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Meet the staff of Colgate's Outdoor Education Program!


Ben Oliver

Ben Oliver
Director of Outdoor Education
Asst Dir of Outdoor Education Josh Solomon

Josh Solomon
Assistant Director

Student Staff

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.
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.
Hailey Biscow

Hailey Biscow ‘17
Hailey is from sunny Los Angeles, California and enjoys the sun and the sand. She is an Anthropology Major and a Peace and Conflict Studies minor and has fallen in love with Colgate and is extremely grateful to be a part of Outdoor Education. Her favorite activities include, backpacking, climbing, caving,and ice climbing. In addition, Hailey loves to look at the stars, ride the waves, and find the beauty in the little things.
Tom Buehler

Tom Buehler ‘16
Tom has developed a love for adventure and outdoor pursuits during his time at Colgate. Specifically, this International Relations major and Computer Science minor enjoys tickling the sky (tree climbing), shredding the gnar (telemark skiing), and most water based activities (ice climbing, canoeing, and kayaking). Known to some as the “natural”, he seems to excel in any outdoor sport he tries and is clearly very modest about it. Tom is also a Sidekicks mentor and a Senator for the Student Government Association.
Alexa DeRiggs

Alexa DeRiggs ‘17
A recently reformed outdoor lover, Alexa hails all the way from Brooklyn, NYC. She is majoring in sociology and minoring in women’s studies. She is an active rock climber, canoeist, sea kayaker, backpacker and outdoor chef. On campus, she is involved in Dance Team, DDT (coed hip-hop group), the Caribbean Student Association, and S.O.R.T. (Colgate’s multicultural women’s group). In her spare time, she enjoys Pinterest, long walks in the woods, extensive games of Settlers of Catan, and tearing up the dance floor.
Ben Harris

Ben Harris ‘17
Ben "Barris" Harris is a Biology and Computer Science major from Potomac, Maryland. His favorite outdoor activities are Mountain Biking, Skiing and Climbing. He is also a member of Colgate's Club Ultimate Frisbee team. His favorite ice cream is chocolate cookie dough and favorite season is fall.
Hannah Akre

Hannah Akre ‘16
Hannah comes from the good ol’ Midwest, specifically Saint Louis, Missouri. She grew up loving the outdoors and horseback riding. Being the co-director of a non-profit, she has a passion for helping others. She is an avid rock and ice climber, preferring the mountains to the beaches. Hannah is a molecular biology major on the pre-med track.
Missy Velez

Missy Velez ‘16
Missy is an Environmental Studies major who hails from Baltimore, Maryland. Her main outdoors interests are sea kayaking and rock climbing in the fall, summer and spring, and skate skiing in the winter. Her recent adventures include sailing across the Atlantic, and she loves to share her excitement for the outdoors with friends, family and the Colgate community!
Anna Heil

Anna Heil ‘16
Anna is an Environmental Geography major and Film and Media Studies minor from San Diego, CA. She joined Colgate Outdoor Education in her sophomore year and loves kayaking, climbing, and skiing. Anna is also a student photographer with the Communications Department and a captain on the women’s water polo team. In her spare time Anna likes to make grilled cheese, watch nature documentaries, and take naps.
Tori Hymel

Tori Hymel ‘16
Tori is a junior Psychology major from just outside Washington D.C. who loves whitewater kayaking, climbing of all forms, running and biking. On any trip, she can be found rapping the entire song “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC or layering up in an attempt to maintain a normal body temperature. While not at Colgate, Tori loves reading (especially Harry Potter) and babysitting her four-year-old cousin Izzy.
Danny Levy

Danny Levy ‘17
Danny hails from the beaches of sunny southern California where he learned to appreciate nature through the ocean. Back home he SCUBA dives and surfs on the regular. On campus, you can find him performing improv, singing in various musical events, and always always alwayyyss climbing at the Angert Family Climbing Wall. He loves climbing rock and ice and will backpack as far as his legs can take him (relatively far). He hopes one day to grow a full beard and hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
Anna McHugh

 Anna McHugh ‘17

Anna F. McHugh was born and raised outside of Philadelphia taking trips up to the Adirondack State Park every summer with her family. As an environmental biology major at Colgate, she hopes to one day speak for the trees. Through Outdoor Education at Colgate, she has learned to love caving, canuding, backpacking, and showering. She is also a sucker for show tunes, mint cookie crunch ice cream, sass, and anything Michael Scott.
Kaylie Patacca

Kaylie Patacca ‘17
Kaylie Patacca was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She burst into this world with the strength and prowess of a backwoods woman circa 1800. She enjoys leading groups into the wilderness backpacking, snow shoeing and rock climbing. Her major in environmental geography prepares her to handle any challenge in the great outdoors. Among her favorite activities are saving the environment, cycling, and eating chocolate that is “too sweet”.
Colin Ren

Colin Ren ‘17
Joining the OE family from northeastern China, Colin found his home away from home in the woods with rocks, trees, and raging creeks. Though known as having an extravagant passion for squeezing in caves, he does enjoy sea kayaking, skiing, and backpacking under the sun. Apart from being outside, Colin is an active advocate for positive sexuality and the LGBTQ community on campus. He is a student in visual and performing arts who is also learning French and German.
Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan ‘16
Meg Ryan is known professionally as an American actress and producer, found in films like "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail". Few people realize that this great American legend currently attends Colgate University pursuing a degree in Geology. Meg has a passion for teaching rock climbing, bouldering, and telemark skiing and just generally loves being outdoors. In addition to this, Meg leads tours for Admissions, tutors elementary school students at Hamilton Central School, and is one of the few members of the Running Club.
Clare Schneider

Clare Schneider ‘17
Clare hails from the town of Los Angeles and enjoys the sports of backcountry cooking, advanced nature hiking, rock napping, and cross country skiing. This neuroscience major is serious... about having a good time and making everyone laugh! When not walking Darwin's Thinking Path you can find this gal having tenders in the coop, netflixing in her bed, or dreaming of her next adventure.
John Simoni

John Simoni ‘16
John is a Long Islander and proud of it. A Computer Science major and Russian and Eurasian Studies minor, John can usually be found cross country skiing, mountain biking, or just plain strolling, on top of the ski hill. He aspires to hike the Appalachian Trail and acknowledges that the fastest way to his heart is through his stomach.
Glenna Thomas

Glenna Thomas ‘17
Glenna grew up in central Maryland on her family's farm, surrounded by fields, forests and many, many animals. She pursues a love for the outdoors and a respect for the environment through sea kayaking, hiking, climbing, and cross country skiing. At Colgate, Glenna spends her time studying environmental geology and religion, working in the community garden, reading, and drinking a solid five cups of tea a day.
Kaitlin Abrams

Kaitlin Abrams ‘18
Kaitlin Abrams is a sassy gal from infamous New Jersey. She is interested in Psychology and Religion and enjoys kayaking, camping, and caving. She loves soaking in the beauty of upstate New York and feeling the breeze of the great Outdoors. Kaitlin is also into photography, Taekwondo, and yoga!
George Aldrich

George Aldrich ‘18
George Aldrich grew up in Vermont and spent his childhood hiking, swimming, and running around in the Green Mountains. He carried this love for the outdoors into Colgate University. Aside from Outdoor Education and School, George is involved with one of the A Capella groups on campus.
Zack Cleary

Zack Cleary ‘17
Zack comes to us from Albany, New York and growing up near the Adirondacks, which much of Outdoor Education has grown to love, has fostered a great love for the outdoors. He is always up for a challenge and has grown to love all sorts of outdoor activities. His favorite activities range from rock climbing, hiking, snowboarding, team building, and everything in between. Zack finds the outdoors as a great time to relax and enjoy the company of others, away from a sometimes hectic life. Zack is studying Physics but looks to pursue any interesting topic he can get his mind around.
Connor Dufort

Connor Dufort ‘17
Connor is from Saratoga Springs, New York. He is studying neuroscience with a minor in music. When outside, he enjoys biking, caving, and climbing. When he's inside, he is a music director at Colgate’s radio station, WRCU, and plays the drums and various other instruments.
Sabrina Farmer

Sabrina Farmer ‘18
Born in the Green Mountain State of Vermont, Sabrina has grown up with a love and appreciation for the outdoors. In the winter she can be found Nordic skiing and happily frolicking in the snow. Her other outdoor passions include rock climbing, backpacking, and alpine skiing. Sabrina also sews her own winter headbands. She wears one herself the majority of days and breaks out into a huge smile whenever she sees people wearing them around campus.
Nicholas Gilbert

Nicholas Gilbert ‘18
Nick is an outdoor lover from Colorado who grew up skiing, biking, and adventuring in the mountains around him. His favorite activities now include backpacking, fly fishing, and slacklining. Nick is also an avid photographer who is passionate about capturing pictures of landscapes and the people who explore them.
Faith Hamlin

Faith Hamlin ‘18
Faith was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, but moved out to Jackson, Wyoming in high school. In her free time, she can be found introducing herself to new people, laughing, and usually supporting a Cleveland sports team. She loves skiing, fishing, and anything in the winter. If she isn't surrounded by people or homework she is probably sleeping.
Zach Harris

Zach Harris ‘18
Zach, more commonly known as Zarris, is from Wellesley, Massachusetts. While he has found a love for rock climbing at Colgate, his absolute favorite outdoor activity is alpine skiing. At Colgate, in addition to OE, he plays Ultimate Frisbee. He also enjoys going to the beach and eating ice cream (preferably simultaneously). Zach is interested in German and environmental studies, but has not yet declared a major.
Salem Hoffman-Sadka

Salem Hoffman-Sadka ‘17
Salem Hoffman-Sadka spent his life wandering through the streets of NYC, where the only nature he had access to were the little trees on the side walks. But with a little help from OE, he learned his way around a campsite, a map, and a backpack. He’ll hopefully have a cool outdoor specialty soon, but we’ll keep you posted on that. He was winter track captain in high school, so be sure to ask him about that!
Mara Imms

Mara Imms ‘17
Mara Imms calls Quakertown, Pennsylvania her home, and has four younger siblings. She has not quite figured out what she wants to do with her life, but has decided to most likely major in Spanish and minor in physics. Mara enjoys most any activity outside, and is currently learning how to whitewater kayak. When not frolicking about, she likes to read books, draw pictures, or just chill with friends.
Sara Jane Johnson

Sara Jane Johnson ‘17
Originally from Austin, TX, SJ continues exploring her love of the good ole outdoors by rock climbing, back packing, and canoeing with Outdoor Ed. She gets excited about stars, live music, art, apple crisp and chickens. On campus, she studies psychology and studio art, works as a media mentor in the Digital Learning Media Center, plays women's water polo, works as the publicity director for the Colgate radio station, WRCU.
Allen Kann

Allen Kan ‘17

Allen is from Taiwan and loves eating all sorts of foods. He enjoys playing different sports and currently plays on Colgate's water polo team. He enjoys sleeping but can never sleep any more than 10 hours. Some of the things Allen wishes to do one day are travel the world and do a backflip. Fun fact: He can lick his elbows.
Emma Newmann

Emma Newmann ‘18
Emma is a Philadelphian that has always had a passion for the outdoors. Ever since sixth grade, she has been exploring the Canadian wilderness via canoe and is now a trip leader at her camp, Northwaters Langskib. She also loves rock climbing and just good ol’ walking in the woods. She sings in the Colgate Resolutions, and plans on majoring in education and anthropology.
Owen Schubert

Owen Schubert ‘18
Owen hails from Greenwich, Connecticut, also known as the "Constitution State" because the first constitution was created there (fun fact). Greenwich is a suburbia and, as such, offers little to no real outdoor activities. Because of that, Owen had no interest in the wilderness until he stepped foot in the Adirondacks on his Wilderness Adventure, and have since gained a deep appreciation for it. Before coming, his only experience with sleeping in a tent was in a zoo for one night, every year, for about 10 years. Since his arrival at Colgate, he’s learned many a skill including ones he’s always wanted to develop, rock climbing. Along with rock climbing, Owen enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking.
Austin Sun

Austin Sun ‘18
Originally from Piedmont, CA, Austin’s passion for the outdoors originates from his Boy Scout adventures and his trail to become an Eagle Scout. He now continues his adventures in the outdoors through Colgate’s Outdoor Education program. Austin can be found anywhere from in the mountains with snow flurrying above and around him as he slashes through untracked powder to slack-lining on the quad between classes. Austin’s most valuable skill set includes being able to solve a Rubik’s Cube and knowing how to juggle (but not at the same time).
Bria Vicenti

Bria Vicenti ‘17
Bria is a computer science major raised in Palo Alto, California and now living in the sunny beach town of Santa Cruz, CA. She first discovered her love for the outdoors at her sleepaway camp in the majestic White Mountains of New Hampshire, where she has lived for 8 weeks every summer since the socially awkward age of 12. Her favorite outdoors activities include rock climbing, ice climbing, backcountry cooking, and all types of paddling. When she’s not frolicking in the woods, she enjoys being a member of the women’s rugby team, her sorority, and a staff member at Colgate’s rock wall. She’s also really great at friendship bracelets!