Leader Profiles – McKayla, Shannon, Alex & Danika


McKayla Dunfey will bring a world of experience to her Pacific Coast trips this summer. Having bike toured through much of Europe, McKayla is more than ready to conquer the hills and valleys of the Oregon and California coasts. McKayla is a native of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, she grew up with a passion for outdoor recreation.   A rising senior at Hamilton College, McKayla is majoring in Environmental Studies.   In a year off from Hamilton, McKayla coached Nordic-skiing at a guest ranch in Montana, and worked at the University of New Hampshire’s Browne Center, where she worked to facilitate group outdoor adventure experiences.   During the same year, McKayla completed her European bike tour in, too, which sparked an interest in increasing awareness about using bikes as transportation here in the US. She turned that interest into an independent study course at Hamilton when she returned the next fall, and she plans to write her thesis on biking as transportation.   McKayla loves to cook, and perhaps her groups should be warned that one of her passions is “experimental cooking.”  At school, she lives in a cooperative house that focuses on living sustainably and eating local, organic food.   She has spent many a summer working outdoors, as both the assistant director of SailMaine’s junior sailing program, and staff for the Chewonki Girl’s camp near Millinocket, Maine. McKayla is a Wilderness First Responder and is certified in CPR.


The pride of Glastonbury, Connecticut, Shannon Usher is looking forward to the bike trails and sea breezes she’s going to find on our Cape Cod & the Islands trip this summer.   Shannon is a rising junior at Amherst College, where she studies economics.   She also spends a lot of time on field.   Shannon is a key player on the women’s varsity soccer team, and finds that she loves the team’s community as much as she loves the game.  Though she’s busy between classes and soccer, Shannon finds time to lend a hand as a member of Amherst’s Habitat for Humanity Club.  In past summers, Shannon has coached soccer and basketball teams and volunteered at a summer camp for children with special needs.  In high school, in addition to serving as Captain of her varsity soccer team, Shannon was a Peer Educator and Peer Mediator.   Shannon loves exploring new places and spent a lot of time hiking through the Adirondacks with her family as a kid.  Shannon’s Apogee groups are going to love her sense of adventure, her curiosity and outstanding leadership.   Shannon is certified in First Aid and CPR.


Alex Kelso can’t wait to take his passion for the outdoors to Maine this summer as he rides to Quebec City as an integral part of our Coast to Quebec groups.  Growing up in Exton, Pennsylvania, Alex played ice hockey and baseball, and he was the Captain of his school’s varsity hockey team.  Alex graduated from the University of Richmond this spring with a degree in Rhetoric and Communication Studies.  He used his course of study to work as a speech consultant at the University’s Speech Center.  At Richmond, Alex was a DJ for the campus radio station and an active member of his fraternity. Through his fraternity and on his own, Alex has done an admirable amount of service work.  One of the highlights of his time at Richmond was organizing a very successful Relay for Life fundraising event that raised thousands of dollars for cancer prevention and research.  He also worked at an after school program helping students between the ages of eight and fourteen with their school work.  Alex loves to bike, hike, slack-line, and cook, and is looking forward to teaching English in Spain after Apogee wraps up.   More than anything, though, Alex is looking forward to the starry nights, open road, and new friendships to be found in his Apogee groups!  Alex is certified in First Aid and CPR.


We are thrilled that Danika Robison is returning to join us for a third summer.   After summers on Cape Cod and the Pacific Coast, Danika is back to take on the epic America Coast to Coast trip in 2012.   The only child of a tight-knit Vermont family, Danika grew up in South Burlington, Vermont and graduated in 2011 from Skidmore College where she majored in International Affairs.   Before graduating, Danika spent a semester studying in Switzerland where she developed a tasted for rocketing down mountains on the famed Swiss Bobs.   A dedicated athlete, she served as Captain of Skidmore’s varsity tennis team and was the college’s top-ranked player.   In high school, Danika was also a member of the Nordic ski team and ran cross-country.   Outside of organized sports, Vermont has offered Danika ample opportunity to enjoy outdoor sports like hiking, skiing and biking.   As a senior challenge project in high school Danika hiked the highest peaks in each New England state and New York, culminating in a presentation on her preparation and execution of the endeavor.   Since graduation, Danika completed a semester-long outdoor educator course with the National Outdoor Leadership School and has led wilderness expeditions throughout southwestern Colorado.   Danika is a Wilderness First Responder and certified CPR.