses all of her XXX soul mates. At Pingry School, Rabia Khan takes part in the Student Diversity Leadership Club and ECLC, a caring community for special needs children and adults. She is excited for her ISP (Independent Study Project) where she will follow a global health professor in his research of HIV and AIDS. Katie Klein completed her first semester of college at Saint Lawrence University. She played on Saint Lawrence’s field hockey team and had a fun season! Jackie Kumble’s varsity soccer team won its league championship this past

Semester XXX gets together for New Year's in Pittsburgh

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fall, the first time in over twenty years! This spring she will play on the varsity lacrosse team. Her favorite activity, however, is spending time with her HMI friends. Rory Lowe is skiing cross-country and wants to get a job on a farm this spring. He misses all of his HMI friends and enjoys having ice cream with them! Jesse Metzger is finishing up a successful wrestling season. He is preparing for a 3-week trip to Spain with his school's Spanish exchange program. He is also working with fellow XXX member Matt Thacker to start an intense whitewater kayak club at his school. Thacker has been REALLY busy this fall applying to four whole schools! He works at a ski shop in Newton and is doing his best to fully embrace his senioritis this spring. Gretchen O’Brien played on her varsity basketball team. She also enjoys serving her community, working with the National Charity League and Habitat for Humanity. Next year she will be leaving the Lone Star State and venturing north to Colby College. Halle Payne is having a fantastic year at the Lovett School. This spring she will intern at a music studio in Atlanta for her senior project. She also makes fabulous music videos with her sister, Kendall. Barlow Peelle Jr. reports that his hockey season went well, and he had a marvelous time out on the ice. He ventures up to Vermont on the weekends where he zooms down the slopes. Griffin Peer is busy chilling at The Fieldston School in Riverdale, New York. This past summer, Emily Smart was selected to be the Drum Major for the Chatham High School Marching Band. It was her first major leadership position, and the skills she learned from HMI certainly influenced her. She will be attending Elon University this coming August. Christian Soares is thrilled because his soccer team won districts! Dale STorti has been working a lot at his climbing gym and is busy planning a climbing trip on the West Coast for next fall. He is looking forward to the spring when he can spend more time climbing outside and bird watching. Kenzie Spooner is excited to relax a bit second semester. Over the summer, Kenzie hopes to work at an outdoor camp in Portland. She was accepted at Whitman College along with the Katie Darrow! Maddie Taylor is proud of her triumphant fall soccer season at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburg. She recently returned to her telemark skis for a mini backcountry expedition at Holiday Valley Mountain Resort in New York. Sam Usher

founders fund Thank you for supporting HMI and helping us grow the HMI Endowment! With your help, the Founders Fund exceeded our campaign goal to raise over $2 million and will continue to grow in years to come. We are grateful for the unhesitating support of many, and the affirmation that HMI is and will continue to be a unique and transformative educational experience. We, too, know that HMI has a vibrant future ahead, and we look forward to continuing to share our journey with you.

is busy mastering the songs, lines, and dance numbers for his school’s production of A Chorus Line. He is working on his senior art show, which is centered on the theme of identity. Mel Variano spent this past summer on an Overland hiking trip in Alaska. At Hackley she is making masterpieces for her AP Art class and rock climbing like a pro! She will attend Bates in the fall. Sophie Wasniewski is working on perfecting her backhand on the tennis court and is excited for her tennis season to start at Dana Hall. Sophie’s obsession with animals led to an internship at an animal shelter and will serve as the basis for her senior project. She is especially excited for the warm weather so she can go whale watching again and study the whales’ pod structures! — Jacqueline Kumble (

Summer Term 2011 Josh Lawrence works as a Resident Assistant at the University of Richmond. Next fall he is hoping to attend a studying abroad program at the University or Otago located in New Zealand. Lars Robinson is close to resuming his Plebe year at West Point. Through all the olive drab and camo, he is still finding time for tie-dye and crazy bowling. Jack Thalmann is majoring in business at SMU and has recently been initiated as a new member of a fraternity. Olivia Trim is a freshman at Quest University in Canada. She has big travel plans for Europe this summer, was recently accepted to an exchange to Wales in the spring of 2014. She has been climbing

and snowboarding a ton. Sophie Paci is a sophomore at Yale University and recently declared psychology as her major. She will lead backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail for freshmen in August. Her co-leader is HMI Alum, Mackenzie Naert (RMS 22) who also happens to be her big sister in her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. Emmett Barr is a freshman at Allegheny University where he continues to run. Will Beck is now a freshman at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, where he spends most of his time outdoors. Scout Sorcic is back at school in Lake Tahoe after taking the semester off to travel and ski. She will head back to Leadville this summer to work with HPA as the Instructor-in-Training. She had a reunion with Olivia this summer after her NOLS course. Gracen Evall finished high school and worked as an assistant teacher and camp counselor last summer. She started at Vassar College this fall! Martin Parian is currently attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, where he is majoring in neuroscience. He is getting prepared for an internship at W.P. Carey over the summer. Will Klein is a sophomore at UVM where he is majoring in geology, after switching from mechanical engineering. Sheridan Jeffrey started her freshman year at Howard University as a Civil Engineer. The people and new experiences has her excited for the future. While we didn’t hear back from Micah Alwood, Jen Nguyen, Caroline Landy, and Emily Ripple we wish them well in their endeavors for the upcoming year. As for Jessica Frankel, there has not been one day where at least one of us is thinking about her, but we are

hoping she is eating frosting and making people laugh like she always did. As for myself, Ceci Morales, I am currently a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University where I hope to pursue a double major in mechanical and biomedical engineering with a minor in robotics. This past semester I was lucky to receive a visit from Emmett Barr and I hope I have the opportunity to see many of you soon. — Ceci Morales (

Summer Term 2012 Ariana Salazar is the proud president of Dartmouth China Care, plays oboe in the chamber orchestra, and does computer programming for The Dandelion Project. In her free time, she goes on kayaking trips in the area and cooks delicious food at the local homeless shelter. Evan Leslie is studying, sledding up a storm, and starting an alpine club at Franklin College in Switzerland. Tammy Gu is thrilled to have seen a bunch of Summer Term 2012-ers a few months ago in New York City! She is starting a composting project at school, putting together her senior concert at her music school, and was recently published in her school’s language magazine. During May, Tammy will be working with a criminal defense lawyer in Colorado. Natalie Dunn got her Wilderness First Responder certification and is planning on getting her Wilderness EMT certification this summer. Besides that, she is fighting senioritis and working as a park kid at her local mountain. She’s eagerly looking forward to spending the next four years with Jack Moseley at Colorado College! Mary


Grant's Recipe High Mountain Cornbread 1 cup all purpose flour

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 cup cornmeal

2 large eggs, beaten

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 425 F Grease an 8x8 baking pan Lightly beat the eggs. Add the milk, oil, and sugar. Add all of the dry ingredients and mix well. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Grant Qamar joined us in January 2014 as the Cook & Kitchen Manager. Welcome Grant! Frances White misses Oklahoma of course, but loves Washington and Lee. She is fully recovered from her fifth concussion, and is working at a camp this summer, before leading a freshman orientation hiking trip in the fall. Gaby Papper is looking forward to spending the next four years at Bowdoin with Philip Kiefer. She just finished playing her last season of varsity field hockey as the starting forward, and has begun rock climbing in New York City. She spends her extracurricular time tutoring, and makes sure to wear her Melanzana “on the weekly!” Caroline Kanner is a proud survivor of her first East Coast winter. She spends most of her time perched at her favorite desk in her favorite library, but when she isn’t there, she can be found giving tours at the Yale Center for British Art or broadcasting over the airwaves for WYBCx Yale radio. Jonathan AVILa had

30 | HMI Spring 2014

a wonderful wrestling season this year, and is looking forward to a relaxing final semester of high school. He is a peer leader for the 9th graders, and looks forward to being a freshman again himself next year at the University of Pennsylvania. — Caroline Kanner (

Summer Term 2013 Jack Meister hadn’t had enough of the ‘Rado as he went straight to Steamboat once Summer Term ended. While junior year has been a total monster, Jack has spent copious time skiing at both Steamboat and Verbier, in Switzerland. Gabe Rosenblum really didn’t get enough of HMI, returning for the Spring Semester after a stellar football season. He is incredibly excited to be back at HMI. Teata Nanpooa is taking full advantage

of the wilderness around her, having joined her school’s outdoor program. Recently she went backpacking on Mount Baker where she built an igloo. She is continuing to dominate on the Ultimate Frisbee field. Reesa Hylton has been taking film-making classes at The Jacob Burns Film Center Media Lab and is working on her first short film. Reesa recently wrote an article about her experience at HMI for her school’s newspaper. Sam Vogel continues to give Jake Gyllenhaal a run for his money having starred in the musical Lucky Stiff in which he played the main character’s deceased uncle. His role required him to be pushed around in a wheelchair. Lanise Starnes has ditched any need for a wheelchair having cast off her injury and reeled in an ability to predict the weather! She lives in Georgia, plays two sports, participates in school clubs and looks forward to attending a summer program in Alabama. While her rowing season was unfortunately docked by a knee injury Emlyn Knox has applied to abroad programs in the hope of going to Japan during the summer. Jackie Labelle is living life at a full sprint, participating in cross country, gymnastics, marching band and pole vault. She has filled her spare time with her new found passion for yoga. Amalyah Leader has danced her way into the pre-professional flamenco company, Andanza Flamenca. Don’t worry she’s still in school, where she has started an Outdoors Club. Amalyah has also gotten into Smith College. On the college note, Sophie Faxon was admitted into Elon University and their Gap Semester Program where she will kick off her college experience with a NOLS trip, service work and living in Costa Rica. Sophie has yet to begun taking Spanish lessons. David Silverman qualified for the Eastern Championship swim meet. His second app is about to hit the AppStore. Speaking of applications, Nathaniel Wiener got into college! He is wicked excited to attend Middlebury College in the fall once he finishes up senior year at Colombia Grammar & Preparatory. There he has participated in the school’s theater program, being cast in Almost, Maine. Not only has Adam Harb starred in plays, he has written and directed the romantic comedy, Paradise Missed which is about a young man who is dating a demon in a post-rapture world, and his very disapproving mother. On top of all this, Adam’s A Capella group, competed in the International Championships in Portland, Oregon. Also with a full plate,

Esme Chant’s time has been filled with soccer, model bridge building, computer programming, 5am sledding and school work. She went backpacking in India during Spring Break! In between juggling school and work at a pottery studio Sofia Penaylillo started an amazing new project called Humans of Boulder. She talks to strangers about their life stories and photographs them. You can like the project’s page on Facebook. Sophie Demoulas has been cranking through junior year and plans to take a four week backpacking trip to Senegal this summer. Also busting through eleventh grade is David Cao. While continuing to tickle the ivories, David has learned to play the trumpet and plays for Concord Academy’s jazz band. George DeLana has had a busy year and looks forward to a relaxing summer. Lindsay Dugan received the Academic Excellence Award from St. Johnsbury Academy. She is certified in Mechanical Safety and Mechanical Pollution Prevention. While qualifying for horseback riding regionals, Jackie Tyson has been galloping through junior year and all the work that comes with it. Jackie took awesome trips to Chicago and Pennsylvania to visit her sisters. Jackie also went to Vermont with Karlea Peterson, who is wrapping up senior year at Taft and rehabbing her MCL after a ski race accident. Although she is bummed about not being able to finish her last season, Karlea realizes that she needs to be within an hour of the slopes next year. Having nixed her Crunch Bar habit, Stephanie Reyes is working at an art gallery and preparing for college. She is still writing and playing music with GROOVY (keep an eye out for the demo). While she has not returned to the backcountry, Stephanie has enjoyed “urban hiking” through the streets of New York City. — Sophie Faxon (

Apprentices Tina Eide (II) lives in Seattle and is very close to being a board certified anesthesiologist. Her new job starts in August so for now she has a little time to play with Harlan and India, her son and daughter who are now 8 and 6, respectively. They take a trip to somewhere amazing in Washington every summer- last summer it was a week of canoeing on Ross Lake and this summer they may do a piece of the Wonderland trail which circumnavigates Mount Rainier.

Sequoia Bowan (XII) still lives and works In Colorado, coordinating the Outdoor Program for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. His family just welcomed newborn twins to the world. Luca Muir Bowan & Soleil Louise Bowan are doing wonderful. His 3 year old, Sage, is happy to have a new brother and sister.Jessica Fuller (XVI) works backpacking and sea kayaking courses for NOLS all around the West. She was recently in Oregon and had the pleasure of randomly and wonderfully having dinner with John MacKinnon and Emily Chant, who she had not seen since the last day of RMS XVI. Nico Arsenault also recently sent her two hilarious and awesome music videos starring Seth Browers and himself. And the Winter Olympics brought back many fond memories of the apprentices watching hockey and speed skating at Rosa's back in in 2006 while students had study hall. Lola Rodden (XVII) graduated Georgia State University nursing in December. In March she started a new job on a cardiac ICU at Emory University Hospital, Atlanta! Laura Thomas (XIX) spent last summer working as a wilderness guide in Alaska and currently works in New Zealand as an Adventure Tour guide. Kate Braemer (XX) has been the Director of Camp Garrett at the Garrett Williamson Foundation for 1.5 years and is now also Director of Marketing and Development. She just began a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership at LaSalle University in Philly. Ben Sachs-Hamilton (XXIII) has a new job at the co-op where he lives, looking after the other residents, making sure chores get done, etc. It reminds him of being an apprentice at HMI! Apprentices from Semester XXIV are still just as obsessed with each other as when they resided in Cabin 5. Caroline Rex-Waller, Elise Hale-Case, Danny Wasserman, and Ande Reisman all live in Seattle and meet up often for quesadillas. Hannah Phillips and Rachel Shapiro live about 100 meters from each other in Burlington, VT. And Scotty Simontacchi? Still changing lives at Storm King school in NY. Elissa Brown (XXVI) is in Norway for the year on a Fulbright research grant, exploring how the Norwegian value of 'friluftsliv' ('open-air life') has influenced national pedagogy and how teachers can incorporate outdoor learning experiences into traditional education. Also, she’s started a global food photography project,, and

she encourages everybody to check it out and submit! Dave Clark-Barol (XXVII) has been working for HMI as an adjunct faculty as well as for NOLS and some independent schools in southern California. When he's not on a course he’s living the minivan life, trying to spend as much time as possible climbing in the desert or ski touring in the Tetons. After teaching in the north woods and traveling around Finland, Colette Meller (XXIX) settled into Minneapolis and works as a social researcher for a female marketing firm called Fusion Hill. While she hopes to keep adventuring, social research allows her to explore modern, granular narratives that she appreciated in the HMI classroom. She looks to move to Denver next year to live near her brother and the rocky mountain landscapes she grew to love at HMI. After three months of being an English substitute teacher, Eriks Rex (XXIX) decided to take the plunge in a different industry entirely: software. He’s still in it since the switch, so it must be a good fit. He works for HubSpot, a marketing software company, as a Senior Support Engineer. Otherwise, he’s working on a fun little mobile app called Tapbooty - play social games to earn rewards. In his spare time, he still goes for runs, climbs and lifts at a local gym, and read as many books as I did when he was an English teacher. Elle Emery (XXIX) is working on a MA in Educational Psychology while being a full-time classroom intern in a public school classroom in Denver through the Stanley British Primary Teacher Preparation Program. At the end of the program in May, she plans on moving back to the Tetons. Caroline Lowe (XXX) works for Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming as a cultural consultant and writer. Hilary Burt (XXX) lives in Jackson as well, and so they’ve gone skiing a few times together! Jack Fields (XXX) is building a house with his Uncle in Auburn, CA and getting excited for a summer of rock climbing. Johnny Russell (XXXI) is settling into Denver working for Health Warrior. Chia Bars are taking the Rocky Mountain region by storm, and he looks forward to the day when Butterfingers are replaced in the HMI ration by their Coconut Chia Bar. Kiersten Wilbur (XXXI) has been home in the chilly Alaskan winter, living in a cabin and keeping herself busy with Nordic skiing, yoga, and work as a salmon scientist. After venturing to Yellowstone to be a field instructor for the summer, she’s excited to start her Peace Corps adventure in South America this September!


HIGH MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE Post Office Box 970 Leadville, CO 80461 TEL 719-486-8200


HMI Program Calendar Register by calling 719-486-8200 x107 or by visiting Wilderness First Responder May 28 – June 6 $710/$910 (with lodging)

High Peaks Adventure June 29 – July 13 $3,375

HMI Summer Term

Lake County Backpacking Trip

June 23 – August 3 $8,950

July 21 – July 27 (call for details)

Contact us for more information about financial aid availability

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32 | HMI Spring 2013

HMI Spring 2014 Newsletter  
HMI Spring 2014 Newsletter