University of Maryland Adventure Program
At Earlham, what did you major in and in what kinds of activities were you involved?
I was at Earlham from 2006 to 2010. I graduated with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Outdoor Education. I was not a particularly good chemistry student and spent a lot of my time engaged in other activities on campus. I was very active in the Earlham Bike Co-op. I worked for WECI and the Wilderness program. I lived at Miller Farm my junior and senior year. I did an independent study in play writing. I got really into poetry for a semester. I took a couple of music theory classes with Forrest Tobey and was in a couple of short-lived campus bands. In hindsight, I was pretty unfocused and kind of crusty kid. I had some embarrassing haircuts and was pretty oblivious to the world outside of EC. I made some mistakes and learned a lot.
What did you do right after graduating from Earlham?
The summer after I graduated I lived at Miller Farm and worked for the Wilderness Program. I led Water Wilderness that August. In September 2010 I moved to Washington DC and started working as a bike mechanic. That fall and winter were very bleak. I was living paycheck to paycheck and took a job at a board game store for a few months to make ends meet. It was rough. Eventually I landed a job as a location manager for a bike rental and tour company, where I worked for the next four years, eventually becoming their general manager. It took some time, but I found a good community in DC and have enjoyed living here for the last five years.
What are you doing now and what is awesome about it?!
Last summer I took a job at the University of Maryland working for their Adventure Program. I supervise the Campus Bike Shop, the trip gear and rental program, and manage our bike programs and instructional clinics. I just got incredibly lucky, basically; I was looking for a new job at the exact same time as this position that combines all of my relevant skills and interests opened up.
I've been at UMD for a little over a year now have had the opportunity to do some really exciting things. This semester, for example, we've launched a new series of backcountry skills clinics. We have an intro to backpacking clinic, a mountain bike skills clinic, a kayak rolling clinic, and even a backcountry cooking clinic. I get excited just typing up the list.
Adjusting to life at a large state school took some getting used to, but my colleagues and the students in the program have been very welcoming. I love being able to share my enthusiasm for biking and doing other outdoor activities with so many people on a daily basis. It's a good position for me because I get to do such a variety of things. Some days I'll be teaching bike maintenance clinics and other days I'll be leading training trips for our student trips leaders. There's a whole bunch of paperwork and other bureaucratic stuff I have to do too, but when it's all in service of the larger program it somehow doesn't seem that bad.
If you are interested in Jeffrey’s line of work, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org