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Meet the staff of Colgate's Outdoor Education Program!


Abby Rowe
Director of Outdoor Education
Ben Oliver

Ben Oliver
Assistant Director and Group Facilitation Expert
Roxanne Benson

Roxanne Benson
Administrative Assistant

Trevor Kreznar
Interim Assistant Director

Student Staff

Kara Vadman

Kara Vadman '14
Kara Vadman, who hails from the sandy beaches of Southern California, left sunny L.A. to make it big in the village of Hamilton. Her favorite outdoor activities include sea kayaking, ice climbing, backpacking, and slacklining. When she is not hitting the trails or the water (liquid or frozen), you may find this geology major in the Ho Science Center analyzing the latest data from her Antarctic travels.
Sean Bjornsson

Sean Bjornsson ‘14
Growing up in Vermont Sean has been in love with the outdoors for a long time. He started out just backpacking and canoeing through Vermont and the Adirondacks, but since coming to Colgate and joining OE he now also love to white water kayak, rock climb, and sea kayak. No matter what he's doing, nothing beats spending a day with friends outside in the sunshine.
Alice Matlock

Alice Matlock '14
Alice first developed her love for the outdoors on the trails and rivers in her hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Since coming to Colgate, Alice has pursued a range of outdoor activities with Outdoor Education including rock climbing, kayaking, and of course, some good old hiking. She loves leading any trip that will get her outside with an enthusiastic group!
Josh Soloman

Josh Soloman '14
Josh is an avid outdoor athlete from Baltimore. When not setting routes at the climbing wall or dropping waterfalls in his whitewater kayak, you may find him crushing rocks in the Geology lab or at Basecamp planning his next outdoor trip.
Michelle Van Veen

Michelle Van Veen '14
Michelle was born and raised in the great state of Colorado. Michelle loves hiking through mud, shredding the gnar (skiing), playing in snow (including, but not limited to snowshoeing), cooking brownie scrambler, and playing with furry animals. Michelle finds playing games on trail quite enjoyable such as Two Truths and a Lie. Which is the lie?: She is fluent in Swedish, an avid Bruce Springsteen fan, and born with an extra toe.
Evan Chartier

Evan Chartier ‘14
Hailing from Oak Park Illinois, Evan Chartier is most likely to be found frolicking around with an uber-light backpack, or in the library. An enemy of all forms of skiing, socks, and hot drinks, he brings a minimalist philosophy along with him on his travels around the world and across the country. He particularly enjoys new gear, bouldering, team building, Colgate's new high ropes course, and sharing his love of the ultralight mindset.
Sarah Dickson

Sarah Dickson ‘14
Sarah is a junior Peace and Conflict Studies major from Wayne, PA. Her favorite outdoor activities include backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, wilderness napping, and hiking up the Colgate hill to the Coop to buy chicken tenders.
Alex Hyde

Alec Hyde ‘14
Always up for an adventure, Alec is an Ohioan that you would never guess grew up in Ohio. He developed a healthy obsession with the outdoors before coming to Colgate, which has only grown since joining OE. You can often find this cellular neuroscience major mountain biking down the single-track trails of the Colgate ski hill or whitewater kayaking on some of New York's meatiest rivers.
William Donohue

Paul Donohue ‘14
A Wilton, CT native, Paul is an English major and Biology minor who hopes to one day torment himself with medical school. When away from the books, he especially enjoys to alpine ski, Telemark, and mountain bike because he absolutely loves going fast. Paul prides himself on his witty sense of humor, his well-rounded outdoor skills, and most importantly, his incredibly soft yet uncharacteristically thick, voluminous hair. Recently, Paul could not name his favorite season but listed spring, summer, fall, and winter as contenders.
Alex Coffin

Alex Goodspeed Coffin ‘14
Alex is a native of Concord, Massachusetts. Whether its kayaking, downhill skiing, or crawling through caves, Alex puts the “good” and the “speed” in Goodspeed. If you’re lucky enough to spend any time in the wilderness with our freckly friend, you’ll witness the phenomenon of her hourly hiccups and spontaneous fits of laughter. Such charisma and an intense passion for life will leave you ready for your next pursuit of that flighty temptress, adventure.
Josh Riefler

Josh Riefler ‘14
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Josh is currently an Economics and Geology Double Major. Some of his favorite outdoor activities include backpacking, tree climbing, and caving. At Colgate, he is also a member of Class Council and coordinator of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.
Molly Heller

Molly Heller ‘14
Molly Davenport Heller hails from the shores of Swampscott, Massachusetts, yet she is a mountain woman at heart. Pursuing outdoor adventures with all the intensity of a crotchety bull, her favorite activities include sea kayaking, backpacking, mountain biking, and telemark skiing. Whether you’re admiring Molly’s famous Spongebob laugh, listening to her sing as she hikes behind you, or chilling in the outdoors with her, you’re bound to have a good time. This blue-eyed, beautiful animal will surely have you bewitched with her enthusiasm, spirit, and rugged yet graceful outdoorsieness.
Ellie McGuire

Eleanor McGuire ‘14
Ellie is a psychology major and geography minor from Baltimore, MD. She trained to be a staff member for Outdoor Education during her freshman year and loves to rock climb, tree climb, hike, cross country ski, kayak and PLAY OUTSIDE. Around campus, you can find her slacklining on a nice day, hanging out in the COVE office or enjoying one of the legendary coop veggie burgers with bacon. Little known facts: she plays cello, makes some mean guacamole and was raised by wolves.
Neal Barber

Neal Barber '14
Neal Barber is from Seattle, where he grew up skiing, backpacking and mountaineering in the Cascade Mountains. At Colgate University he has become an avid whitewater kayaker in the summer and Telemark skier in the winter. Wilderness adventure every fall has been a highlight of his experience in Outdoor Education.
Tess Kohler

Tess Kohler ’15
Tess is an Environmental Studies major from Traverse City, Michigan. She’s been camping since she discovered it was “hella dope” when she was nine and especially enjoys backpacking, canoeing, and looking up into the sky at night. She’s also on Colgate’s club figure skating team as well as a coach for the Learn to Skate program.
David  Johnson

David Johnson ‘15
David Andrew Johnson hails from the great state of Texas. He grew up hiking, fly-fishing, canoeing, and rock climbing the pristine hill country. He loves pie and large-mouth bass. He’s a history major who also enjoys creative writing.
Peter Fulton

Peter Fulton ‘15
Peter Fulton, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, loves nothing more than frolicking in the great outdoors. Whether climbing rocks, canoeing, or camping, he is sure to have a good time. When not outside, he enjoys shooting the breeze, watching a movie, or reading American literature. After graduating college, Peter has no plans; he would appreciate any suggestions.
Emily Holzman

Emily Holzman ‘15
Emily Holzman, class of 2015, was born and raised in West Hartford, CT. Growing up in New England Emily enjoyed the beautiful leaves in the Fall and hiking in the prestigious White Mountains of NH. Emily enjoys hiking, canoeing, climbing, XC skiing, and simply being outside in the beautiful area surrounding Colgate.
Myles Davis

Myles Davis ‘15
Myles Davis is a Jamaican from Brooklyn, New York. He is a Biology major, and is involved in Greek life, the Caribbean student association, and the crossword puzzle club. His favorite things to do outdoors are bouldering, slacklining, hiking, and letting his dreadlocks flow in the wind. He has the knack for sleeping in the most contorted positions and can freestyle rap like no other. 
Julie Wiese

Julie Wiese ‘15
Julie Wiese is originally from right outside Washington DC. Her favorite outdoor activities are scaling rocks and skiing to the dining hall on weekend mornings. In addition to leading Outdoor Ed trips, she’s a tutor at the Writing Center, works at the rock climbing wall (best job ever!), and she’s involved in a Greek letter organization. She’s a philosophy major and an economics minor.
Skylar Lindsay

Skylar Lindsay ‘15
Skylar is from Seattle, Washington. He is studying Neuroscience and Peace and Conflict Studies, and is also taking Arabic. He spends his time in the outdoors white water or sea kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, summiting the Himalayas, snowboard touring and eating. On campus, I'm in an environmental action group called Green Thumbs, working to promote sustainable living and local food, and in the Colgate Community Garden as a student intern. I also work as a research assistant in the Colgate Center for Language and the Brain and at our campus rock climbing gym. When I'm not doing all that, I enjoy crosswords, This American Life and pasta carbonara.
Sierra Grzybowski

Sierra Grzybowski ‘15
Sierra is from Allendale, New Jersey. She loves being outdoors and her favorite activities are whitewater kayaking and rock climbing. Before joining Colgate's Outdoor Education program she took a NOLS course in Utah that focused on whitewater.
Benjamin Cook

Benjamin Cook ‘15
Ben Cook is from Andover, Massachusetts and aside from being nice and crunchy, he is a tour guide, volunteers at the Hamilton Food Cupboard, a member of the ballroom dancing club, and a member of a Greek life. His favorite outdoor activities are canoe camping, lightweight backpacking, and ice climbing. He is a molecular biology major and a religion minor on the pre-med track.
Mikhaila Redovian

Mikhaila Redovian ‘15
Originally hailing from the beautiful and sunny Evergreen Colorado, Mik is an avid skier, hiker, and general adventurer. When not enjoying the outdoors, she is an active member of Poetically Minded (Colgate's poetry society), the Creative Writing Initiative (which focuses on getting elementary school children interested in writing) as well as being involved in Greek life. As a Geology and English double major, she loves to chat about anything ranging from Schist to Steinbeck!
Kevin Trippe

Kevin Trippe ‘15
Originally from Northern Michigan, Kevin’s favorite outdoor activities are skiing and rock climbing. He is a molecular biology major and education minor, and is currently earning a secondary school teaching certification. On campus, he also volunteers tutoring at the local middle school, teaches an SAT prep course weekly, and works as an assistant trainer for the Men's Rugby team.
Jenny Trahan

Genevieve Trahan '15
Jenny is from the village of Ames in the small town of Canajoharie, NY.  She was on the high school XC ski team and, since she really enjoyed it, still does a lot of XC skiing here at Colgate.  She also loves to do anything involving a canoe, whether it is whitewater canoeing or flat water canoe camping. She makes beautifully knitted hats and loves stargazing and sunsets and epic movie soundtracks.  She is majoring in Biology, and hopes to minor in either French or Linguistics.
Nick Knoke

Nick Knoke ‘16
Nick is a farm boy from Virginia who came to Colgate and realized his passion for the outdoors through Outdoor Education. While a rock climber at heart, Nick enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities from kayaking, to hiking, to snowboarding, to slack-lining. Nick is currently in the physics program and aspires to be an engineer, however he acknowledges that his interests are subject to frequent changes and nothing is written in stone.
Brett Christensen

Brett Christensen ‘16
Originally from Marilla, NY, Brett has continued his lifetime love of the outdoors through caving, whitewater paddling, and backpacking at Colgate. Brett is a biophysics and philosophy double major, allowing him appreciate nature in diverse ways. He is a member of Green Thumbs, Good Food Forum, and Wind Ensemble at Colgate, but his favorite way to spend time is through Outdoor Education!
Sierra Larson

Sierra Larson ‘16
Sierra joins us from Malvern, PA and loves spending time outdoors through backpacking, cross-country skiing, and waterskiing. She is involved with the Office of Admissions on campus, so she knows the ins and outs of Colgate. Of all her activities on and off campus, her favorite is leading students on physical education courses and Wilderness Adventure!
Ann Preston

Ann Preston ‘16
Annie Preston is an Environmental Studies major and Philosophy minor in the class of 2016 from Akron, Ohio. She likes rock climbing in the fall and telemark skiing in the winter.  Her favorite activities around campus include doing homework outside with friends, playing Club Field Hockey, eating in the Coop, and debating any environmental, social, or life issues. 
Niall Henderson

Niall Henderson ‘16
Growing up in the suburbia of Larchmont, NY Niall often found himself hanging out in the local park. Upon getting involved with Colgate's Outdoor Education program he has become a big fan of rock and ice climbing. Niall loves to break it down on the dance floor, and his favorite thing to eat at the Coop is Buffalo tenders and fries with an Orange Sunrise smoothie to top it all off.
Matt Katz

Matt Katz ‘15
Matt is from Westchester, New York right outside of the city. He loves outdoor activities because they are a great source of personal challenge and growth. He has a lot of experience backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, sea kayaking, and most importantly cooking outdoors.
Stanley Ezquerro

Stanley Ezquerro ’16
Stan has always had a love for the outdoors. His passion for being outdoors has taken him to spectacular places, from simple walks to the parks around his home in Lackawanna New York, to canoeing trips, to climbing mountains in the winter for no other reason than to view them with tea. He hopes to share this passion with others because there is no point in going to spectacular places and doing amazing things unless others are there to experience what makes the backcountry so awe inspiring.
Brendan Sheehan

Brendan Sheehan ‘16
Brendan is from Dover, MA, and is studying physics at Colgate. He enjoys skiing of all types and can often be found where there is snow. During the warmer months, he often hikes in the White Mountains in NH and the Adirondacks in NY.
Tom Hanrahan

Tom Hanrahan ‘16
My name is Tom Hanrahan! I'm in the Class of 2016. I'm from northern New Jersey and during high school, I acted and was an Eagle Scout. I plan on being an English major and my favorite outdoor activities are backpacking and rock climbing. Fun facts: one time, I got stuck in France because a volcano in Iceland exploded, and I hate onions.
Hunter Robertson

Hunter Robertson ‘16
Joining us from Seattle, Washington, Hunter has always enjoyed an active, outdoor lifestyle. On campus, Hunter can often be found fly-fishing on Taylor Lake, rock climbing in Colgate's indoor rock-climbing gym, and slack lining on the academic quad between classes. Outside of instructing for Outdoor Education, Hunter indulges a love of music, proficient in 4 different instruments and constantly caught singing in the shower.
Mike Webster

Mike Webster
Mike is a community member instructor from Sherburne, NY. When not running local rivers in his whitewater canoe or kayak he is a professional woodworker and Cabinetmaker. He has abiding love for teaching paddle-sports and playing outdoors.
Hannah Goldstein

Hannah Goldstein ‘16
Hannah, (or Goldie, as she's best known by her fellow OE'ers), hails from Chicago, Illinois. She gets her kicks backpacking, canoeing, and snowshoeing, and has a strange knack for portaging. When she's not becoming one with nature, you can find Goldie wreaking havoc in the basecamp kitchen or do-wop-ing with her a cappella group, the Swinging 'Gates. Among other random talents, she can solve a Rubik's cube and cross her eyes one at a time.