A Message From Sturgis

So, I’ve been Director of Alumni Relations for two months. As I promised in last month’s Ecos, I am going to attempt to tell you Why Prescott College Matters

That should be easy with so many interesting and accomplished alumni out in the world.

Shall I tell you about Courtney Osterfelt? Her senior project was a program to help teenage girls define and achieve goals.But as she did her research and fieldwork, she discovered that many Yavapai County teenagers, including homeless teens, transgender teens, and teens from dysfunctional families, had nowhere to go for support. So Courtney founded and now directs The Launch Pad, a youth-led community center, a safe place for all teenagers, no questions asked. Do you think that Courtney’s work is saving young lives? Go to www.TheLaunchPadTeenCenter.org and read the testimonials. I could write about Courtney. She’s really changing the world.

Or I could tell you about Masters in Conservation Biology program grad Dr. Cristina Eisenberg, Chief Scientist at EarthWatch, ecologist, author, educator, and a current Prescott College trustee. (Thank you, Cristina!) Her research on wolves in the wild is seminal. She is a tireless and relentless advocate for the planet. Check out her work at www.earthwatch.org or at www.cristinaeisenberg.com. She’s changing the world too. Maybe I should write about her.

But what about our PhD graduate Dr. Nicole Apelian? Like Cristina she is a scientist, educator, and researcher. She has long experience in Africa as a field biologist, Peace Corps volunteer, and safari guide.  Her close study of the lives of the San and Naro Bushman has given her profound insight into aboriginal living skills and the use of herbs and plants in healing. She’s kind of amazing, and you can see why at www.nicoleapelian.com. What about her?

It turns out that writing about Prescott College alums is like buying beer at Whole Foods: there is just too much consumer choice. I can’t decide!

Then something distracts me. Oh, it’s only our work study student in the Advancement Office, Neha Khurana. Just a typical Prescott College student really.  She hiked the entire Appalachian Trail at 17 years old. Six months. Solo.  And then she took off for a small city in Peru, at 10,000 feet in elevation, to work in the Peruvian equivalent of The Launch Pad. “Great hiking everywhere,“ she says. But not great enough apparently because she returned to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Alone. Three and half months.

Neha displays the sort of self-direction that is often the mark of a Prescott College student. She has designed independent studies in land management in the Sierras and in responsible tourism in northern Patagonia. Her study areas are adventure education, cultural studies, and Spanish. I suddenly feel guilty that I haven’t raised enough money to give this determined and independent young woman a full scholarship.

She’s going back to the Sierras this summer to work for Outward Bound. She’s psyched for it, but she’s thinking about her future too. Will she stay with outdoor education? She has a passion for developing leadership with young women as well. So many directions. So much energy. Let’s all pause and remember when our lives had that crazy, vertiginous feeling like when you backed off the high rappel for the first time.

“I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I will live a life outside,” she says. It takes me a couple of days to realize that she is not being literal when she says “a life outside.” It’s a bit of poetry, a metaphor. Neha isn’t going to let anyone or anything dictate who she will become. She intends to live outside of boundaries and conventions.

Neha is just starting out on that Prescott College journey that all of us have taken. Call me idealistic but knowing these Prescott College graduates (and Neha) are out in the world can only be a good thing, a hopeful thing, even a necessary thing.

But enough chit chat; now I have to get back to finding ways to show you Why Prescott College Matters

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Prescott College Advancement Office
220 Grove Ave
Prescott, AZ 86301-2912
P: 928-350-4505 E: development@prescott.edu