We are excited to introduce our 2015 summer staff! This year, we had more than 270 individuals apply for fewer than 20 positions for new staff members, and we couldn’t be more excited to present to you 2015’s phenomenal leaders. Over the course of the next several weeks, we’ll be profiling every member of 2015’s field staff – and we’re going to kick things off with our Montana Service Adventure and Europe Coast to Coast leaders. All six are returning to Apogee as seasoned veterans, and all six are outstanding, phenomenally interesting individuals in their own right. We can’t wait for you to get to know them, too!
Annika Nygren is a rising Senior at Amherst College, and one of the most fun-loving, kind people you may come across. Annika is returning to Apogee after playing a huge role as New England support last summer, where she learned the ins-and-outs of Apogee and kept headquarters well-supplied with her constant energy and smiles! Annika was born in Danderyd, Sweden, but now calls Sudbury, Massachusetts home. Annika grew up with a very tight-knit family, including her parents, little sister and grandmother. Together, they enjoyed ski trips and plenty of travels throughout the United States and Europe. At Amherst, Annika serves as Captain of the varsity field hockey team, and in her free-time, Annika loves baking, taking photos of sunsets, and dancing to Hall and Oates (and with her dance moves, she really does “Make My Dreams Come True”). Annika left the comforts of Amherst this spring to spend a semester studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, where she took full advantage of her ability to travel and explore other countries throughout Europe! On top of it all, Annika has plenty of experience working with kids; she was a ski instructor at Sunday River in Maine for four years, as well as a field hockey coach. Annika is the perfect balance of a friend, teacher and mentor, and will make her an amazing leader on her Montana Service Adventure trip this summer!
Christian Edwards, a Georgia native and a 2014 Carleton College graduate, will be joining Apogee for his second summer and heading out to Big Sky Country on our Montana Service Adventure. Christian is the oldest of three, and has always been extremely active. He began swimming competitively when he was eight years old, and he continued to swim through his four years at Carleton, where he served as Captain during his Senior year. When Christian isn’t swimming, he enjoys competing in triathlons and rock climbing – he was on the Atlanta Rocks Youth Climbing team for four years! His adventurous-side does not stop there. Christian has also traveled extensively through Cuba, Northern Ireland, Ecuador, and Rome. When it comes to Christian’s academic interests, he is very well-rounded. Christian was a Religious Studies major at Carleton, and he is now at Tufts University working on a masters in Bio-Medical Science and headed to med school next year. When he’s not studying, Christian enjoys exploring Boston and its many delicious restaurants. We are thrilled to have Christian back with us this summer, and his Apogee students will love getting to know him as they cycle and learn the value of giving back during their travels through Montana! Christian is a lifeguard and certified in First Aid and CPR.
Kirk Jackson is a 2015 graduate of Tufts University where he majored in Computer Science. Hailing from San Francisco and a man with a near perfect sense of balance between work and play, Kirk is very excited to be returning to Apogee to lead Europe Coast to Coast! At Tufts, Kirk played a big role in Tufts Mountain Club, Tufts’ largest student-run organization, as well as Tufts Wilderness Orientation program for incoming freshmen. With both of these groups, Kirk spent plenty of time exploring the White Mountains in New Hampshire and developing his skills as both a leader and an outdoorsman. Additionally, Kirk is passionate about working with kids. Through a program at Tufts, Kirk taught health workshops at local high schools in and around Boston, and spent time teaching a week-long robotics workshop to second-graders in a New York City public school. Kirk also has a knack for languages (which will come in handy as he will need his best Dutch, French, German, and Italian this summer…..), and is fluent in Spanish and is learning Chinese. With a love of many different cuisines, Kirk’s groups can look forward to cooking delicious meals together. More importantly, Kirk loves to dance – he promises daily post-ride dance parties. Kirk is excited to get back into the saddle this summer – this time with a baguette on the back of his bike!
Jeanne “Jeannie” Barthold is a 2015 Colby College graduate, and one of the most dynamic and fun-loving people you may ever come across. Coming to us from the rural town of Lyme, New Hampshire, Jeannie grew up skiing, mountain biking, and hiking in the White Mountains with her parents and older brother. Jeannie attributes her love for the outdoors to her parents, who embarked on outdoor adventures with her throughout her childhood. Jeannie and her family backpacked through Glacier National Park, and she and her mom climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro during a gap year Jeannie took between high school and college. Her love for the outdoors continued while at Colby. She was an outdoor orientation leader for incoming freshmen, and spent a semester during her Junior year studying abroad in New Zealand, where she spent much of her time hiking and exploring the mountains around her. Jeannie’s love and dedication to the mountains isn’t only on foot, but on skis as well. At Colby, Jeannie was on the Varsity Ski Team all four years, was captain during her Junior and Senior years, and just recently ranked 22nd in the nation! And, don’t be fooled, Jeannie is not all brawn and no brains; after her summer with Apogee, Jeannie will be heading to graduate school for Bio-Mechanical Engineering. On top of everything, Jeannie also loves to work with kids. She spent two months volunteering at an orphanage in Tanzania, and worked as a camp counselor for a dry land summer ski camp in Stowe, Vermont. Jeannie can’t wait to spend a whole month with her students as they travel through Europe, taste real Belgium waffles, and creating memories they will never forget. And her Apogee students will love getting to know her as she shares her fun and quirky stories (the sheep she and her family raise are likely to come up more than once…), her enthusiasm for the outdoors, and her knowledge of precisely how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
Returning Apogee phenom Postyn Smith is a fun-loving native of both Baden, Austria, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Postyn grew up in an outdoorsy family, and loved nothing more than exploring the wilderness around his home with his older brother. At home in Colorado, Postyn runs the trails at nearby mountains, rock climbs, bikes, and hikes frequently. In the winter, he skis both downhill and cross-country and was once a member of the USA National Snowshoe Team. Postyn will graduate from Williams College this spring with a degree in Physics. Postyn was very active on with Williams campus. As a freshman, Postyn was an accomplished runner on Williams’ varsity cross-country before getting more involved in William’s climbing community, where he was an avid member and the social chair. Postyn has a tremendous passion for travel and for the mountains. With his family, Postyn has traveled through most of Europe and the US. He spent one summer hiking the five hundred fifty mile Camino de Santiago in Spain with his father, and before that spent two weeks hiking through Austria. During his Junior year, Postyn spent his spring semester in Geneva studying “ultra-rare fundamental particle days at CERN” (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), and his summer in the Swiss and French Alps researching the history, culture, and identity of Mountain Guides of the Western Alps. Fluent in French, Postyn is very excited to continue his adventurous travels – this time with his Europe Coast to Coasters pedaling along with him!
Posie Holmes, of Concord, Massachusetts, led her first Apogee trip in 2013, and she’s thrilled to return to Apogee for a victory lap through Europe this summer. Posie is well-versed in the Wide World of Apogee from time participating in three Apogee trips as a student: Coast to Quebec, Montana Service Adventure, and Northwest Explorer. Posie will graduate this spring from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, where she studied Finance, Management, and Global Commerce. At UVA, she played club soccer on the school’s nationally ranked team, and served as the club’s social chair. Posie loves to explore and she spent spring break of her third year at UVA co-leading a week-long student volunteer trip to an Amazon Rainforest preserve in Arutam, Ecuador. She continued her love of exploring the world through study abroad programs in India and China. Posie is a seasoned bike-tourer and outdoor adventurer: she has bicycled from Amsterdam to Barcelona and considers Glacier National Park and the Swiss Alps to be among her favorite places in the world. Posie also has a love for giving back – and in the most fun ways. Posie planned and implemented a fundraiser nighttime glowstick 5K charity race to benefit Charlottesville’s Sexual Assault Resource Agency. After her summer with Apogee, Posie will be moving to Boston to start her career as a consultant. Until then, Posie is looking forward to pedaling through gorgeous greenery of Europe and sampling delectable local fromage with her students as they ride from Amsterdam to Venice.