I grew up in a family that loves to be inside; it wasn't until I arrived at Brown that I discovered how much more at home I felt in the outdoors. I have been a part of some really wonderful outdoor education groups at Brown including the Outdoor Leadership Environmental Education Program (OLEEP) and Brown Outdoor Leadership Training (BOLT), and these experiences have taught me about the incredible power of the outdoors to heighten connections with others and promote profound self-discovery. At the end of my first year at Brown, I declared a leave of absence and spent five months hiking across Spain, farming in Hawaii, picking apples on the border of Syria and Israel, and learning to mountaineer in Colorado. Essentially, this semester allowed me to begin to know the earth and the mountains that I didn't meet growing up.
My experiences in the outdoors have certainly reinforced for me the incontrovertible power of nature to promote learning, growth, and empowerment. Unfortunately, opportunities in outdoor recreation have typically been reserved for those with the privilege of time and money to enjoy them. I want to make these opportunities ubiquitously available, especially to low-income high school students, whom I believe hold the most potential for impact. I believe that Kids in the Canyon successfully harnesses the power of the outdoors to transform under-performing high school students into engaged and empowered citizens, and I am so excited to be a part of carrying that mission out.