Leader Profiles – Laura, Shem, Nick & Jillian


Apogee is delighted to have seasoned veteran  Laura Armstrong back with us in 2012!   Laura is one of several former Apogee students returning this summer to lead others on their own Apogee trips.   Laura was a member of our Cape Cod & the Islands and Montana Service Adventure trips in 2004 and 2005, respectively.   After a spectacular summer of leading our Coast to Quebec trips in 2011, she is back to lead our  Tuscan Service Adventure this summer.   Laura graduated this spring from Bowdoin College, where she majored in Latin American Studies and History and served as a leader in the College’s Outing Club.   We are proud to say she will be traveling to Costa Rica to teach on a Fulbright Scholarship after her adventures in Italy conclude this summer.   One of the highlights of Laura’s college career was the semester she spent studying in Chile, where she reveled in learning about the vibrant Latin American culture in rural and urban areas, and Laura can’t wait to return to this part of the world.   While in Chile, she also spent time hiking and exploring the breathtaking Patagonia region in the south of the country.   Laura’s warmth and enthusiasm are evident to everyone that meets her, and her Apogee students are going to love her wonderful perspective on life and her interest in the wide world.   Laura is a Wilderness First Responder and certified in CPR.


After a great summer leading our Coast to Quebec trip in 2011, Shem Dixon is ready to take in the ocean views and coastal creeks on our Pacific Coast trip this summer. Hailing from the fresh air and mountain streams of western Maine, Shem is a 2011 graduate of Bowdoin College where he majored in Biology and Earth and Oceanographic Studies.   He has spent this last year working at Kieve, a leadership school in Maine, running team-building and leadership activities for middle school students.   At Bowdoin, Shem was heavily involved in the Residential Life program. He served as a Head Proctor, overseeing ninety first-year students and a team of resident advisors.   Before his involvement with Residential Life, Shem honed his leadership and communication skills as the President of his College House.   Shem graduated magna cum laude from his high school, where he was President of his National Honor Society and a three-sport Captain his senior year.   Shem can’t wait to share his enthusiasm and love of the outdoors again with his Apogee groups this summer!   Shem is certified in First Aid and CPR.


A creative writing major and rising Junior at Hamilton College, Nick Geisler will come away from this summer with all kinds of new stories.   He’s a Georgia native who now lives in Ithaca, New York with his family.   Nick’s childhood babysitter was Olympian and women’s soccer phenomenon Mia Hamm, who may have planted the seed for his love of soccer.   After captaining his high school’s soccer team and working for years as a soccer referee and camp counselor, Nick now plays rugby and was recently elected as the President of Hamilton’s men’s rugby team.   Nick is looking forward to leaving the athletic fields behind for the summer as he leads Apogee’s Coast to Quebec trips.   Nick served as a peer mentor in his High School’s “Creating a Safer School” program, and has been very involved with and dedicated to Relay for Life.   Nick has run his own Relay for Life team for the past three years, and was invited to be a part of the County’s Relay Planning Committee.   Other notable facts about Nick; he has a passion for tube socks (which his groups will certainly observe this summer).   Nick is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.


Hailing from Manchester, Maine,  our returning leader Jillian Blouin is a world-class outdoor leader and adventurer.   A rising senior at Colby College, Jillian is majoring in Environmental Science and Biology.   Jillian just returned from a semester-long study-abroad program in comparative health that took her to Brazil, Vietnam and South Africa, and can’t wait to share some travel stories with her California Mountains and Coast groups this summer.   At Colby, Jillian is heavily involved with the Campus Emergency Response Team and Colby’s Outing Club, for which she led a Spring Break backpacking trip to Utah’s Canyonlands and Arches National Parks in 2010 and a freshman orientation trip to Maine’s Baxter State Park in 2011.   In high school, Jillian was the President of her Student Senate and an officer in the National Honor Society.   She is so excited to share her experiences with her Apogee groups out west this summer!   Jillian is a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician and certified in CPR.