Meet the Expedition

  • Brent

    Brent Olson

    Professor of Environmental Studies

    Brent grew up in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, but it wasn’t until he spent a year and a half volunteering at a retreat center deep in the North Cascades that he truly fell in love with the outdoors. Since then, he has explored the Rockies, Adirondacks, Central Cascades, Southern Ghats, Pyrenees, Andes, the Scottish Highlands, and the fjords of Iceland, always returning to his beloved home mountains in the Wasatch. Brent has spent his career researching political ecology, resource geography, environmental history, and cultural landscapes. When he’s not teaching, reading, or writing, he’s most likely taking photos or exploring the world on a bike or a snowboard.

  • Madi

    Madi Williams

    Justice Studies
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Madi wants to gain a better sense of the world she lives in. She is looking forward to being immersed in the powerful beauty of the West and visiting the National Parks. Madi sees the Expedition as the perfect opportunity to hear stories and absorb lessons from people she might never have had the chance to meet otherwise. At camp each night, you’ll probably find Madi knitting by the fire, bundled up in her warm socks.

    Instagram: @madikay._

  • Josee

    Josee Stetich

    Environmental Science
    Honors College
    Bountiful, Utah

    Josee was looking for a way to shake things up and take life on the road. When she heard about the Expedition she decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a semester visiting National Parks, talking to people she wouldn’t normally get the chance to meet, and living that #vanlife. She is looking forward to making new friends, singing John Denver in the car, hiking, and all of the weird, unplanned things that will happen along the way.

    Instagram: @joseestetich

  • Naomi

    Naomi Shapiro

    Public Health and Environmental Studies
    Honors College
    Boise, Idaho

    An Idaho native, Naomi generally considers herself as a Westerner, but there are many landmarks and landscapes she’s never had the chance to see. She is excited to see how other people across the West live, learn about the unique history of the area she calls home, and explore different perspectives on how land should be managed. Even though she’ll miss her dog, Sage, she can’t wait to finally visit Yellowstone!

    Instagram: @nao_shap

  • Jeff_N

    Jeff Nichols

    Professor of History

    Jeff is a native of upstate New York, but Utah’s wild mountains, red rock canyons, and snowy slopes have made him a permanent transplant. After serving as an antisubmarine warfare officer in the US Navy, Jeff earned his PhD in history, studying environmental, western, cultural, and Utah history. He lives with his wife on the bank of Gordon Creek at the foot of Strawberry Peak, where they share a house with their dog, cats, and a parrot.

  • Alex

    Alex Bochner

    Environmental Civics
    Castle Pines, Colorado

    Alex can’t wait to explore parts of the US he’s never seen before. He is excited to meet new and interesting people with unique viewpoints and experiences. And, of course, earn class credit while he travels to cool places.

  • Eliza

    Eliza Clarke

    Environmental Studies
    Rhinebeck, New York

    The Expedition class came into Eliza’s life at just the right time. Unsure of the next steps she wanted to take for her future, Eliza jumped at the opportunity to explore the United States and explore her passion for geology, sustainability, and youth education. She is most excited to study the Native history of the West—something she’d never learned much about until coming to Westminster—and can’t wait to get out into the field and dive in.

    Instagram: @eeliiizaaa

  • Kara_H

    Kara Hall

    History and Spainsh & Latin American Studies
    Salt Lake City, Utah

    Kara simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity for such an epic road trip. As a history major, exploring the diverse perspectives that make up the American West first-hand will give her insight into subjects she’s only read about. Kara is most looking forward to making new friends on the Expedition and spending a semester in a very nontraditional setting.

    Instagram: @ka.ra.ha.ll

  • Madeleine

    Madeleine Humel

    Environmental Studies
    Derry, New Hampshire

    Madeleine couldn’t pass down the opportunity to live out of a tent for a semester. She is most looking forward to seeing the glaciers at Glacier National Park—a sight she wants to see and appreciate while she can. Madeleine plans to bring a sketchbook and art supplies to share with her classmates so they can all record their trip through art.

    Instagram: @madeleinehumel

  • Jeff_M

    Jeffrey Milligan

    Cochran, Georgia

    Jeffry is taking time off from his English major to explore one of his other passions and cross some travel destinations off his bucket list. While he’s going to miss all of his friends back at Westminster, he is excited about this new adventure and plans to make a video journal of his travels to share with friends and family when he returns.

    Instagram: @tim_the_magnificent

  • Maria

    Maria Nappi

    Environmental Science
    Freeport, Maine

    A native of Freeport, Maine, Maria decided to go on the Expedition to explore the Western United States. Learning through hands-on experiences is Maria’s preferred study method and she hopes to gain a deeper, realistic understanding of environmental studies during the trip. While she’s trying to pack light, Maria is bringing her binoculars so she can do some bird watching—an interest she discovered while studying abroad with Round River in Patagonia, Chile.

    Instagram: @teleskiah

  • Sam

    Samantha Poole

    Environmental Studies and Art
    Sandy, Utah

    Samantha has always wanted to travel the west and see more of what nature has to offer. Samantha signed up for the Expedition to gain perspective on places she’s already visiting, and expand her horizons by visiting lots of new places, too. She is most excited about meeting new people, visiting the National Parks, and sleeping in a tent for a full semester.

    Instagram: @sammmijamm

  • Sarah

    Sarah Rohde

    Environmental Studies and Civic Engagement
    Atlanta, Georgia

    The chance to gain a deeper understanding of environmental issues in the American West is a perfect complement to Sarah’s double major in environmental studies and civic engagement. Sarah was inspired to go study the environment after watching the documentary DamNation, so she is particularly excited to visit the Elwha River and study the dam and river restoration work currently underway. Along her travels, Sarah plans to collect rocks to take home as mementos of her travels.

    Instagram: @sarahinthezoo