Get to know our Pacific Coast Leaders and Support, Costa Rica Leaders, Maine Coast College Essay Leaders, and more of our New England Support Staff!

Leader Name: Sarah Shepard (she/her/hers)

2022 Trip: Pacific Coast

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

School: Colorado College, Class of 2025

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, Lifeguard & CPR

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Hiking, skiing and kayaking

Highlights of 2021: Last year, Sarah finished a semester-long NOLS course, moved to Colorado to start college, and went on some awesome backpacking trips in Wind River Range and Canyonlands National Park!

Where you can find Sarah when she’s not outside: Reading a good book in the sun, playing soccer (Sarah has coached youth soccer at all levels for years), or dancing!

Super fun facts about Sarah that will make you smile: She once spent 12 nights(!) sleeping in a quinzhee (a snow shelter), she was an avid Irish dancer as a child, and she is a newly aspiring tarot card reader! Sarah also nannied and tutored two children through all their virtual learning which is no small feat!


Leader Name: Kramer Peterson (he/him/his)

2022 Trip: Pacific Coast

Hometown: Glastonbury, Connecticut 

School: Amherst College, Class of 2017 

Major: Biology & Psychology

Prior Apogee Experience: Caribbean Service ‘21

Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, Lifeguard & CPR

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Triathlons, running, skiing & lacrosse

Highlights of 2021: Kramer led a trip with 10 of his high school students through the five Utah national parks where they developed an understanding of how to honor the parks’ past and protect their futures.

Where you can find Kramer when he’s not training: Going for walks with his girlfriend and their dogs or traveling out west, hoping for optimal ski conditions! Kramer is also an avid follower of baseball statistics, of any player and any team.

Why we want to be like Kramer when we grow up: He works and lives at a Connecticut boarding school where he teaches biology and psychology, and coaches cross country, ski racing, and lacrosse. He spent a summer interning at a medical clinic in Lima, Peru, where he explored the entire country from the coast to the Andes. Kramer is also the person you want for any geography-related trivia jeopardy!


Name: Ben Thibeau (he/him/his)

2022 Role: Pacific Coast Support

Hometown: West Newbury, Massachusetts

School: University of San Diego, Class of 2021

Major: International Relations

Previous Apogee Experience: Cape Cod & the Islands ‘21

Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, Lifeguard & CPR

Favorite Outdoor Activity: Cycling

Highlights of 2021: Taking a spontaneous camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park this spring!

Where you can find Ben when he is not hanging out outside: Ben enjoys cooking for friends and family and has most recently started baking. He also loves playing board games and staying up to date regarding current events.

Just a few reasons that Ben is amazing: He studied abroad in Vienna, Austria in 2019! In addition to being a Lord of the Rings trivia expert, he also prides himself on being able to cook minute rice in 58 seconds. Ben also excelled in a previous camp counselor role at connecting with especially high energy students.


Leader Name: Andrew Ryan (he/him/his)

2022 Trip: Costa Rica Mountains & Coast

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

School: Washington and Lee University, Class of 2021

Major: German

Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, Lifeguard & CPR

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Hiking, trail running, mountain biking, photography walks

Where you can find Andrew when he isn’t flying down trails: Playing piano or guitar, playing with his young pup, or politely requesting to take street portraits of local Richmondites.

What’s so great about Andrew? We’ll tell you! Andrew speaks three, count ‘em, three, languages (English, Spanish, and German), he spent one of his recent summers directing a summer camp for underserved Latino youth in Richmond, and he is a true coach. Starting way back in middle school with a local Richmond non-profit called Buddy Ball, Andrew has many years of experience coaching students with various physical and mental disabilities. 

Words from Andrew himself: “I am most looking forward to watching numerous bright but unique personalities mesh together into a cohesive family each trip!”


Leader Name: Elle Lambert

2022 Trip: Costa Rica Mountains & Coast

Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

School: University of Virginia, Class of 2023

Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Lifeguard

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Open-water swimming, running, and hiking

2022 Highlight: Elle traveled to the Faroe Islands, a remote archipelago in the North Atlantic, to do some truly amazing hiking.

Where you can find Elle when she isn’t in the water: Scouring the earth for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe or curled up with a Harry Potter book. 

More reasons to love Elle: Elle spent 2021 working as an intern and substitute teacher in an elementary school, but she didn’t stop there. Her focus was on tutoring those who were struggling with their reading and math. On top of that, she volunteered as an English as a Second Language instructor for 5th and 6th graders. 


Leader Name: Ellie Bridgers (she/her/hers)

2022 Trip: Maine Coast College Essay

Hometown: Bar Harbor, Maine

School: Dickinson College, Class of 2023

Major: Philosophy

Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, Lifeguard & CPR

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Cross-country skiing, road biking, and swimming in any body of water at any time of year (she loves cold-water swimming!)

Highlight of the past year: During her 2022 spring semester at Dickinson, Ellie was abroad in Bhutan! She also joined a swim club and has mastered all four strokes. 

Where you can find this world traveler: Playing ultimate frisbee, doing yoga, picking gallons of wild blueberries, or cooking a delicious vegan meal.

Other super cool things about Ellie: In addition to being a certified yoga instructor, Ellie has also spent time researching stingrays in the Bahamas! At Dickinson, she works at the college farm learning about organic farming, and she also works as both a Writing Associate and Writing Tutor.


Leader Name: Sam Gittleman (he/him/his)

2022 Trip: Maine Coast College Essay

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

School: Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 2020

Majors: Philosophy, Neuroscience & Psychology

Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, Lifeguard & CPR

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Ultimate Frisbee, biking, skiing, and hammocking.

Highlight of the past year: Snorkeling with sea turtles in Hawaii!

Where you can find Sam when he isn’t writing or listening to music: He loves playing guitar, reading or listening to books and then telling everyone about said books, engaging in mindfulness practices, playing board games, and hanging out in the sun.

Other reasons why Sam is awesome: Sam helped organize a nationally competitive college ultimate frisbee tournament, and he’s spent many years leading camping and canoeing trips as a camp counselor in Minnesota! He’s also worked as a newspaper editor, a communications intern for a member of the Israeli parliament, and spent time as a tutor throughout high school!


Name: Sage Watterson (she/her/hers) 

2022 Role: New England Support Staff

Hometown: Yarmouth, Maine

School: University of Richmond, Class of 2022

Major: Journalism; Minors: Physics and Creative Writing

Previous Apogee Experience: Maine Coast College Essay ‘21; Sage is a five-year Apogee alumna and participated in our Cape Cod & the Islands, Vermont to Montreal, Pacific Coast, America Coast to Coast, and Maine Coast College Essay trips!

Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, Lifeguard & CPR

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Lobstering, ultimate frisbee, biking, swimming in the ocean

Highlights of 2021: Sage went to the USA Ultimate College Championships in California with her school’s Ultimate Frisbee team! 

Where you can find Sage when she is not playing ultimate: She enjoys knitting, reading Stephen King, writing poetry, and watching her favorite New England sports teams. 

More awesome facts about Sage: She has worked as a Richmond Campus Ambassador for L.L. Bean for three years, her family has five recreational lobster traps that they haul all summer, and she has previously done statistics for the Maine Mayhem, the Maine women’s football team!


Name: Henry Hamilton (he/him/his)

2022 Role: New England Support Staff

Hometown: New York City, New York

School: Skidmore College, Class of 2023

Majors: History & Education Studies

Previous Apogee Experience: Henry participated in our Coast to Quebec, Pacific Coast, and Europe Coast to Coast biking trips!

Certifications: Wilderness First Aid & CPR

Highlights of 2022: Henry has been studying abroad in Bath, England this past semester!

Where you can find Henry when he is not traversing the English countryside: Henry loves space and astronomy and enjoys going outside on a clear night to look at the night sky.

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Hiking, biking, and running

Other reasons Henry is the absolute coolest: Henry leads pre-orientation hiking and canoeing trips for incoming students at Skidmore in addition to his experience working as a bike mechanic at his local shop.